Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Leon Fayer, Carmen Gonzalez, David Sprott, Lori MacVittie, Adam Vincent

Related Topics: Apache, Web 2.0, Cloud Expo

Apache: Article

The Three Salient Features of Cloud Computing

:Accessibility, Availability, and Scalability - Cloud computing provides tangible benefits, available to users on request

The Duo Consulting Blog

When you boil it down to brass tacks, cloud computing is just a new take on an old idea. Businesses are drawn to the facilities that cloud computing has to offer because the availability of our resources dictates our current needs...and our needs always expand beyond the capacity of our resources.

The first computers took up the space of a three-car garage. It’s amazing to think that all the computing power of those vacuum tube behemoths can now fit on a silicon chip the size of your fingernail, with processing room besides. However, even with all these advances in technology, we find it’s still not enough.

As a multimedia guy, I recognize two governing laws of data:

  • The availability of our resources dictates our current needs.
  • Our needs always expand beyond the capacity of our resources.

It is because of these two laws that more businesses are drawn to the facilities that cloud computing has to offer. Before they reach this decision, they usually first follow a process similar to this:

  • Build a bigger system.
  • Compress the bigger system into a smaller space.
  • Connect systems together to share resources.

My Dad is Bigger than Your Dad

Our first inclination is to put more stuff into the existing box. Where previously we would add more vacuum tubes to give our computers the ability to calculate floating point numbers, nowadays we install faster processors (or multiprocessors), larger hard drives, and more powerful graphics cards with higher video display RAM. The more technically inclined may even tweak the hardware to improve the speed of the data path between each of these components as well.

These bigger systems initially appear to provide all the computing power we need. We are able to run virtually any application, and store all of our data, on a single machine. Before long before we begin to realize new problems:

  • These devices are finite. Disk space is a concrete measurement, and fairly soon we are horrified to learn we can’t store the digital photos of little Mischa’s tenth birthday party because our hard drives are already maxed out.
  • These devices are insecure. Because all the applications and data reside on the same machine, that information is not safe in the event that computer is stolen, or worse, destroyed during a disaster.

Mainframe Computing

What if we were to instead invest in a mainframe computer—a really large computer that can hold our vast quantities of information? Then all our data would be in a centralized location safely protected from the elements. Also, theft of mainframe computers is really not an issue: I doubt very much that even a useful part of one would fit inside a hockey bag.

In a mainframe environment, to use any of our applications, all we’d need to do is connect a dumb terminal to this mainframe. Without any processing ability of its own, the terminal provides all the power of the mainframe at our disposal. Connect several hundred dumb terminals to the same mainframe and we can run an organization called IBM.

Reality Bites

While the processing power of mainframe computers is high, the upfront cost to install a mainframe environment is also high, and prohibitive to the average user. But what if we take our powerful desktop computers and connected them all together? For small- to medium-size enterprises, network computing is a lower-cost alternative to investing in a mainframe.

Most local area networks are set up as one or a combination of two ways:

  • Peer-to-Peer: Applications and data are stored on individual computers. Users run applications on their own computers and can allow other users to work with their files from across the wire.
  • Network Server: Applications and data are stored on a central computer or group of computers. Users can run applications installed on their local computer or on the network server. While users are encouraged to store their data on the central server, there is usually nothing to prevent a user from storing files locally as well.

In a networked environment, the security of the data is still at risk, because unlike mainframe components, a network server, usually the size of a standard desktop computer, can fit into a hockey bag. Also, even though a network setup can cost less than a mainframe, to properly configure it and continue to secure it requires a full-time IT specialist, which adds additional overhead. And once again, space is finite. An organization could easily outgrow even the highest capacity hard drive on their network server.

Head in the Cloud Computing

Through cloud computing, you can have all the power of several mainframe computers, the interconnectivity of a network system, the security of all your data being backed up on a regular basis, and the expertise of several IT specialists, all with a cost equivalent to buying lunch for your staff once a week. With faster Internet connection speeds becoming the norm, many users are already experiencing the benefits of cloud computing and not even realizing it.

