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Introduction to Cloud Computing for Newbies

As a user of cloud computing, you could be accessing your computer services right here....

Cloud computing is a general term for computing services delivered over the Internet, as opposed to computing services hosted inside your own network; on your own premises.

These computing services can be as simple as Internet based email or as complex as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application.

Cloud computing offers cost savings, because users don't have to invest capital budget to purchase hardware and software, nor expend the operating costs of electric power, space and cooling for the hardware and employee costs of maintaining the hardware and software.

The major differences between cloud based computing services and in-house or on-premise computing services are that cloud computing is:

  1. On-demand  "use it only when you need it";
  2. Elastic  "you can have as little or as much as you need".
  3. Shared "your computing services are shared with other users".

The end-user often only needs a computer and a browser/thin client or mobile device and browser/mobile application to access a cloud-based application.

There are three different types of clouds:

  1. Public - open to anyone to use
  2. Private - hosted by a an organization for the exclusive use of by its employees, members or partners
  3. Hybrid - a cloud that is part public, part private.

The above types of clouds, can be offered as:

  1. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or
  2. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) or
  3. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
NIST provides a nice graphical overview of the the types of cloud offerings:

The following series of blog posts will dive into each category in depth as well as discuss security and privacy concerns. In addition, hands-on tutorials on how to build a private cloud will be provided.

As a user of cloud computing, you could be accessing your computer services right here....

More Stories By Jonathan Gershater

Jonathan Gershater has lived and worked in Silicon Valley since 1996, primarily doing system and sales engineering specializing in: Web Applications, Identity and Security. At Red Hat, he provides Technical Marketing for Virtualization and Cloud. Prior to joining Red Hat, Jonathan worked at 3Com, Entrust (by acquisition) two startups, Sun Microsystems and Trend Micro.

(The views expressed in this blog are entirely mine and do not represent my employer - Jonathan).

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