Emelda Banumathy
Manager
Talent Development at CSS Corp

Characteristics of Cloud Computing

Shared Infrastructure

Uses a virtualized software model, enabling the sharing of physical services, storage, and networking capabilities. The cloud infrastructure, regardless of deployment model, seeks to make the most of the available infrastructure across a number of users.

Cloud Computing has a variety of characteristics, with the main ones being:

Dynamic Provisioning

Allows for the provision of services based on current demand requirements. This is done automatically using software automation, enabling the expansion and contraction of service capability, as needed. This dynamic scaling needs to be done while maintaining high levels of reliability and security.

Network Access

Needs to be accessed across the internet from a broad range of devices such as PCs, laptops, and mobile devices, using standards-based APIs (for example, the ones based on HTTP). Deployments of services in the cloud include everything from using business applications to the latest application on the newest smart phones.

Managed Metering

Uses metering for managing and optimizing the service and to provide reporting and billing information. In this way, consumers are billed for services according to how much they have actually used during the billing period. In short, Cloud Computing allows for the sharing and scalable deployment of services, as needed, from almost any location, and for which the customer can be billed based on actual usage.

Service Models

Once a cloud is established, how its Cloud Computing services are deployed in terms of business models, and can differ depending on requirements. The primary service models being deployed are :

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Consumers purchase the ability to access and use an application or service that is hosted in the cloud. By running business applications over the internet from centralized servers rather than from on-site servers, companies can cut some serious costs. Furthermore, while avoiding maintenance costs, licensing costs and the costs of the hardware required for running servers on-site, companies are able to run applications much more efficiently from a computing standpoint. A benchmark example of this is Microsoft® Office 2010, its office web apps are available to office volume licensing customers and office web app subscriptions through its Cloud-based Online Services

Following are the Companies who provide SaaS :

Oracle's on demand CRM software allows customers flexibility in how to deploy their CRM software based on their specific needs and budget requirements. Hosted and Managed Applications and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployment models are all available.

Salesforce.com has become the poster child of Software as a Service Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solutions.

NetSuite delivers Software as a Service (SaaS) enterprise-wide business applications, including full-featured financials and accounting, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), inventory, and e-commerce software, all in a fully integrated application.

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Platform as a Service (PaaS)

  • ŽGoogle (GOOG) - Apps Engine

  • ŽAmazon.com (AMZN) - EC2

  • ŽMicrosoft (MSFT) - Windows Live

  • ŽTerremark Worldwide (TMRK) - The Enterprise Cloud

  • ŽSalesforce.com (CRM) - Force.com

  • ŽNetSuite (N) - Suiteflex

  • Mosso - Mosso, a division of Rackspace

  • Metrisoft - Metrisoft SaaS Platform

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Consumers control and manage the systems in terms of the operating systems, applications, storage, and network connectivity, but do not themselves control the cloud infrastructure. Infrastructure vendors provide the physical storage space and processing capabilities that allow all the services described above

Following are some companies who offer IaaS

Amazon Web Services has become the one to beat in the cloud game, and Amazon EC2, its compute capacity play, set the standards for spinning up and taking down cloud capacity quickly and affordably with a pay-as-you-go model.

BlueLock comes at the cloud from a different way, offering Cloud Computing and managed services backed by VMware vCloud Datacenter Services.

GoGrid prides itself on being the biggest pure-play Infrastructure-as-aService company in the world. Its infrastructure lets businesses deploy and manage apps in the cloud platform within minutes and with flexibility that separates it from the Johnny-comelatelies.

Cloud Deployment Models

Deploying Cloud Computing can differ depending on requirements, and the following four deployment models have been identified, each with specific characteristics that support the needs of the services and users of the clouds in particular ways

Private Cloud

The cloud infrastructure has been deployed, and is maintained and operated for a specific organization. The operation may be in-house or with a third party on the premises.

Community Cloud

The cloud infrastructure is shared among a number of organizations with similar interests and requirements. This may help limit the capital expenditure costs for its establishment as the costs are shared among the organizations. The operation may be in-house or with a third party on the premises.

Public Cloud

The cloud infrastructure is available to the public on a commercial basis by a cloud service provider. This enables a consumer to develop and deploy a service in the cloud with very little financial outlay compared to the capital expenditure requirements normally associated with other deployment options.

Hybrid Cloud

The cloud infrastructure consists of a number of clouds of any type, but the clouds have the ability through their interfaces to allow data and/or applications to be moved from one cloud to another. This can be a combination of private and public clouds that support the requirement to retain some data in an organization, and also the need to offer services in the cloud.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

The following are some of the possible benefits for those who offer Cloud Computing-based services and applications:

Scalability/Flexibility

Companies can start with a small deployment and grow to a large deployment fairly rapidly, and then scale back if necessary. Also, the flexibility of Cloud Computing allows companies to use extra resources at peak times, enabling them to satisfy consumer demands.

Reliability

Services using multiple redundant sites can support business continuity and disaster recovery.

Maintenance

Cloud service providers do the system maintenance, and access is through APIs that do not require application installations onto PCs, thus further reducing maintenance requirements.

Mobile Accessible

Mobile workers have increased productivity due to systems accessible in an infrastructure available from anywhere.