Cloud computing is described on Wikipedia as, “…a style of computing where IT-related capabilities are provided ‘as a service’, allowing users to access technology-enabled services ‘in the cloud’ without knowledge of, expertise with, or control over the technology infrastructure that supports them.”

If a computer network provides the combination of computing power, storage capacity, user availability, and security that we want, cloud computing is a really large network, with all those features on steroids. Applications and data can be stored on any computer on this network, and while these computers may vary in size, several of them have the processing capability of mainframe computer systems.

We haven’t quite returned to the days of dumb terminals, however. Instead, we use the features of a standard web browser to access Rich Internet Applications (RIA) that simulate the smooth look and feel of a desktop application.

Soft Serve, Not the Ice Cream Kind

Cloud computing provides tangible benefits, available to users on request. Providing these features “as a service” means that the resources can be shared between several users without any noticeable decrease in performance.

Software as a Service (SaaS) reduces the need to install and upgrade software on users’ desktops. The user always opens the most up-to-date copy of the software, because it is maintained at all times. Google Apps and Zoho are examples of companies providing common application software. Both systems even provide an offline mode for times when users aren’t connected to the Internet. Their files are uploaded as soon as their computers are reconnected.

Hardware as a Service (HaaS) provides users with additional computing power, whenever they require it. For instance, if a retailer has a short-term need to process a high volume of point-of-sale (POS) transactions on Boxing Day, applications can be set up to share the processing across additional computers as necessary.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is another growing enterprise. These shared hosting systems provide a development environment for developers to build their own applications using prebuilt modules or custom code.

Accessibility, availability, scalability: The salient features of cloud computing. But when you boil it down to brass tacks, cloud computing is just a new take on an old idea. I didn’t even get to discuss virtualization, which is what gives all these “as a service” features their power. Because of virtualization, while the two governing laws of data still apply, it will take a LONG time for our needs to “expand beyond the capacity of our resources.”

Read, Watch, and Learn

More Stories By Tony Chung

Tony Chung is a creative communications consultant who draws from his broad range of experiences and abilities to find parallel strategies for solving problems quickly and efficiently. He combines words, music, multimedia, web programming, technological passion, and analytical wisdom to build solutions timed to suit your business needs and requirements.

