Cloud computing[1]


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Cloud computing[1]

  1. 1. ABSTRACT If you are even a basic computer user, it is likelythat you have already used some form of cloudcomputing service. Any entirely online serviceyou use, be it e-mail, fi le storage or sharing, or even media streaming, uses cloud computing technology.If you have used any service that doesn’t requireyou to download and install specifi c software orstore any data locally, you have used the cloud. Cloud computing allows you to keep your PCand all of your mobile devices in sync all the time.You can access all of your personal data at anygiven moment, you can organize and collect datafrom any online source, and you can even share photos, videos, music, contacts, e-mail, documents,etc. with your friends, family, and coworkers in aninstant. In essence, personal cloud computing givesyou easy and quick access to all your data, making itinstantly accessible and mobile. Social networks, fi le sharing servers and Webaccessiblesoftware take advantage of resourcesprovided by cloud computing to give you a lightweightstructure for your personal computingneeds. Cloud services give you options to protectyour data with accessibility and privacy settingsfor your accounts, enabling you to store your life on a remote server without having to worry aboutstorage space constraints or software installations. YOUR PERSONAL CLOUD Storage space and processing power are the biggesthurdles that mobile devices like smartphones andtablets face today. Cloud computing has come to theforefront as it overcomes these hurdles, enablingyou to access and edit your fi les and fi les uploaded by other users without the need for excessive hardwareand support. Browser-based email and cloudservices such as Grooveshark, Facebook, Google Docs and Youtube have smartphone and tabletextensions, designed specifically to run on thelower hardware specifications of such devices.Operating systems of today like Android, Iosand Windows 7 are also made compatible withmobile devices and equipped with applications thatlet you sync and access data across devices via theircloud servers. Apart from storage, developers havealso used cloud computing capabilities to developSoftware as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service(PaaS) and Webtop services to make your computingexperience completely mobile. SOFTWARE AS A SERVICE (SAAS) Web accessible software enables users to use programsor applications without having to downloador install them on their machines. You can accessdata hosted by companies on their cloud serversfor almost any task, like word processing, designingor even media editing. This
  2. 2. enables users tocarry out their work without having to purchasesoftware that can be installed and run only on asingle machine. You no longer need to worry aboutexpiration dates, downloading updates or installingsoftware on multiple machines. SaaS reduces theuser’s expenses by allowing you to ‘rent’ a serviceand use only specifi c features rather than buyingcomplete packages of programs, some of which youmight not use. For instance, to use Microsoft Word, a user must purchase the Microsoft Officeauite,which gives you Word bundled with Excel, Powerpoint,etc. These packages can be fairly expensive.Instead, you can use a SaaS product that allows youto sign up for free or a monthly fee and lets youperform your word processing tasks without any installations on your machine’s local drive. UTILITY COMPUTING Utility computing is a form of cloud computing thatis more robust at an enterprise level. Large companiescan ‘rent out’ their hardware support via thecloud to clients based on their requirements, maximizingthe utility of the host server and reducingthe costs to the client. Companies like, Microsoft and Sun offer storage and virtualservers to clients for their computing needs usingthe cloud. This drastically reduces the investmentrequired for small scale businesses as they no longerneed to purchase hardware. Instead, they payonly for what they need and utilize the computingstrength of the host via the cloud. PLATFORM AS A SERVICE (PAAS) PaaS is a form of SaaS that provides developmentenvironments as a service. Rather than designingsoftware for the customers to use, companiesprovide clients with the infrastructure required to design and run software specifi c to their needs. Clientscan then use this infrastructure and developsoftware applications for their use that run on thehost’s cloud servers. This form of cloud computinggives the clients the freedom to develop softwareto suit their requirements without having to worryabout the hardware. PaaS provides clients withfacilities for designing and developing applications,hosting their applications as well as hardware forscalability and storage. ONLINE STORAGE Online storage allows users to upload fi les andinformation to cloud servers so that the data canbe accessed from multiple machines remotely, aslong as they have access to the Internet. Onlinestorage has grown rapidly in recent times dueto the increased speeds in data transfer andimproved security for protecting this data.
