Executive Summary
A common understanding of “cloud computing” is continuously evolving, and the terminology and
concepts u...
• Microsoft — Has Microsoft® Sharepoint® online service thatallows for content and business intelligence tools to be
The following definition of cloud computing has been developed by the U.S. National
Institute of Standards and Technology ...
in a blue moon. During the rest of the time, the other 4 servers will just sit there doing nothing.
Waste of resources.
technology infrastructure, purchase hardware, or buy software licences, the benefits are low
up-front costs, rapid return ...
installations onto PCs,thus further reducing maintenance requirements.
• Mobile Accessible — Mobile workers have increased...
vendor relationship will be different. You can't just tool up one application or business process for
"the cloud" and be r...
• Quick deployment – add capacity or applications almost at a moment's notice.
• Metered cost – pay-as-you-go approach for...
Risks of Cloud Computing Model
• Data mobility – Most SaaS or cloud vendors have some ability for customers to download an...
Cloud computing enables innovation by alleviating the need of innovators to find resources to
develop, test, and make thei...
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Introduction to cloud computing


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Introduction to cloud computing

  1. 1. Executive Summary A common understanding of “cloud computing” is continuously evolving, and the terminology and concepts used to define it often need clarifying. Press coverage can be vague or may not fully capture the extent of what cloud computing entails or represents, sometimes reporting how companies are making their solutions available in the “cloud” or how “cloud computing” is the way forward, but not examining the characteristics, models, and services involved in understanding what cloud computing is and what it can become. This white paper introduces internet-based cloud computing, exploring the characteristics, service models, and deployment models in use today, as well as the benefits and challenges associated with cloud computing. Also discussed are the communications services in the cloud (including ways to access the cloud, such as web APIs and 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 available, including Web 2.0 APIs, media control interfaces, Java interfaces, and XML based interfaces, catering to a wide 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 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 applications. 2 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, document applications,text translations,maps,web analytics,and much more.
  2. 2. • Microsoft — Has Microsoft® Sharepoint® online service thatallows for content and business intelligence tools to be moved into 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 products provide developers with platforms to build customized cloud services.
  3. 3. 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 computing! • 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
  4. 4. 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. Service models 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
  5. 5. 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. Benefits 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 their computing capabilities.This is a lower barrier to entry and also requires fewer in-house ITresources to provide system support. • 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 times,enabling 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 require application
  6. 6. installations onto PCs,thus further reducing maintenance requirements. • Mobile Accessible — Mobile workers have increased productivitydue to systems accessible in an infrastructure available from anywhere. Challenges The following are some ofthe notable challenges associated with cloud computing,and although some ofthese may cause a slowdown when delivering more services in the cloud,mostalso can provide opportunities,ifresolved with due care and attention in the planning stages. • Security and Privacy — Perhaps two of the more “hotbutton” issues surrounding cloud computing relate to storing and securing data,and monitoring the use of the cloud by the service providers.These issues are generallyattributed to slowing 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 organization 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 Interface to resolve this issue and the Open Cloud Consortium is working on cloud computing standards and practices.The findings of these groups will need to mature,but it is not known whether they will address the needs ofthe people deploying the services and the specific interfaces these services need.However,keeping up to date on the latest standards as theyevolve will allow them to be leveraged,if applicable. • Continuously Evolving — User requirements are continuouslyevolving, as are the requirements for interfaces, networking,and 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 justtwo among many compliance issues affecting cloud computing,based on the type of data and application for which the cloud is being used.The EU has a legislative backing for data protection across all member states,butin the US data protection is different and can vary from state to state. As with security and privacy mentioned previously,these typically resultin Hybrid cloud 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
  7. 7. 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, Wolf says. 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 Laliberte agree. 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 Computing). 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
  8. 8. • 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 services. • 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: Merits: 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 investments 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. Demerits: 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
  9. 9. 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. Conclusions 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. 7.Conclusion ―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.
  10. 10. 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 innovation.