Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, AppDynamics Blog, Elizabeth White, Jason Bloomberg, SmartBear Blog

Related Topics: Apache, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that FalconStor Software® Inc., a 15-year innovator of software-defined storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. FalconStor Software®, Inc. (NASDAQ: FALC) is a leading software-defined storage company offering a converged, hardware-agnostic, software-defined storage and data services platform. Its flagship solution FreeStor®, utilizes a horizonta...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
SYS-CON Events announced today that (ISC)²® (“ISC-squared”) will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Two leading non-profits focused on cloud and information security, (ISC)² and Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), developed the Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) certification to address the increased demand for cloud security expertise due to rapid growth in cloud. Recently named “The Next...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, will discuss how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from mil...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
The cloud competition for database hosts is fierce. How do you evaluate a cloud provider for your database platform? In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Chris Presley, a Solutions Architect at Pythian, will give users a checklist of considerations when choosing a provider. Chris Presley is a Solutions Architect at Pythian. He loves order – making him a premier Microsoft SQL Server expert. Not only has he programmed and administered SQL Server, but he has also shared his expertise and passion w...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
WebSocket is effectively a persistent and fat pipe that is compatible with a standard web infrastructure; a "TCP for the Web." If you think of WebSocket in this light, there are other more hugely interesting applications of WebSocket than just simply sending data to a browser. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Frank Greco, Director of Technology for Kaazing Corporation, will compare other modern web connectivity methods such as HTTP/2, HTTP Streaming, Server-Sent Events and new W3C event APIs ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
In most cases, it is convenient to have some human interaction with a web (micro-)service, no matter how small it is. A traditional approach would be to create an HTTP interface, where user requests will be dispatched and HTML/CSS pages must be served. This approach is indeed very traditional for a web site, but not really convenient for a web service, which is not intended to be good looking, 24x7 up and running and UX-optimized. Instead, talking to a web service in a chat-bot mode would be muc...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AppNeta, the leader in performance insight for business-critical web applications, will exhibit and present at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AppNeta is the only application performance monitoring (APM) company to provide solutions for all applications – applications you develop internally, business-critical SaaS applications you use and the networks that deli...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
Recognizing the need to identify and validate information security professionals’ competency in securing cloud services, the two leading membership organizations focused on cloud and information security, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and (ISC)^2, joined together to develop an international cloud security credential that reflects the most current and comprehensive best practices for securing and optimizing cloud computing environments.
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...