Understanding The Cloud Computing Infrastructure
As a long time advocate of cloud computing, I already know most of the technology and terms surrounding cloud computing and if someone mentions a new application or feature I might be able to gleam how it works based on the technologies used. This is not necessarily true for most people even if they have been in the IT industry for a long time. That is why I write “simple” articles that the less informed might be able to grasp easily. But to get a real understanding of something, you need to get an understanding of its internal structure, understand how it works and not just what it does. If someone tells you that an airplane flies because of engines and wings, it will still seem like magic because you are not really informed on the how. Same as cloud computing, for many it simply provides them with that service that they take for granted without really knowing how it is done. And to understand it better, we must understand the underlying infrastructure of cloud computing.
To put it simply, the infrastructure or how all the hardware technology and other elements come together cloud computing is very similar to that of traditional network computing. You have your servers that contain the CPUs, RAM, and other processing elements, and then you have your various storage devices like NAS and RAID-style setups. Of course, to round out the bunch you have your networking hardware, the routers, switches, modems, repeaters, and any and all combinations of networking hardware technology. If you look at the list I just mentioned, it is obvious that the hardware used for cloud computing has been existing, but why hasn’t cloud computing existed as long?
To reiterate, cloud computing is an entirely new paradigm, a new approach in using and combining the current networking technology infrastructure, not a totally new technology even though networking technology has evolved in order to meet the paradigm’s demands. Cloud computing is simply a new way of putting together current technology to come up with new and different things, sort of like Legos.
One type of infrastructure might be better, more efficient than others depending on the way it was put together. And of course, the biggest element that distinguishes cloud computing is the way the service is being provided – virtualization and scalability, it allows providers to cater to all clients like they are the only ones using the service. Clients or users are allocated computing resources only according to their need so the rest of it can be provided to others, even if those needs fluctuate. Contrary to the old networking service infrastructures that are installed locally, all the computing power is made available to its owner, but not all of it is necessarily being used, this part is basically wasted.
With this new approach and delivery, service providers are finding new ways of using the technology for day-to-day business operations and are now even catering to individual consumers because of the popularity of mobile computing and entertainment media. Cloud computing as far as I am concerned, is the best way to deliver media to people that are always on the go. As communications technology become more powerful, so does the reach and function of cloud computing.
By Abdul Salam
He has recently co-authored: Deploying and Managing a Cloud Infrastructure: Real-World Skills for the CompTIA Cloud+ Certification (Wiley).