  3. 3. The service is very useful for usersrestrictedby lack of storage space or users that wish toaccess their data from multiple machines oron-the-go. Using cloud storage services canalso be beneficial as a backup for locally saveddata in the event that your local drive is ompromisedby viral infection, online threats orphysical damage. There are several services tochoose from, ranging in size of storage spaceand you can also use paid services for greaterstorage space and better security. Some storageservices also enable you to sync data across devices so that fi les added to one device are automaticallyuploaded to the cloud, and in some cases, evendownloaded to other synced machines. THE CLOUD ARCHITECTURE The cloud computing system can be divided intotwo distinct sections. At the front end, there is theuser, who can access the cloud server and includestheir machine and any application required to access the cloud. The back end is the hardwarethat makes up the cloud, which includes computers,servers and data storage systems that can beaccessed by the users. Cloud systems use middleware, which is software that communicates with various users connected to a single cloud server. Itmonitors the system, managing traffi c and clientdemands to ensure that everything runs smoothlyand efficiently. THE CLOUD ADVANTAGE The advantages of cloud computing are fairly obvious.Users have access to their applications anddata from anywhere at any time and they canaccess their information from multiple machines;their data and software is no longer confined toa single machine. Cloud computing also bringsdown hardware costs, as users no longer need topurchase the fastest computers with high end configurations. The cloud system handles the load foryou. Essentially, all you need is a basic computer,input devices and an Internet connection to accessthe cloud services. Cloud storage enables users tocreate backups of their data so if their machinescrash, they no longer need to worry about dataloss. Cloud servers can sometimes be a safer optionfor protecting your data from viral infection ordamage due to the vast amount of online threatsand viruses circulating on the Internet. THE CLOUD CONCERNS The biggest concerns about cloud computing aresecurity and privacy. Users might not be comfortablehanding over their data to a third party. Thisis an even greater concern when it comes to companiesthat wish to keep their sensitive informationon cloud servers. While most service vendorswould ensure that their servers are kept free fromviral infection and malware, it is still a concernconsidering the fact that a number
  4. 4. of users around the world are accessing the server. Privacyis another issue with cloud servers. Ensuring thata client’s data is not ccessed by any unauthorizedusers is of greatimportance for any cloud service.To make their servers more secure, cloud servicevendors have developed password protectedaccounts, security servers through which all databeing transferred must pass and data encryption.techniques. After all, the success of a cloud service depends on its reputation, and any sign of a securitybreach would result in a loss of clients andbusiness. THEECOLOGICAL IMPACTGREEN CLOUD: FACT OR FICTION? Cloud computing is growing at a rapid pace,as it’s increasingly being adopted by largebusinesses, mid-sized businesses, as well asSOHOs. Moving to the cloud proves to be a viableoption for fi rms as it dramatically cuts downhardware and software expenditure. Accordingto a report by consulting fi rmZinnov, the marketfor cloud computing in India is expected to grownearly ten times to $1,084 million by 2015 fromthe current $110 million. While all seems hunky dory, there are growing concerns that the cloudcomputing trend is actually hazardous to theenvironment, as it will lead to an increase in carbonemissions. WHAT MAKES CLOUD COMPUTING ‘GREEN’? There are many factors that are said to makecould computing green both at the enterprise aswell as the consumer level. GREEN CLOUD: CLOUD AND ENTERPRISE Consider the traditional scenario, where everyfi rm invests in setting up a server room, stafffor maintaining it, etc. Servers consume hugeamounts of energy not only for operation, butalso for cooling. These servers generate avastamount of heat during operation, which must bedissipated to keep the components within theirsafe operating temperatures. Overheated parts will reduce their life span, and can also causeproblems such as system crashes. So it becomesimperative to maintain a constant temperature tocool these servers. This is usually done with thehelp of air conditioning, which consumes evenmore energy. Even if the servers are not in use orare under utilized, the temperature needs to bemaintained, resulting in huge amounts of energyloss and added cost. The fi rms can minimize their cost as well asenergy consumption by opting for cloud comput-ing. Cloud offers scalability; you pay only for whatyou use and you can buy more space as requiredor you can even temporarily scale down usagewhen you experience a slump in business. Thus,
