Cloud is one of the new innovations in the information age. It involves transferring, capturing, processing, and exchanging information via the services of another organization.
Although the term cloud computing does not have an exact definition, it refers to the many applications provided by a cloud computing provider in the computing business. The client acquires another organization’s hardware and computer products. It is easy and cheap because you don’t need a computer and software in doing your computing.
When an organization does cloud computing, computer programs and services can be accessed through the Internet. There are many websites and datacenters that provide computer applications. Cloud computing makes things easier for both private and public companies.
Cloud computing has recently become a popular topic among companies and organizations using the Internet and its applications in their business. It is an IT terminology that has stuck in the ever-growing world of Information Technology. Although it is new, it is becoming a trend.
There is no exact definition to cloud computing, its meaning is as cloudy as its name but there are explanations that are near its meaning. This essay will attempt to explain the nearest meaning to the term cloud computing.
Cloud computing refers to many applications in the computing business (Armbrust et al. 3). Cloud computing helps people and organizations to use computer applications without having to purchase their own hardware and software. It is the cheapest way of using computer hardware and software for applications to businesses. Such applications include computer processes, data storage, and other software applications. There are a number of cloud computing companies providing services over the Internet. (Badger et al., 2011)
When a company uses a cloud provider’s software, it can access programs and computer services via the Internet. The service is hosted by another company and the services are paid by the private company which has access to the files and programs. Several businesses have switched to cloud providers and are now relying on them. But Richard Stallman said that people and businesses should not depend too much on cloud computing. Hardware and software are available to organizations that provide cloud computing, and sometimes they too can close shop without warning. (Ambrust et al. 3)
There are websites and datacenters that provide computer applications and this can be applied to firms. This is known as Software as a Service (SaaS). The website or organization providing this service is referred to as a cloud. Various applications and services offered by these websites and data centers include translations, marketing, and other services.
General Scope of Cloud Computing
The field of IT involves hardware and software. Hardware refers to computers, servers and related equipment, while software refers to operating systems and other applications for various functions. The word IT infrastructure is a mix of hardware and software. The infrastructure needs personnel or individuals to run the equipment and perform the various functions. The support staff is called the IT support organization which is responsible for implementing, operating and supporting IT. An organization’s IT infrastructure is supported and operated by employees and procedures that will build and operate the IT. These systems enable the company to meet its primary objectives, such as earning profits, minimizing unnecessary costs, improving functions, enhancing customer loyalty and rapid supply chain tracking.. (Reynolds 17)
An organization can have these services without a cloud provider spending a lot. A cloud provider performs computing to private and public companies. The user uses different applications that an organized company provides with all the computer amenities. Computer services provided by cloud computing are configurable and can be used without much effort or interaction with the service provider. (Mell and Grance 6)
There are terms related to cloud computing. Utility computing refers to the service that the data center offers for sale. Public cloud refers to the service available when the customer pays immediately after the service is delivered. Private cloud means the services of private companies and organizations are not available to the public. (Ambrust et al. 1)
Cloud computing is adaptable to different technologies with their own configurations. Organizations should know the characteristics of clouds including the deployment models, the kinds of services they can offer their clients (service models), the financial side or the economic risks, the technical aspects, the terms of usage of the system, and, above all, the security aspect of using clouds.
An interesting feature of cloud computing is that it can be set up or deployed in the territory of another cloud customer, or it can be shared with co-customers and can be hosted by other cloud customers. There are various kinds of deployment models and customers can have choices as to how they can control the system depending on the resources at hand. (Badger et al ES-1)
A cloud can make use of emails and other software applications, even the traditional software resources. Examples of service models include “Software as a Service” (SaaS), “Platform as a Service” (PaaS), and “Infrastructure as a Service” (IaaS). This last one is more preferable and can offer services which are well-defined for customers. (Badger et al. ES-1)
SaaS vendors are also called application service providers which function applications through the Internet. Examples are the salesforce.com, oracle, applications for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and many others. Desktop applications may include Google Apps, Microsoft WindowLive, and so forth. Companies can also use big computer companies that offer virtual servers or storage such as Amazon and IBM. (Kim 67)
Cloud computing servicing offers several payment schemes that allow customers to pay only minimal like service charges. Customers can request and receive resources depending on the services they want. Cloud Computing can provide applications that can be subdivided into small parts. Networking is one of the major activity of cloud computing.
When the organization and the customer agree on the terms of service, they have to sign the service level agreement that refers to the terms of service which must be clearly understood by both. Like any other computer resource application, cloud computing is affected by security risks. Security in cloud is complicated and challenging for security experts considering that most public clouds and their infrastructure and resources are owned by private companies who sell them to the general public. Cloud providers should be able to protect and isolate their customers by providing ‘robust security controls’.
The emergence and popularity of cloud computing has great impact on the systems of private and public companies. There are features in cloud computing that are not in conformity with the traditional model of computing and controls.
Companies that offer public computing are the ‘Amazon Web Services, Google AppEngine, and Microsoft Azure’ (Armbrust et al. 4). Private cloud is computing that is not offered to the public.
