Author Archives: Emma

Cloud Computing: Is It The Wave Of The Future Or Just A Passing Fad?

Cloud Computing: Is It The Wave Of The Future Or Just A Passing Fad?

Look at me; I’m trendy

Cloud computing in a nutshell is rather easy to understand. Anything that is delivered to an end user from one hosted service over the Internet is a form of cloud computing. There are three main types: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Without boring you with the over-techie end of it all, they are infrastructure-, platform- and software-based. These break down to more complex meanings, but you will sound like you know what you’re talking about if you toss out those fancy letter groupings.

Fad: trimming the fat

For those of you that remember the dotcom craze, it seemed like everyone could get rich overnight. Then the bubble burst, and it all crashed in on itself. To some degree cloud computing is in a very similar situation, right now. Some of the biggest names on the Internet are now deploying some form of cloud computing. Amazon, HP, Intel, IBM, Google, Facebook and Twitter are a few that lead the pack, and there are numerous smaller services popping up too. Does that mean the whole thing is going to crash? Everything has its ups and downs. Cloud computing is still in its infancy with new technologies being made available almost every day that can be used with it. As with any business, however, there are going to be some that stick around and some that will not.

What’s now, and what’s not?

From the public standpoint, cloud computing is rather large. Many people are now using cloud computing for two things. The first of these is storage – everything from MP3s to photos. The general public has found cloud computing to be their universal external hard drive. Give someone the URL and they have complete access to someone else’s information, music, etc. But in the business world, on the other hand, many organizations are taking the opportunity to handle their current workloads and even expand. The cloud gives employees the ability to work from outside of the four walls of the corporate office without missing a beat. Granted, this is a simplistic form of what is currently the capability of cloud computing, but 112 billion dollars are forecasted to be spent on cloud computing in 2012, a large 15% increase over 2011. So, where is that money going?

Money drain or money well spent?

Most of the information that is stored on cloud computers is from the private sector (24%), and that number is slated to grow to 33% over the next 18 months. It is believed that most IT budgets allocate more than a third of their total amount to cloud computing. From the business side, many of the prime players involved with cloud computing believe that budgets will increase even more, and that the money will be well spent as business itself and the manner in which it is conducted becomes reshaped around cloud computing.

Surveys taken from small and mid-sized businesses show that most are not worried about the cost of using or setting up for the cloud. It is the ability to keep data secure and end users’ privacy safe that are the major concerns. So, this is where a large part of the cost is incurred, but is the return on investment worth it? More data can be stored on private computer systems, and the systems in place are increasingly automated, so the worry of keeping twenty computers up-to-date goes out the window when only the hosting computer needs to be current. Increased flexibility and mobility, as well as the ability to give the IT department a chance to focus on day-to-day operations instead of constant server updates, are all important.

Every company, whether large or small, will find their own use and reason for cloud computing and the justification for spending money on it. The future of cloud computing is bright, but it is also a future that should be stepped into slowly and well thought rather than fast paced and poorly planned.

By Emma Joseph

Cloud Computing: Back When It Was Fun

Cloud Computing: Back When It Was Fun

Technology changes fast around here. Sometimes it is hard even to keep up with the latest technology, never mind the latest trends. What does that mean for you, the person sitting down right this moment and reading this? It means that once done, you’re going to be left with a simple choice: to keep sitting there and let everything pass you by, or to get up and do something to fix it. Oh, and there is plenty to change and do, by the way.

If you’re looking into cloud services, there are many great places out there, and many of them, such as Google and MSN Live, offer these services (with very limited abilities) for free. This gives you a great chance to get a feel and idea of what you are doing and what they can do. Granted you’re going to need a little information from your end to pull all of it together. Are you going to use pay-as-you-go or a metered service? What kind of service do you need; how much space; how much power? I cannot give you answers to those questions; I can only tell you that most places are customizable. This means you should take more than you need at the outset and then scale back if needed. Pretty simple, right? Oh, wait. You have no idea really what I am talking about, so let me explain.

Cloud computing is the technology giant, right now – having other people host your information, from normal data, to programs. Your employees can log into this service center (cloud service) and use the applications, get the data and move that information around as needed. Think of it this way: Your provider became a giant computer, and your computers are just the gateways to logging into that giant computer.

Are you still a bit lost and in need of a little more information? Simple, think about places such as Facebook, or Netflix; these are both simple cloud computing ideas. Facebook has games, and although those games are hosted on other servers, you use Facebook to use them. Netflix offers on-demand videos; you select the video you want to watch, and a moment later you’re watching the latest movie (on-demand cloud computing). Simple idea, right? Yes it is, and because of the ease of use involved, everyone is jumping on board the cloud.

Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Google and a bunch of other companies are all involved in the idea. One of the big reasons it is exploding is because of the talented folks that are doing it. And let’s be honest; there are a ton of folks in just these companies who are industry leaders.

The hype of cloud computing is gone, and the reality is here. The cloud is all about services for you, your business and your employees. Look for the basics: software as a service, platform as a service and infrastructure as a service. Don’t know what those are? You will figure them our rather quickly. Identify what you need – public, private, hybrid or community. Each combination offers a different set of values. The combinations are practically endless.