  5. 5. there is no unnecessary loss of energy. While it’strue that these huge data centers that operate ona large scale require massive amounts of electricity,the manufacturers of data centers are actively taking initiatives to minimize the impact on theenvironment.As a result of the growing green consciousness,the leading players in the industry aretaking efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.For instance, they are looking at places with temperaturesthat are ideal for naturally cooling datacenters. Dublin is fast emerging as a hub for datacenters owing to its geographic location and idealtemperatures. Cloud computing giants like Amazon,Microsoft, IBM and others have their datacenters here. These data centers have been designed in such a way that they can make maximum use offresh air to cool servers rather than completelydepending on other power consuming options.Secondly, the data center manufacturers alsomake use of innovative technology and alternate sources of energy to power these data centers. Forinstance, recently Google invested $168 millionin a solar energy power plant in California. Whenconstructed, it will be the largest solar thermalproject in the world. CLOUD AND CONSUMERS With rising concerns over global warming, we allwant to do our bit to reduce our carbon footprint.One way to do this is by adopting cloud computing.Cloud computing on portable devices likesmartphones, tablets or ultra low- powered laptopscould prove eco-friendly. According to, a PC runningfor an hour generates 40-80 grams of carbondioxide, while it consumes about 60-90% of normalworkload power even when idle. When workingon a PC or a laptop, we may engage in otheractivities like talking on the phone, or completing other tasks, which means the computer remainsidle for long hours, hence wasting energy. It’salso surprising to know that even power-savingmodes like ‘Sleep’ or ‘Standby’ can consume asmuch as 120 Watts of power. In comparison to atraditional PC or a laptop, portable computing devices consume less energy because they do notneed continuous power supply. They just need tobe charged once a day at most. Today, most peopledon’t really need a high end PC as their usage islimited to Web browsing, email, social networking,banking, watching videos, listening to music etc. All this can be easily achieved on asmartphone oron any of the portable devices that can be used forcloud computing. IS GREEN COMPUTING A MYTH? With next to zero data available about the datacenter practices and technologies used by themajor players in the cloud industry, there is alot of speculation. There is no data available toascertain the amount of energy consumed and thecarbon missions caused by these data centers.This is one of the major reasons why data centershave come under fi re from various environmentalagencies.Google is one of the fi rst companies to releasedetails of their data center. You can find detailslike the technology used, locations, practices,sustainability measures, etc. on their site undercorporate information. Recently, Facebook, whichis facing opposition from environmental organizationGreenpeace for the use of coal and nuclearenergy to power its massive data centers, released details of its data center practices. The same canbe found on the Facebook page
  6. 6. ‘Building EfficientData Centers with the Open Compute Project’.Other players in the industry need to follow theirlead and make this vital information public. Cloud computing in itself is a practical solutionfor the IT requirements of the future and somethingthat will only grow in the coming years. Thiswould mean setting up many more data centersand other facilities. The companies within this industry need to understand their responsibilitiesand their role towards safeguarding the environment.The need of the hour is to have an open dialogueand devise better technology to power data centers. One example of efficient power managementis that of the Academica data center in Helsinki,Finland. They use the water warmed while coolingthe servers to provide heat for homes in the city,which often experiences -20 degrees C temperaturesduring winter. What’s more, after the heathas been extracted, the water is again used to coolthe servers. Cloud Apps for YourMobile Device: Today’s mobile devices have been transformedby cloud services into highly versatilemobile computers. Developers havemade applications for mobile operating systemsthat exploit cloud servers and services to allowusers to compute on the go. The biggest obstacle for mobile devices is significantly lesser storagespace as compared to notebooks and desktops,which is a limiting factor if users wish to performthe same functions on their smartphone ortablet as they do on full blown computers. Cloudcomputing overcomes this obstacle by providing users with apps for storing, accessing and exchanging data through cloud servers, withoutburdening the local storage hardware. These appsallow users to store fi les on cloud servers into acommon account from multiple machines, allowing access to the fi les from any device. You canalso use features like fi le syncing, backups and fi lesharing with these applications. DROPBOX Dropbox is arguably the most favored fi le sharingand storage application for mobile devices. Thereis an application for every mobile operating system,which gives you access to the Dropbox cloudserver, allowing you to upload and access fi les in your Dropbox account from different machines.TheDropbox application also provides you with alink to each fi le in your account so that you canshare a specificfile with friends or co-workers. There are also features which enable you to uploadphotos and videos directly from your mobiledevice gallery without even running the applicationor visiting the website. There are options tosync data across devices and create backups on the cloud server as well. You can download andinstall the mobile application on your device forfree and with a free account, you get 2 GB of storagespace. A monthly fee of $9.99 gives you 50 GBof space, and at $19.99 per month, you get 100 GB.
  7. 7. Your Drop box homepage displays all your recent activity, including new files, deleted files and edits done from any of your machines. WEBSHARING WebSharing is a fi le transfer application designedspecifically for Android devices. The app allowsyou to transfer data between Android devicesand computers wirelessly via a cloud server. Web-Sharing uses the WebDAV protocol (Web- basedDistributed Authoring and Versioning) with whichusers can create new fi les, edit existing files andtransfer data between devices remotely. Another great feature of WebSharing is that it displaysyour cloud folder as a locally installed hard driveon all synced devices and machines. The free versionof the WebSharing app for Android does not allow you to transfer music, videos or photos andthe multiple fi le upload feature is unavailable. Thefull version of the app is available for $2.99 on theAndroid Market. ZUMODRIVE ZumoDrive is another cloud storage and file sharingapplication for a range of mobile operatingsystems like iOS, Android ans Windows Phone7, that creates a virtual drive on your machinethat is linked to your cloud account. The folderappears as a local hard drive on all synced devicesand your files are streamed to your device fromthe cloud server when you run them throughZumoDrive. A unique feature of ZumoDrive is thatit caches recently accessed fi les to your local driveso that some of your recently used fi les can be runeven when you do not have access to the Internet.The free account gives you 1 GB of storage and a$2.99-per-month account gives you 10 GB of storagespace. For even more space, you can sign upfor $79.99 per year and get 500 GB of space. The ZumoDrive app on the iPad gives you easy options to share, upload and download files to and from your ZumoDrive account. GE.TT is a fi le sharing service with a twist. Whileother services give long term storage space, Ge.ttprovides you with temporary storage space forsharing fi les rather than storing them. The serviceis quick and easy; you do not need to installany applications or sign up for an account. Simplygo to the Web address and upload your fi les. Youcan upload up to 2 GB of fi les and as soon as theupload begins, you are provided with a URL forsharing. The fi les remain on the cloud serverfor a limited period of 30 days, after which they
  8. 8. are discarded. The service is perfect for userswho wish to share fi les with friends or co-workerswithout having to worry about removing or deletingfiles and the only requirement is Internet. lets you start sharing files even before they have been completely uploaded, via a link or through social networking sites. PICKING THE RIGHTCLOUD SERVICE: There are various online storage services that offer different features. While some allow you to simply upload and download data, others allow you to view your fi les onlineand share them with others, and some serviceseven let you open and edit your fi les in the cloudfrom anywhere in the world. Here are 05 of the topcloud storage services. 1 AMAZON S3 Amazon Simple Storage Service or the Amazon S3is best suited for Webdevelopers and not for userswho are simply looking for a place to upload and store their fi les. The service offers up to 5 terabytesof space for development and maintenanceof websites. The server creates a unique key foreach developer, which is region specific. Currently, 2 AMAZON CLOUD DRIVE If you are not a developer and don’t want a paidservice; if you just want a virtual drive to storeyour videos, music, photos or documents, you canuse the Amazon Cloud Drive service. Your fi les canbe neatly classified in pre-existing folder structuresand the service offers 5 GB of free space.However, you cannot upload fi les that are over 2 GBin size. You can buy more space if required. It is anexcellent way to free up space on your system orif you want to share legitimately purchased mediafi les across machines. However, the built in musicplayer and video player that lets users streammedia online without downloading it to the localdrive is available only to US citizens for now. ESNIPS eSnips works similarly to 4shared, wherein you canstore a variety of fi le formats, including e-books,documents, archived fi les, images, audio and videoformats. You can also playback media fi les insteadof downloading them to your computer. However,it offers only 5 GB of storage space. You can connectto the website with
  9. 9. social media sites likeFacebook and Twitter, but there is no Android support as of now. 5 SAFESYNC Originally known as Humyo, the website is nowknown as SafeSync after it was taken over by Japanesesecurity company Trend Micro. While usersof the free services of Humyo can continue withthe original 10 GB of server space (5 GB for pictures,videos, and music, and 5 GB for other fi les).SafeSync offers a free one- month trial, but afterthat it’s a paidservice. 20 GB of storage space costs€29.95 (Rs 1,860), 50 GB space is priced at €69.95(Rs. 4,410) and 100 GB of space will cost you €110(Rs 6,930). The service promises strong securityand offers mobile device support. WINDOWS LIVE SKYDRIVE Windows Live SkyDrive, which was launchedas Windows Live Folders, offers the maximumamount of free storage space. You can mark fi les asprivate on the SkyDrive, which can be downloadedonly with a Windows Live ID. The SkyDrive offers25 GB of free personal storage, with a maximumof 50 MB per fi le. You can use tools like WindowsLive Mesh to drag and drop fi les onto the SkyDrivefrom your system directly. You can upload files toyour SkyDrive from mobile devices too. Moreover,you can also download all your fi les as a single zip archive for convenience. You can access all the Windows Live services including the MSN Messenger and Hotmail using a single user ID. CONCLUSION The future of computing points towardsa more cost-effective, user-oriented andflexible concept, which is that of cloudcomputing. Business houses are rapidly adapting cloud infrastructure as it offers them unparalleled flexibility, scalability, accessibility, and security and it also proves to be more cost-effective thenhaving to manage in-house servers.According to a worldwide survey by Gartner, cloud computing services
  10. 10. consumed from external service providers (ESPs) are estimated to comprise 10.2 percent of the spending on externalIT services. Bob Igou, research director at Gartner, says, “The cloud market is evolving rapidly, with 39 percent of survey respondents worldwide indicating that they allocated IT budget to cloud computing as a key initiative for their organization. There is a shift in spending from traditional IT assets such as the data center assets and a move toward assets that are accessed in the cloud. These trends are good news for IT services providersthat have professional services geared towards implementing cloud environments and those that deliver cloud services. By this we can say cloud offers many new ways for fast and efficient computing. REFERENCES www.chipmagazinecom