Submit a request for information on his consulting services now.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
Plutora provides enterprise release management and test environment SaaS solutions to clients in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Leading companies across a variety of industries, including financial services, telecommunications, retail, pharmaceutical and media, rely on Plutora's SaaS solutions to orchestrate releases and environments faster and with integrity. Products include Plutora Release Manager, Plutora Test Environment Manager and Plutora Deployment Manager.
SYS-CON Events announced today the DevOps Foundation Certification Course, being held June ?, 2015, in conjunction with DevOps Summit and 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. This sixteen (16) hour course provides an introduction to DevOps – the cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration, integration and automation in order to improve the flow of work between software developers and IT operations professionals. Improved workflows will res...
When it comes to building applications, one database definitely does not fit all. Traditional SQL databases are great for storing highly structured, normalized data and performing analytics and reporting. NoSQL has attracted developers with its awesome flexibility, and JSON-centric document stores like Cloudant make web developers incredibly productive by offering a JavaScript environment from end-to-end. Recent Big Data challenges have driven the need for a distributed approach to analytics e...
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch ...
The WebRTC Summit 2014 New York, to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 16th International Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit.
Modern Systems announced completion of a successful project with its new Rapid Program Modernization (eavRPMa"c) software. The eavRPMa"c technology architecturally transforms legacy applications, enabling faster feature development and reducing time-to-market for critical software updates. Working with Modern Systems, the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) leveraged eavRPMa"c to transform its Student Information System from Software AG's Natural syntax to a modern application lev...
SOA Software has changed its name to Akana. With roots in Web Services and SOA Governance, Akana has established itself as a leader in API Management and is expanding into cloud integration as an alternative to the traditional heavyweight enterprise service bus (ESB). The company recently announced that it achieved more than 90% year-over-year growth. As Akana, the company now addresses the evolution and diversification of SOA, unifying security, management, and DevOps across SOA, APIs, microser...
Even though it’s now Microservices Journal, long-time fans of SOA World Magazine can take comfort in the fact that the URL – soa.sys-con.com – remains unchanged. And that’s no mistake, as microservices are really nothing more than a new and improved take on the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) best practices we struggled to hammer out over the last decade. Skeptics, however, might say that this change is nothing more than an exercise in buzzword-hopping. SOA is passé, and now that people are ...
The webinar, hosted by XebiaLabs, will feature 4 experts including Special Host Gene Kim, author of The Phoenix Project, along with IT thought leaders Gary Gruver, Randy Shoup and XebiaLabs' Andrew Phillips. The panel brings more than 30 years of collective experience surrounding microservices transformations at major companies including Google, eBay and Tripwire. "The story around microservices and containers is pretty compelling and the attraction of more flexibility is obviously alluring,"...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Creative Business Solutions will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Creative Business Solutions is the top stocking authorized HP Renew Distributor in the U.S. Based out of Long Island, NY, Creative Business Solutions offers a one-stop shop for a diverse range of products including Proliant, Blade and Industry Standard Servers, Networking, Server Options and...
WHOA.com has announced the newest addition to its data center footprint with the expansion into Equinix's newest state-of-the-art facility: DC-11 Washington, DC IBX+. Located in Ashburn, VA, this data center expands Whoa.com's presence to meet rapidly expanding customer demand for secure cloud solutions. Equinix, Inc. operates International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers in 32 markets across 15 countries in the Americas, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific. Equinix is committed to operating faciliti...
SYS-CON Events announced today that FierceDevOps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. FierceDevOps keeps software developers and IT operations personnel updated on the latest news and trends around the rapidly evolving role of the traditional IT worker.
The Open Compute Project is a collective effort by Facebook and a number of players in the datacenter industry to bring lessons learned from the social media giant's giant IT deployment to the rest of the world. Datacenters account for 3% of global electricity consumption – about the same as all of Switzerland or the Czech Republic -- according to people I met at the recent Open Compute Summit in San Jose. With increasing mobility at the edge of the cloud and vast new dataflows being pre...
GENBAND has announced that SageNet is leveraging the Nuvia platform to deliver Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) to its large base of retail and enterprise customers. Nuvia’s cloud-based solution provides SageNet’s customers with a full suite of business communications and collaboration tools. Two large national SageNet retail customers have recently signed up to deploy the Nuvia platform and the company will continue to sell the service to new and existing customers. Nuvia’s capabili...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cisco makes amazing things happen by connecting the unconnected. Cisco has shaped the future of the Internet by becoming the worldwide leader in transforming how people connect, communicate and collaborat...
WSM International is launching a DevOps services division that offers assessment, consulting and implementation to large enterprises and organizations with complex infrastructures. This is the first independent services company to create a dedicated practice to help organizations looking to transition to the DevOps model. The concept of DevOps is to blend information technology (IT) software development with operations to optimize the computing infrastructure according to the specific needs of ...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
SYS-CON Events announced today that robomq.io will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. robomq.io is an interoperable and composable platform that connects any device to any application. It helps systems integrators and the solution providers build new and innovative products and service for industries requiring monitoring or intelligence from devices and sensors.
Temasys has announced senior management additions to its team. Joining are David Holloway as Vice President of Commercial and Nadine Yap as Vice President of Product. Over the past 12 months Temasys has doubled in size as it adds new customers and expands the development of its Skylink platform. Skylink leads the charge to move WebRTC, traditionally seen as a desktop, browser based technology, to become a ubiquitous web communications technology on web and mobile, as well as Internet of Things...
Today, IT is not just a cost center. IT is an enabler and driver of business. With the emergence of the hybrid cloud paradigm, IT now has increasingly more capabilities to create new strategic opportunities for a business. Hybrid cloud allows an organization to utilize multi-tenant public clouds, dedicated private clouds, bare metal hosting, and the associated support and services for the right use cases through an on-demand, XaaS model. This model of IT creates tremendous opportunities for busi...