Innovecture Innsight

Cloud Computing Overview and Viewpoint

Cloud Computing
Technology and buzzwords have a classic love-hate relationship. Without the buzzwords the life in technology seems to be dull and with the buzzwords it seems to be confusing and paranoid. In the past decade we have seen many movements which seemed like disruptive technologies such as Network computing, grid computing, cloud computing, and social computing. The network computing trend was promoting the use of server/thin client based usage rather than using a personal computer with capacity on the desktop/laptop. Grid computing was focusing on leveraging the unused capacity in a grid of computers which could be pooled for a given solution need. Today cloud computing and social computing have become popular topics in the tech buzz and the roundtables.

This insight focuses on concepts, advantages and opportunities in the area of cloud computing. Cloud computing refers to a model where a pool of shared computing resources can be accessed on-demand over network. The difference between grid computing and cloud computing is that in case of cloud computing the computing resources can be provisioned on-demand where as in grid computing the resources need to be planned ahead based on the demand forecast with a risk of over provisioning.

Cloud offers 3 service models:
  • Software as a Service (SaaS): In this service model the user can access the application or a business service running on a cloud infrastructure on demand. The user does not have access to manage the underlying software, O/S, servers, network and the storage.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): In this service model the user can not only access the application or a business service running on a cloud infrastructure on demand but also have access to manage the application and the underlying software or the application environment. However the user does not have control over the O/S, servers, network and the storage.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): In this service model the user can access, control and manage the application or a business service running on a cloud infrastructure on demand and also can manage/control the underlying software, O/S and certain computing resources such as network configuration and storage. The user does not control the cloud infrastructure.
Cloud computing can be deployed in 3 different ways:
  • Private Cloud: Private Cloud refers to the cloud infrastructure managed for an organization and not shared with any other organization. The management is done by either by the cloud service provider or by the internal IT.
  • Public Cloud: Public cloud is offered by the cloud service provider to the public or to a group of companies.
  • Hybrid Cloud: Hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private cloud environments to meet the service demanded by the client. The distinction between private and public cloud is seamless to the client due to the model based on standards and due to the portability of applications.
Cloud computing allows the organization to leverage a large pool of capacity and allows elastic scalability due to the nature of on demand CPU, memory, storage and bandwidth allocation. Due to the fact that multi-tenancy and multi tasking can be achieved cloud computing optimizes the resource utilization and reduces the TCO. This is a very attractive model to the small and medium sized businesses where the entire internal IT hosting can be outsourced. For large businesses the elastic scalability and the cheaper operating cost can be attractive for certain use cases.

Security, governance and compliance/fraud related issues are still constraints which need to be carefully weighed when utilizing cloud computing. Even though the technology may be robust often the contractual agreements between the cloud provider and client organization become sticky points. There is no doubt that the cloud computing is paving the way for new business models and businesses can leverage the efficiency/expertise available in the market. This however should not deter the businesses from leveraging the internal IT/resources if they are as or equally efficient and cost effective, because there is less anxiety with security, governance and compliance/fraud related issues.