A common understanding of “cloud computing” is continuously evolving, and the terminology and
to define it often need clarifying. Press coverage can be vague or may not fully capture the extent of what
computing entails or represents, sometimes reporting how companies are making their solutions available
“cloud” or how “cloud computing” is the way forward, but not examining the characteristics, models, and
involved in understanding what cloud computing is and what it can become.
This white paper introduces internet-based cloud computing, exploring the characteristics, service
deployment models in use today, as well as the benefits and challenges associated with cloud computing.
discussed are the communications services in the cloud (including ways to access the cloud, such as web
media control interfaces) and the importance of scalability and flexibility in a cloud-based environment.
Also noted for businesses desiring to start using communication services, are the interface choices
including Web 2.0 APIs, media control interfaces, Java interfaces, and XML based interfaces, catering to
range of application and service creation developers.
Introduction to Cloud Computing
When you store your photos online instead of on your home computer, or use webmail or a
social networking site, you are using a “cloud computing” service. If you are an
organization, and you want to use, for example, an online invoicing service instead of
updating the in-house one you have been using for many years, that online invoicing service
is a “cloud computing” service.
Cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing resources over the Internet. Instead of
keeping data on your own hard drive or updating applications for your needs, you use a
service over the Internet, at another location, to store your information or use its
applications. Doing so may give rise to certain privacy implications.
For that reason the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has prepared some
responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). We have also developed a Fact Sheet that
provides detailed information on cloud computing and the privacy challenges it presents.
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services over the Internet. Cloud services
allow individuals and businesses to use software and hardware that are managed by third
parties at remote locations. Examples of cloud services include online file storage, social
networking sites, webmail, and online business applications. The cloud computing model
allows access to information and computer resources from anywhere that a network
connection is available. Cloud computing provides a shared pool of resources, including data
storage space, networks, computer processing power, and specialized corporate and user
Many companies are delivering services from the cloud.Some notable examples as of2010 include the following:
• Google — Has a private cloud that it uses for delivering many different services to its users,including email access,
applications,text translations,maps,web analytics,and much more.
• Microsoft — Has Microsoft® Sharepoint® online service thatallows for content and business intelligence tools to be
the cloud,and Microsoft currently makes its office applications available in a cloud.
• Salesforce.com — Runs its application setfor its customers in a cloud,and its Force.com and Vmforce.com
developers with platforms to build customized cloud services.
The following definition of cloud computing has been developed by the U.S. National
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST):
Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of
configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that
can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider
interaction. This cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics,
three service models, and four deployment models.1
The 5 essential characteristics of cloud
• On-demand self-service
• Broad network access
• Resource pooling
• Rapid elasticity
• Measured Service
On-demand self-service. This is where you can provision computing capabilities based on your
needs. Our needs may change from time to time. This is why it’s called “on-demand”. It’s based on
your needs. The cool thing is that, all these provisioning processes don’t need human intervention!
Broad network access. By using cloud, you have the option on whether to burden the end users
laptop or in another word, thin or thick client. Thin client is where users have to download a small
size file and they can access to all the resources and features available. For thick client, users will have
to download a big size of files to their workstations before using the features. In another word, it’s
about how much you rely on the cloud and workstation.
Resource pooling. This is another cool thing about cloud computing. Resource pooling is about
assigning computing resources to multiple customers dynamically. It is something that can change
from time to time based on users demands.
Rapid elasticity. For me, this is the coolest characteristic in cloud computing. Imagine you are
hosting a web site and your average hit per day is 100. Suddenly, you are launching a project and for
a particular day, a lot of users will be signing in online at the same time. Your hit for that particular
time may rise to 10,000 in a day. For this type of scenario, during a normal day, the cloud will assign
you let’s say, 1 server and during peak time, it will rise to 5 servers and back to 1 server during
normal hour. The best thing is that, you only pay for how much you use! If you are hosting it
yourself, you’ll need to purchase 5 servers to prepare for the peak hours which only will occur once
in a blue moon. During the rest of the time, the other 4 servers will just sit there doing nothing.
Waste of resources.
Measured service. Since cloud is a pay-as-you-go type, you will be charged based on the amount of
resources you use only. Cloud provides usage metering.
The cloud computing service models are Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a
Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). In a Software as a Service model, a
pre-made application, along with any required software, operating system, hardware, and
network are provided. In PaaS, an operating system, hardware, and network are provided,
and the customer installs or develops its own software and applications. The IaaS model
provides just the hardware and network; the customer installs or develops its own operating
systems, software and applications.