Cloud Computing providers are said to have a considerable size of software infrastructure and the necessary expertise to operate a cloud computing. The ordinary cost for cloud computing is 10 cents per server-hour. Although this is considered low, cloud computing providers can still make a big amount of money from their services because they have the capacity to purchase many computers and a network bandwith. Moreover, the cost of software development can be lowered by these big companies. Cloud computing also provides these companies added revenues to their existing resources.
Managers, C-level executives, analysts, and IT security experts should not just have basic knowledge on cloud computing but adequate knowledge for it is used by big companies like Amazon for services like Elastic Compute cloud, Simple Storage Services, etc.
By 2012, cloud computing research reached $42 billion. Revenues reached $56.3, according to Gartner Inc. (Velte et al 2010).
According to Badger, Grance, Patt-Comer, and Voas (2011) authors of “Draft Cloud Computing Synopsis and Recommendations”, NIST Special Publication 800-146, cloud computing enables individuals and companies to use computer applications, such as software development and other computer processes and data storage. Badger et al.’s document reviews NIST guidelines and concepts on cloud computing.
Jansen and Grance (2011), authors of “Guidelines on Security and Privacy in Public Cloud Computing”, an NIST Special Publication, provided recommendations to federal departments and agencies. These are enumerated below.
- The security and privacy aspects of cloud computing should be carefully planned.
The approach should take into consideration the sensitivity of data to be incorporated. This is true with other emerging IT, but with cloud computing utmost care is to be provided. Careful planning ensures security and privacy of the data. The agency can have full benefit of IT spending. In outsourcing IT services, security is of primary importance.
- The cloud computing environment should be carefully analyzed and understood with the aim of determining whether the computing solution satisfied regulations and requirements on security.
Organizations should apply the necessary configuration, deployment, and management in public cloud computing in order to meet the necessary security and privacy requirements. Terms and conditions, and the normal legal agreements for public cloud computing must be followed, although there are instances of negotiated agreements. These negotiated agreements are sometimes necessary in that it can help provide the needed security and privacy requirements for organizations. (Jansen and Grance vii)
3. Won Kim provides the advantages of cloud computing to public and private companies.
- In cloud computing, there is a third party provider which provides the amenities of computer services, even including electricity. The users do not require much effort but just plug in to what they call the cloud. Expenses are low, no need of space to accommodate all those hardware, and you do not need a staff or an organization to man all those systems. It is an IT infrastructure in place.
- The users can have flexibility in the use of the systems.
- Costs are limited to “pay-per-use” basis.
- Users can access cloud services anytime and anywhere.
These cloud computing features or benefits provide public and private companies computing needs without much effort. Anyone can make use of it, including making it a business that can stand its own.
Cloud computing is one of the latest innovations in the field of Information Technology. It is a new paradigm shift to the use of the IT. It is being practiced by big and small firms and its uses range from simple web browsing to complicated applications using the Internet. There are advantages and disadvantages posed by its many users but it can be concluded here that the advantages surpass the disadvantages.
Problems and complains posed by cloud users include availability. There have been some outages that providers didn’t have control. For example, in 2008 Amazon did suffer two outages. There were others which suffered the same fate and which seemed to be out of their hands: Google Gmail could not be accessed for 2 hours while Citrix’s GoToMeeting along with GoToWebinar could not be accessed for some time. Bloggers and users were all over the Internet complaining about it. (Kim 68)
The problem of security is also one of the concerns in cloud computing. Personal information is of primary importance to all of us and this is being jeopardized through cloud computing. There have been many complains of privacy issues.
Cloud computing has emerged because of the fast advances in technology and the internet. This is precisely the objective of Information Technology and the continuous technological innovations the world has experienced. The task of capturing, storing, processing, exchanging, and using information for a company’s products and services is now available without much effort and resources.
- Armbrust, Michael, Armando Fox, Rean Griffith, Anthony Joseph, Randy Katz, Andy Konwinski, Gunho Lee, David Patterson, Ariel Rabkin, Ion Stoica, and Matei Zaharia. “Above the Clouds: A Berkeley View of Cloud Computing.” UC Berkeley Reliable Adaptive Distributed Systems Laboratory, February 10, 2009. Web. 19 March 2012.
- Badger, Lee, Tim Grance, Robert Patt-Corner, and Jeff Voas. “DRAFT Cloud Computing synopsis and Recommendations: Recommendations of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.” NIST Special Publication 800-146, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce. Web. 19 March 2012.
- Jansen, Wayne and Timothy Grance. “Guidelines on Security and Privacy in Public Cloud Computing: NIST Special Publication 800-144 on Computer Security.” National Institute of Standard and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce. Web. 18 March 2012.
- Kim, Won. Cloud Computing: Today and Tomorrow. Journal of Object Technology, Vol. 8, No. 1, January-February 2009. Web. 19 March 2012.
- Mell, Peter and Timothy Grance. “The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing: Recommendations of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.” Special Publication 800-145, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce, September 2011. Web. 19 March 2012.
- Rao, Srinivasa, Nageswara Rao, and E Kusuma Kumari. “Cloud Computing: An Overview.” Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology. 2005-2006 JATIT. Web. 18 March 2012.
- Reynolds, George. Information Technology Management. Singapore: Cengage Learning, 2010.