By Emma Joseph

Visit CloudTweaks each week as Emma helps take the complexity out of the cloud…

What Terms Me On, Cloud Computing Lingo?

What Terms Me On, Cloud Computing Lingo?

Cloud computing is all the rage, but knowing what you’re talking about and knowing what you’re talking about are too different things. Here is a quick list of common Cloud computing terms.

Advertising-based pricing model

Low cost or no cost services. The costs are covered through ads that are sent along to the costumer.

Amazon EC2

Amazon cloud computer service

Amazon S3

Amazon storage services

CDN

Content delivery network, multiple computers forming a large network. The network is setup so data can be shared easily across it.

Cloud

This is the main one on the list, a metaphor for a large scale global network.

Cloud broker

A person or business, that maintains relationships over multiple cloud service providers. They are the go between for the providers and the users.

Cloud operating system

Made to run and providers center for data. Example of this is Google Chrome

Cloud Oriented Architecture

Applications serve other applications inside a cloud environment

Cloud Portability

Moving applications and data between different cloud providers

Cloud Storage

Users can save data over the internet to a cloud storage provider or other third party

Cloudsourcing

IT is replaced with cloud services

Cloudstorming

Multiple cloud environments all connected together

Cloudware

Application software that enables running and managing of systems

Cluster

Linked computers working together in the form of a single computer

Consumption-based pricing model

Service provider, charges based on the amount of serviced used, not on a base fee.

Customer self-service

End users (customers) can manage their own services and terminate them as well.

Disruptive technology

Improved products and services that unexpected change how the cloud computing market preforms.

Elastic computing

Memory and storage that can stretch to meet demand

External cloud

Third party cloud service that is either public or private

Google App Engine

For developers to create and run web applications

Google Apps

Heart and soul to Google apps, offers productivity services

Hass

Hardware as a service

Hosted Application

Application software that runs by remote server

Hybrid cloud

Multiple integrated networking environments

laaS

Infrastructure as a service

IBM Smart Business

IBM’s cloud computing service.

Internal cloud

Private cloud service in the users own IT department

Mashup

Applications that are web based from multiple sources

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft’s cloud service

Middleware

Middle of both applications and operating systems, software that runs both

On-demand service

Think Netflix, click the button and you can use it service

PaaS

Platform as a service

Pay as you go

Subsription and consumption models, no long term contracts or extra fees

Private cloud

Private network cloud computing system

Public cloud

Same as above just public

SaaS

Software as a service

Service migration

Moving from one provider to another

Service provider

Who you choose to go with that offers you the cloud computing service

SLA

Service level agreement, the fine print to any contract you sign

Subscription

Paying monthly fees for a set amount and type of use

Utility computing

Metered storage usesage

Vendor lock-in

This is difficulty in migrating from one cloud provider to another

Vertical cloud

Common term for over all cloud computing

Virtual private data center

Shared services of both data and storage

VPC

Virtual private cloud

Windows Live Services

Consumer applications over windows live networks

By Emma Joseph

(Note: This is a fairly basic list of some of the more popular terms. If you have any additional terms that you’d like to add, please feel free to include them in the comment section)

Cloud Computing Simplified

Cloud Computing Simplified

Understanding the idea behind cloud computing is simple. Long before the term cloud computing was even invented, we had all been using some form of it. If you’re an online gamer playing games like WoW or Eve, the basic idea of cloud computing is used there. Their servers hold information (not that which is stored on your own computer), which makes the games you have installed work correctly. This is where the big difference is. You do not install any programs on your computer; they are rather hosted on a computer either at your company or a third-party provider.

Some of the old file-sharing programs that existed years ago were forms of cloud computing as well. Data, movies, pictures and music were hosted by other computers. You logged in and were able to watch, listen or view the data from the comfort of your own home, while someone else hosted it. But now cloud computing has taken off and gone to the next level—a system of computers linked up together hosting, serving and storing data so users can use that data without even needing to install or upgrade their own machines. This is a concept that many of us who have been using the Net for a while already understand and have been using to some degree, but now the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, and it has become the new “in” thing.

To better understand what you are reading, try out Google docs. This program, even if basic, is a prime example of cloud computing. They host the data (which at this time is spreadsheets and word documents) and the programs, and you are able to open, use, save and download the data as needed. Now, if you have an old computer system, some programs simply would not run on your computer. But with cloud computing, the age of your computer system is never an issue. Your computer becomes a keyboard and monitor only, as all the heavy lifting is done by the server computer.

Now think about that for a moment—think about 20 or 50 computers all linked together. That massive amount of computing power is all at your fingertips. Do you want to have every song ever recorded at your fingertips? Or every book… or every anything? You can! Facebook games are a similar idea to cloud computing; they do the heavy lifting, while you just sit there and enjoy playing the game. Pretty simple, right? Well, expand that idea even further. Think what your company IT department could do with that information—that ability. Think of the wasted man-hours spent updating each and every computer; think of the money spent to make sure each and every computer had the proper software. Now take that cost away; take away the man-hours. What could your IT department be doing right now? Developing new programs and ideas, and doing what you wanted them to do in the first place, before they were distracted by every issue under the sun.

By Emma Joseph

Visit CloudTweaks each week as Emma helps take the complexity out of the cloud…

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