1 NIST cloud definition, version 15 http://csrc.nist.gov/groups/SNS/cloud-computing/
Deployment of cloud services:
Cloud services are typically made available via a private cloud, community cloud, public
cloud or hybrid cloud.
Generally speaking, services provided by a public cloud are offered over the Internet and
are owned and operated by a cloud provider. Some examples include services aimed at the
general public, such as online photo storage services, e-mail services, or social networking
sites. However, services for enterprises can also be offered in a public cloud.
In a private cloud, the cloud infrastructure is operated solely for a specific organization,
and is managed by the organization or a third party.
In a community cloud, the service is shared by several organizations and made available
only to those groups. The infrastructure may be owned and operated by the organizations
or by a cloud service provider. 3
A hybrid cloud is a combination of different methods of resource pooling (for example,
combining public and community clouds).
Why cloud services are popular
Cloud services are popular because they can reduce the cost and complexity of owning and
operating computers and networks. Since cloud users do not have to invest in information
technology infrastructure, purchase hardware, or buy software licences, the benefits are low
up-front costs, rapid return on investment, rapid deployment, customization, flexible use,
and solutions that can make use of new innovations. In addition, cloud providers that have
specialized in a particular area (such as e-mail) can bring advanced services that a single
company might not be able to afford or develop.
Some other benefits to users include scalability, reliability, and efficiency. Scalability means
that cloud computing offers unlimited processing and storage capacity. The cloud is reliable
in that it enables access to applications and documents anywhere in the world via the
Internet. Cloud computing is often considered effic ient because it allows organizations to
free up resources to focus on innovation and product development.
Another potential benefit is that personal information may be better protected in the cloud.
Specifically, cloud computing may improve efforts to build privacy protection into technology
from the start and the use of better security mechanisms. Cloud computing will enable more
flexible IT acquisition and improvements, which may permit adjustments to procedures
based on the sensitivity of the data. Widespread use of the cloud may also encourage open
standards for cloud computing that will establish baseline data security features common
across different services and providers. Cloud computing may also allow for better audit
trails. In addition, information in the cloud is not as easily lost (when compared to the paper
documents or hard drives, for example).
Potential privacy risks
While there are benefits, there are privacy and security concerns too. Data is travelling over
the Internet and is stored in remote locations. In addition, cloud providers often serve
multiple customers simultaneously. All of this may raise the scale of exposure to possible
breaches, both accidental and deliberate.
Concerns have been raised by many that cloud computing may lead to “function creep” —
uses of data by cloud providers that were not anticipated when the information was
originally collected and for which consent has typically not been obtained. Given how
inexpensive it is to keep data, there is little incentive to remove the information from the
cloud and more reasons to find other things to do with it. 4
Security issues, the need to segregate data when dealing with providers that serve multiple
customers, potential secondary uses of the data—these are areas that organizations should
keep in mind when considering a cloud provider and when negotiating contracts or
reviewing terms of service with a cloud provider. Given that the organization transferring
this information to the provider is ultimately accountable for its protection, it needs to
ensure that the personal information is appropriate handled.
The following are some ofthe possible benefits for those who offer cloud computing-based services and applications:
• Cost Savings — Companies can reduce their capital expenditures and use operational expenditures for increasing
computing capabilities.This is a lower barrier to entry and also requires fewer in-house ITresources to provide
• Scalability/Flexibility — Companies can startwith a small deploymentand grow to a large deploymentfairly
rapidly, and then
scale back if necessary.Also, the flexibility of cloud computing allows companies to use extra resources atpeak
them to satisfy consumer demands.
• Reliability — Services using multiple redundantsites can supportbusiness continuityand disaster recovery.
• Maintenance — Cloud service providers do the system maintenance,and access is through APIs that do not
installations onto PCs,thus further reducing maintenance requirements.
• Mobile Accessible — Mobile workers have increased productivitydue to systems accessible in an infrastructure
The following are some ofthe notable challenges associated with cloud computing,and although some ofthese may
slowdown when delivering more services in the cloud,mostalso can provide opportunities,ifresolved with due care
in the planning stages.
