Cloud computing

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the new day technology which has been in development behind the scene for many years since its first mention in the 1950s by scientist Herb Grosch (the author of Grosch’s law). According to (Charles,C and Newcastle, D. 2012, p. 42) Herb Grosch “said everyone would operate on dumb terminals powered by about 15 large data centers”.

Cloud is a “type of computing that is comparable to grid computing, relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. The goal of cloud computing is to apply traditional supercomputing power (normally used by military and research facilities) to perform tens of trillions of computations per second.”
The word Cloud is a term used as a metaphor to speak of what is known as the Internet. The word is used freely and is based on a cloud like shape which encapsulates the internet and the infrastructure it represents. However, the cloud like shape has been in usage for a long time when (Dobbins.k , 1994 et al) used the cloud symbol to represent the internet.

Concept

The concept of cloud computing is that of time-sharing. Time-sharing is a practice which has been adopted to allow multiple users to share both the physical access to the computer from multiple terminals as well as to share the CPU time. Cloud computing also offers their services based on several fundamental models, such as: IaaS, SaaS, PaaS. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provides to customers web-based access to storage, and facilities to users to manage over the operating systems and deployed applications, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is described as a software distribution model which the vendor has the ability to make applications hosted on the server’s available to customers to purchase or download over the internet. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) allows users to rent visualised servers associated services for running current applications or developing and testing new ones.
In terms of time-sharing, according to Roberts, L and Wessler, B.(1970) Computer network development to achieve resource sharing, “A time-sharing system makes all its resources available to a number of users at remote consoles” therefore individuals and organizations can use a computer without owning one which created a more efficient way of using costly mainframes.

Why cloud?

Cloud computing poses many benefits for businesses/organisations who do not want to invest large amount of capital into purchasing hardwares or softwares that the organisation need for it business activities. It shifts the burden of maintaining IT infrastructure from the business to a service provider. Cloud provides the flexibility of working on the go, as services might be hosted in a remote location and access can also be from any remote locations also.

Disadvantages of moving to the Cloud

A major problem associated with Information systems is that of security, this makes cloud computing a bit worrisome on the part of the business because the security of their organisation's data is left in the hands of a 3rd party. Also cloud computing might be costly from the view point of small and medium sized businesses.

Top players in cloud computing

Some reputable names have been associated with providing reliable and trusted cloud services over the years. The following are a few of them:

  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • Sun Microsystems
  • Amazon
  • Google
  • AT&T
  • Salesforce

Want to know more about CLOUD?

Amazon Cloud Computing: http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/
IBM Cloud Computing: http://www01.ibm.com/software/tivoli/solutions/cloudcomputing/index.html
Salesforce: http://www.salesforce.com/uk/cloudcomputing/
Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/directory/cloud.aspx

References

How to Build Massive Subscriber, Membership and Social Media Lists by Marc Charles and David Newcastle (9 Feb 2012)
Roberts, L and Wessler, B.(1970) Computer network development to achieve resource sharing in: AFIPS '70 (Spring) Proceedings of the May 5-7, 1970, spring joint computer conference,[Online].Available from ACM digital library. http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1477020&bnc=1 [Accessed on 08 March 2013]
Kurt Dobbins et al. 1994. Network having secure fast packet switching and guaranteed quality of service. 5485455
Barnatt, C. (2010) A brief guide to cloud computing. London: Constable & Robinson Ltd.
IT Strategist Top cloud computing companies and key features. [Online]. Available from: http://www.itstrategists.com/Top-Cloud-Computing-Companies.aspx [Accessed 06 March 2013]

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