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What is "the cloud"?

Slides of the course on big data by C. Levallois from EMLYON Business School. For business students. Check the online video connected with these slides. -> Definition of the cloud and explanation of its relevance for business. Definitions of the SaaS and PaaS models.

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MK99 – Big Data 1
Big data
&
cross-platform analytics
MOOC lectures Pr. Clement Levallois
MK99 – Big Data 2
Focus on the “cloud”
• Frequently mentioned in relation to big data
• Vague definitions available and inflated talks
• This short video will clarify it.
MK99 – Big Data 3
• Note on the terminology:
– “computers” are called “servers” when they are just used
for computing / processing / storing data
– They have no screen, no mouse and no keyboard because
that’s not needed.
– But they are basically computers!
MK99 – Big Data 4
The “cloud”
• Expression made popular by Amazon with their service “Amazon Elastic
Compute Cloud” launched in 2006.
• Simply means:
– you can rent servers owned by Amazon, at a distance, when you need them,
for a duration that you choose.
– You don’t need to know the technical details of these servers (how they are
plugged, how they are configured…)
– You are just given access to them (login + password, roughly) and you can start
using them for your needs.
MK99 – Big Data 5
Why is the “cloud” popular?
• Without the cloud
– You make a market study for which server to buy
– Get the approval by your finance department to
buy it (that’s a fixed asset!)
– Wait for the server to ship
– Install it and configure it
– Maintain it (security, etc.)
– When the job is over: what do you do with your
server? That’s a sunk cost.
– If the job happens to need more computing
capacity than your server offers: you are stuck
with your too-small-server!
• With the cloud
– On Amazon’ website, you click to choose a
server among those on offer
– You run your job on it
– When your job is over, you stop the server with a
click and pay the bill.
– If the job happens to need more computing
capacity, you switch to a bigger server with a
single click – or it can be done for you
automatically.
Note: I take Amazon as an example, but you have many
other providers of cloud computing: Google, Oracle, etc.
MK99 – Big Data 6
Cloud computing, PaaS, SaaS…
• The slide before illustrated “computing in the cloud” or “cloud computing”.
• But you could use the same principle (renting servers at a distance) to do other stuff than
just pure number crunching!
– To use software: you don’t install the software in your company, you just connect to it through a
web browser and pay only for the time and scale on which you use it.
This is called “Software as a service” or SaaS. Example: Google Docs.
– To compute, but also store your data, handle your statistics, manage the payments by users, etc.:
this bundle of services is commonly called a “platform”. Your rent this platform as a service, for
the duration and scale that you need.
This model is called “Platform as a service” or PaaS. Example: Adobe Creative Cloud.
Note: the distinction between PaaS or SaaS is blurry. For example, SalesForce provides a CRM “in the
cloud” (meaning, “that you rent at a distance”). You could argue this is a PaaS or a SaaS.

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What is "the cloud"?

  • 1. MK99 – Big Data 1 Big data & cross-platform analytics MOOC lectures Pr. Clement Levallois
  • 2. MK99 – Big Data 2 Focus on the “cloud” • Frequently mentioned in relation to big data • Vague definitions available and inflated talks • This short video will clarify it.
  • 3. MK99 – Big Data 3 • Note on the terminology: – “computers” are called “servers” when they are just used for computing / processing / storing data – They have no screen, no mouse and no keyboard because that’s not needed. – But they are basically computers!
  • 4. MK99 – Big Data 4 The “cloud” • Expression made popular by Amazon with their service “Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud” launched in 2006. • Simply means: – you can rent servers owned by Amazon, at a distance, when you need them, for a duration that you choose. – You don’t need to know the technical details of these servers (how they are plugged, how they are configured…) – You are just given access to them (login + password, roughly) and you can start using them for your needs.
  • 5. MK99 – Big Data 5 Why is the “cloud” popular? • Without the cloud – You make a market study for which server to buy – Get the approval by your finance department to buy it (that’s a fixed asset!) – Wait for the server to ship – Install it and configure it – Maintain it (security, etc.) – When the job is over: what do you do with your server? That’s a sunk cost. – If the job happens to need more computing capacity than your server offers: you are stuck with your too-small-server! • With the cloud – On Amazon’ website, you click to choose a server among those on offer – You run your job on it – When your job is over, you stop the server with a click and pay the bill. – If the job happens to need more computing capacity, you switch to a bigger server with a single click – or it can be done for you automatically. Note: I take Amazon as an example, but you have many other providers of cloud computing: Google, Oracle, etc.
  • 6. MK99 – Big Data 6 Cloud computing, PaaS, SaaS… • The slide before illustrated “computing in the cloud” or “cloud computing”. • But you could use the same principle (renting servers at a distance) to do other stuff than just pure number crunching! – To use software: you don’t install the software in your company, you just connect to it through a web browser and pay only for the time and scale on which you use it. This is called “Software as a service” or SaaS. Example: Google Docs. – To compute, but also store your data, handle your statistics, manage the payments by users, etc.: this bundle of services is commonly called a “platform”. Your rent this platform as a service, for the duration and scale that you need. This model is called “Platform as a service” or PaaS. Example: Adobe Creative Cloud. Note: the distinction between PaaS or SaaS is blurry. For example, SalesForce provides a CRM “in the cloud” (meaning, “that you rent at a distance”). You could argue this is a PaaS or a SaaS.
  • 7. MK99 – Big Data 7 Why is the “cloud” interesting from a business point of view? 1. Reduced costs and increased speed to develop data-intensive products and services, such as a web app. -> Because you don’t need to buy IT infrastructure, just rent what you need! 2. Interesting business model: if you develop an application, you can bring it to the market through a “SaaS” model. -> No installation required by the customers, they just go on the web to access your app. Monthly billing, easier to sell than perpetual licenses. Universally available. Piracy is easier to control. Examples: HootSuite, Spotify, Netflix, Google Business Apps, Steam, SalesForce, Adobe Creative Cloud, Canvas by Instructure, etc. Check also “Tilkee”, a startup founded in Lyon on a SaaS model.