Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Cloud Computing Revolution

The Web 2.0 revolution has gifted us with a lot of new concepts and cloud computing is one of them.

The term "Cloud Computing" comes from the use of a cloud image to represent the internet. We depend heavily on this 'cloud' for reliably sending and receiving data. There were data pipes, routers and servers and now there are services. Cloud computing encompasses the entire spectrum of delivering hosted services over the internet. These services are broadly classified into three categories:

Infrastructure-as-Service (IaaS) - E.g. Amazon
Platform-as-Service (PaaS) - E.g. Google Apps
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) - E.g. Web-based E-mails

A cloud service has three basic features that distinguish it from traditional hosting; it is sold on demand, it is elastic (the user can have as much or as little of the service he requires) and the service is fully managed by the provider (the user only needs a computer and an internet connection). The world was never been so virtual before.

A cloud can be private or public. A public cloud sells services to anyone on the internet (Amazon Web Services is the biggest public cloud provider). A private cloud on the other hand is a data center that supplies hosted services to a limited number of people. When a service provider uses public cloud services to create their private cloud, the result is called a virtual private cloud (or hosted clouds). Private or public, the goal is to provide easy and convenient access to computing resources and IT services.

A recent example of cloud computing I can think of is from the White House digital campaign. Obama administration wanted to host a virtual town hall meeting on the economy with plans to receive questions from people around the country through its website. But how would it manage all the questions asked by potentially hundreds of thousands of people?

Instead of forming a question box internally for its Web site, the White House media team used 'Moderator' - a service created by Google to broker internal meetings. The company built Moderator tool from two Google cloud services - Google App. Engine and Google Web Toolkit. This eliminated the effort of writing codes and saved hardware it would need to handle heavy traffic, since allocating too many servers would be wasteful and would cause the site to be sluggish and frustrate visitors.

Cloud computing has various applications across many industries, but the widely used ones are:

Collaboration Applications
Cloud Backup
Business Applications
Personal Productivity Applications
Web Applications/Web Serving

The goal of cloud computing is to use idle resources, validate the cost savings and obtain an insight of how to manage performance across a virtualized infrastructure. Chief companies providing cloud services are Amazon, Google, Microsoft,, AT&T and Enomaly.

One of the major advantages of cloud computing is that both small and medium sized business can instantly obtain the benefits. Accessibility to multiple data centers anywhere in the globe is another benefit. This also means that companies don't need to pay for hardware if they require additional services from the cloud computing service provide.

Last but not the least and according to me the most outstanding feature is that - it is more environmentally friendly. Moving applications to the cloud reduces energy costs for running and cooling hardware.

Virtualization is the key enable of the next revolution in the IT production; it is already sparking a new generation of companies, innovations and investments.
The author of this article represents a professional Web 2.0 Development and Web 2.0 Design company specialize in offering custom website design, web development & internet marketing solutions.