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Cloud Computing Trends

September 14, 2012publisherBusiness, Featured, Server HardwareComments Off on Cloud Computing Trends
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Cloud computing is the use of computing resources, both server hardware and software, that are delivered as a service over a network or the Internet. The name comes from the use of a cloud-shaped symbol as an abstraction to visualize the complex system of hardware and software infrastructure used for these systems. Cloud computing removes the use of individual work-station hardware and software, and entrusts remote services with a user’s data, software, and computation (“Cloud computing,” 2012). One of the main thrusts of cloud computing is that encompasses subscription-based services designed to extend IT’s existing reach. It enables an entity to increase or add IT capabilities without having to invest in new computer infrastructure, because the hardware and software are contained in the cloud (Knorr, Eric, and Gruman, Galen, April 7, 2008). (Read more in server racks).

A simplification of the hardware requirements include any number of virtualization hosts; i.e., computers set up to act as servers, linked to a private network and controlled via a management node in large Data Centers or small office Server Racks. This network of virtualization hosts is then connected to a public network/the Internet, forming the cloud that users then access for their computing services (ElasticStack.com, 2012).

Cloud computing data centers have many forms and shapes. Some of the types of services provided by these include the following:

SaaS

SaaS, or Software as a Service providers deliver a single application through browsers to any number of users via a multitenant architecture. The customer finds savings by not needing investment in servers or software licensing, while the service provider has just one app to maintain (Knorr, Eric, and Gruman, Galen, April 7, 2008).

An example of this is the BST Enterprise accounting system, which a company can subscribe to for all of its financial accounting needs. Employees log into the website from anywhere to record their timecards and expenses. Project managers use it to track project expenses. Accounting departments log in to service things such as invoicing and accounts payable.

Utility computing

Here, the data center offers storage and virtual servers that an IT department can access on demand. Utility computing is mainly used for supplemental, non-mission-critical needs. However, one day, it may replace parts of the datacenter. An example is Liquid Computing’s LiquidQ, which enables IT to stitch together memory, I/O, storage, and computational capacity as a virtualized resource pool available when needed over the network (Knorr, Eric, and Gruman, Galen, April 7, 2008).

Web services in the cloud

This form of cloud computing is closely related to SaaS. Here, web service providers offer application programming interfaces that enable Web users to access the application over the Internet, rather than needing full applications in-house. Providers of these services include ADP payroll processing, the U.S. Postal Service, and some credit card companies (Knorr, Eric, and Gruman, Galen, April 7, 2008).

Platform as a service

This is also a variation of SaaS. This form of cloud computing provides development environments as a service, with the subscribers building their own applications, which run on the provider’s infrastructure. The end product is delivered to users via the Internet from the host’s servers (Knorr, Eric, and Gruman, Galen, April 7, 2008).

Managed Service Providers

This is one of the earliest forms of cloud computing. Here, applications such as virus scanning for email, are exposed to IT, but not end-users. Other forms include anti-spam and desktop management services (Knorr, Eric, and Gruman, Galen, April 7, 2008).

Service commerce platforms

This is a hybrid combining SaaS and managed service providers. Here, the provider offers a service hub that users interact with. They are common where trading environments are used, where users order different services from a common platform, which then coordinates the service delivery within the specifications set by the user(Knorr, