Suresh Jagannathan
Solutions Architect,
TAKE Solutions

Cloud Computing is the next big trend in the way, Information Technology will be managed in the future. The definition of cloud computing usually varies from: Simply utilizing virtual servers available on the internet for computing power. Increased computing capacity on demand without any capital investment on new resources like infrastructure, resources & licensed software. Generally the spend on cloud computing is in terms of a fixed subscription fee on a periodic basis (monthly) or simply pay-as-you-use a service.

According to Berkeley scientists, "Cloud computing refers to both the applications delivered as services over the Internet and the hardware and systems software in the datacenters that provide those services. The services themselves have long been referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS), so we use that term. The datacenter hardware and software is what we will call a Cloud." Users get to access software that resides on servers in the "cloud" from any where using the internet.

According to Berkeley scientists, "Cloud computing refers to both the applications delivered as services over the Internet and the hardware and systems software in the datacenters that provide those services.

Don't buy Software but subscribe it on a need basis

In a cloud, software is hosted out of servers belonging to Service Providers. Users need not buy software anymore. Users pay per usage or simply subscribe on a period basis.

Cut down Software maintenance costs

Organization plan and deploy hardware infrastructure & may setup private data centers for software applications, based on peak capacity requirements. Instead Organizations can now use Software hosted on a SAAS platform without having to spend on software hardware maintenance. The Service Provider owns the responsibility of scaling the capacity available to their customers. Adequate Backups, Redundancy, Disaster recovery mechanisms, 'No-down-time', Complete Protection of data, are all part of SLA Governing the offering

New Upgrades to software will also be done automatically without any user intervention. No down time and high reliability

Increased reliability stems from the fact that the cloud runs on systems that are extremely reliable and provide various forms of redundancy. If a storage server on the cloud fails due to hardware or software issues, the service provider needs only to shift the load over to other servers or bring up a backup server in its place. If it is occurred at an users premises with installed software a simple issue can turn to hours of technical support over the phone, costly downtime, and unhappy users and customers

Scale up or down at will

In a cloud computing environment, Enterprises can subscribe & have storage capacity scaled up or down depending on their requirements. Service providers need only to add servers or shift load from one server to another to accommodate for the additional use of space. The same goes for software application use.

Reduce cost – move marginal costs from CAPEX to OPEX

There is no need to invest in terms of hardware and software licenses. The cost now shifts to OPEX (Operating Expenses) because of the need to pay nominal subscription fee on a periodic basis. Additional IT staff head count and the salary paid out to them will be reduced.

Environmentally friendly This model leads to a better Carbon foot print across the globe because the need for number of sophisticated hardware that consumes lots of energy deployed will be reduced, as more and more enterprises disinvest on data centers and move to the SAAS platform

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Access anytime, anywhere, pay-as-you use!

Through this model, software and related services are rendered through the internet, which means "anytime anywhere" availability without location constraints.

Seamless version upgrades to hosted software

Cloud computing provides a common platform for all enterprises accessing the software or services to work on the most-recent / up to date / modern technology. The users will only experience new or better functionality as hardware & software are upgraded with newer versions.

CLOUD COMPUTING SERVICES & Offerings

Cloud computing provides a common platform for all enterprises accessing the software or services to work on the most-recent / up to date / modern technology. The users will only experience new or better functionality as hardware & software are upgraded with newer versions.

Saas (Software as a Service)

An application accessed through a browser by thousands of customers using a multitenant architecture. Salesforce.com is the best example for a SAAS based solution

Infrastructure services

This is a model by which Storage and virtual servers are available on rental / demand. Usually it begins as a non mission critical need. Amazon.com, Sun, IBM are providers of Utility computing services.

Application integration services

Web service providers offer APIs that enable developers to exploit functionality over the Internet, rather than delivering full-blown applications. They range from providers offering discrete business services -- such as Strike Iron and Xignite -- to the full range of APIs offered by Google Maps, ADP payroll processing, the U.S. Postal Service, Bloomberg, and even conventional credit card processing services.

Platform as a service

This service delivers software development environments on demand to programmers, who build their applications that run on the service provider's Infrastructure and delivered to users via the Internet. Prime examples include Salesforce.com's Force.com,

Managed services

This is an old form of cloud computing, where in the IT department of the enterprise plays a crucial role. Services such as a virus scanning service for e-mail or an application monitoring service (which Mercury, among others, provides) are already there in town.

Examples are SecureWorks, IBM, and Verizon

About the author

--Suresh Jagannathan is currently working as Solutions Architect in TAKE Solutions. He has over 7 years of Supply Chain Management practice with Organizations like P&G, TTK-LIG, IFF & 7 years of SCM IT Products experience as Specialist & Solutions Architect.