Friday, 2 October 2009

Clearing Up Cloud Confusion

Over the past year or so, you have probably heard the term cloud computing. This phrase has been tossed around a lot, but many are still confused as to its meaning. So, what is cloud computing?

According to Wikipedia, "Cloud computing is a paradigm of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet." In other words, cloud computing allows you to access resources over the Internet rather than storing those resources in-house.

Cloud Computing Terminology

• Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) - With the IaaS model, organizations essentially rent business resources (such as servers, network equipment, memory, CPU, disk space, and data center facilities) from a service provider and pay for these resources based on actual use. An example of infrastructure as a service is the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

• Platform as a service (PaaS) - With PaaS, a vendor hosts a set of software and development tools on their infrastructure. Developers can then use this platform to create and customize applications over the Internet. is an example of PaaS.

• Software as a service (SaaS) - SaaS refers to a distribution model in which software applications are hosted by a vendor and accessed by customers over the Internet. This differs from the traditional model in which software is installed on a personal computer.

Cloud Computing Benefits

• Scalability - Easily increase capacity, as computing needs change, without purchasing additional equipment.

• Accessibility - Access data and applications over the Internet from anywhere.

• Reduce Costs - Pay for resources on an as-needed basis -- no need to purchase hardware that will only perform during peak demand.

• Shift Burden - Free internal IT staff from constant updates and issues.

Major concerns regarding cloud computing are security and reliability. Many organizations have difficulty trusting their information with a third party vendor, and well publicized provider outages have increased their concerns. When evaluating your computing needs, it is important to weigh both the benefits and the risks of the cloud. For example, outages and data-loss are possible in both the cloud and traditional enterprise systems, but in most cases a cloud vendor will have more resources available to quickly and accurately remedy these failures.

Original Article - 

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