• Security and Privacy — Perhaps two of the more “hotbutton” issues surrounding cloud computing relate to storing
securing data,and monitoring the use of the cloud by the service providers.These issues are generallyattributed to
the deploymentof cloud services.These challenges can be addressed,for example,by storing the information
internal to the
organization,but allowing itto be used in the cloud. For this to occur, though, the security mechanisms between
and the cloud need to be robustand a Hybrid cloud could support such a deployment.
• Lack of Standards — Clouds have documented interfaces;however,no standards are associated with these,and
thus it is
unlikelythat mostclouds will be interoperable.The Open Grid Forum is developing an Open Cloud Computing
resolve this issue and the Open Cloud Consortium is working on cloud computing standards and practices.The
these groups will need to mature,but it is not known whether they will address the needs ofthe people deploying the
and the specific interfaces these services need.However,keeping up to date on the latest standards as theyevolve
them to be leveraged,if applicable.
• Continuously Evolving — User requirements are continuouslyevolving, as are the requirements for interfaces,
storage.This means thata “cloud,” especiallya public one,does not remain static and is also continuouslyevolving.
• Compliance Concerns — The Sarbanes-OxleyAct (SOX) in the US and Data Protection directives in the EU are
many compliance issues affecting cloud computing,based on the type of data and application for which the cloud is
used.The EU has a legislative backing for data protection across all member states,butin the US data protection is
and can vary from state to state. As with security and privacy mentioned previously,these typically resultin Hybrid
deploymentwith one cloud storing the data internal to the organization.
What are the drawbacks of cloud computing?
Clouds pose more than just legal problems; there are technical ones, too, according to Bob
Laliberte, analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group.
"We say about virtualization that it's hard to manage an environment where your applications are
playing hide and seek and your hardware is lying to you," Laliberte says. "It's even more with clouds.
You're having to try to manage someone else's hardware that's lying to you."
There is no single "cloud" involved in cloud computing, Laliberte says. All the SaaS and
infrastructure-services providers use different technology and different standards, meaning every
vendor relationship will be different. You can't just tool up one application or business process for
"the cloud" and be ready to go.
You also can't just move applications to the cloud and expect them to run, even with the best
virtualization technology, according to James Staten, data-center analyst for Forrester Research.
To move any significant corporate processing into a cloud environment requires at least the same
amount of work IT would have to do to move the same workload from its existing servers to new
virtual or physical servers, including reconfiguring connections to network and storage resources,
Keeping track of what happens after the workloads move often means using a completely different
set of management applications that integrate imperfectly, if at all, with a company's existing
management applications, Laliberte says. IBM, HP, BMC and other data-center systems-
management vendors are adding cloud-management functions as quickly as possible in order to try
to appeal to customers who have never dealt with them before, Laliberte says.
"A lot of CIOs are interested in internal clouds, but they're leery of the performance issues and
security inherent in the cloud environment," he says.
Virtualization leader VMware is also leaping into clouds, basing much of its technology strategy on
the idea that companies should be able to virtualize all their IT assets into "internal clouds" that will
interoperate seamlessly with external clouds also based on VMware virtualization software.
Both that capability and customers' willingness to go along with it are still in question, Wolf and
The best use of clouds would be to be able to move specific workloads from internal servers to a
cloud provider when you expect a spike in demand, take advantage of the cloud provider's additional
capacity, move it back when the rush is over and pay only for the resources you used, Staten says.
"We're a long way from being able to do that," Staten says. (See Busting the Nine Myths of Cloud
CIOs on the leading edge of cloud adoption say using an external cloud can make sense, but that
metrics and strict controls are even more important in a cloud environment than in a normal internal
IT environment, specifically because there are so few controls inherent in cloud-computing
relationships. They recommend this checklist of issues to go through before deciding whether
and why to use cloud services, which to use, and how. Though the intent of cloud computing is
simple, the impact and mechanisms for delivery are often far more complex.
"There's a lot more to it than people often admit," Staten says.
Pros of Cloud Computing Model
• Quick deployment – add capacity or applications almost at a moment's notice.
• Metered cost – pay-as-you-go approach for storage, processing and applications means more
efficient use of IT spending.
• Little or no capital investment – costs don't stay on the books for years.
• Little or no maintenance cost – maintenance is all from a workstation or configuration screen. You
never have to go touch a physical server.
• Lower costs – Many customers use the same infrastructure, so the vendor is able to buy in bulk
and amortize costs over more customers, potentially lowering per-unit cost to each customer.
Cons of Cloud Computing Model
• Little or no capital investment – services don't depreciate over years as capital expenses do, so
there could be a tax disadvantage over time.
• Monitoring and maintenance tools are not mature yet – visibility into the cloud is limited, despite
recent announcements by BMC, CA, Novell and others that they're modifying their data-center
management applications to provide better control over data in Amazon's EC2 and other cloud
• Immature standards – groups such as the Distributed Management Task Force, theCloud Security
Alliance and the Open Cloud Consortium are developing standards for interoperable management,
data migration, security and other functions, but real standards at the quality levels corporate IT
requires are still a couple of years away, most analysts agree.
6. Merits & Demerits:
Cloud enabler technologies like utility computing, Grid Computing, RTI, web infrastructure and
others are cloud enabled.
1. Infrastructure service providers are taking advantage of the Cloud services.
2. Information services, entertainment-oriented services such as video on demand, simple business
services such as customer authentication or identity management and contextual services such as
location or mapping services are positioned well by using the service.
3. Other services, such as corporate processes (for example, billing, deduction management and
mortgage calculation) and transactional services (for example, fiscal transactions), would take longer
to reach the cloud and the mainstream.
4. Cloud computing infrastructures allows efficient use of their IT hardware and software
5. A cloud infrastructure can be a cost efficient model for delivering information services, reducing
IT management complexity.
6. The Cloud makes it possible to launch Web 2.0 applications quickly and to scale up applications as
much as needed when needed.
Stored data might not be secure: With cloud computing, all our data is stored on the cloud. The
unauthorized users gain access to our confidential data.
Dependent on internet connection:Internet connectivity isn’t completely stable and reliable.
It’s not platform agnostic:Most clouds force participants to rely on a single platform or host only one
type of product.
Can be slow:Even on a fast connection,web based application scan sometimes be slower than
accessing a similar software program on our desktop PC
Risks of Cloud Computing Model
• Data mobility – Most SaaS or cloud vendors have some ability for customers to download and
store data, but the cost of using someone else's application is often that you can't get all your data
out of it in a way that's usable in a different vendor's software.
• Privacy – Most cloud contracts include privacy language that promises a customer's data is secure
and private. But with cloud-monitoring and management software still in its infancy, a customer's
ability to know for sure who's looking at what data — especially who within their own organizations is
using it — is limited.
• Service levels – Cloud computing isn't entirely one-size-fits-all; there is some ability to customize
the applications and services each customer gets. But the ability to tailor service-level requirements
to the specific needs of a business is far less than with internal data centers where IT's whole
purpose is to further the company's business goals.
• Interoperability – The highly-customized internal applications that many companies rely on most
heavily are often incompatible with generic IT infrastructures available within the cloud. That may be
fine with many companies, which would prefer to use only relatively generic applications outside
their own firewalls.
To summarize, the cloud provides many options for the everyday computer user as well as large and
small businesses. It opens up the world of computing to a broader range of uses and increases the
ease of use by giving access through any internet connection. However, with this increased ease also
come drawbacks. You have less control over who has access to your information and little to no
knowledge of where it is stored. You also must be aware of the security risks of having data stored
on the cloud. The cloud is a big target for malicious individuals and may have disadvantages because
it can be accessed through an unsecured internet connection.
If you are considering using the cloud, be certain that you identify what information you will be
putting out in the cloud, who will have access to that information, and what you will need to make
sure it is protected. Additionally, know your options in terms of what type of cloud will be best for
your needs, what type of provider will be most useful to you, and what the reputation and
responsibilities of the providers you are considering are before you sign up.
―Cloud‖ computing builds on decades of research in virtualization, distributed computing, utility
computing, and more recently networking, web and software services. It implies a service oriented
architecture, reduced information technology overhead for the end-user, great flexibility, reduced
total cost of ownership, ondemand services and many other things.
In today's global competitive market, companies must innovate and get the most from its resources to
succeed. Cloud computing infrastructures are next generation platforms that can provide tremendous
value to companies of any size. They can help companies achieve more efficient use of their IT
hardware and software investments and provide a means to accelerate the adoption of
innovations.Cloud computing increases profitability by improving resource utilization. Costs are
driven down by delivering appropriate resources only for the time those resources are needed. Cloud
computing has enabled teams and organizations to streamline lengthy procurement processes.
Cloud computing enables innovation by alleviating the need of innovators to find resources to
develop, test, and make their innovations available to the user community. Innovators are free to
focus on the innovation rather than the logistics of finding and managing resources that enable the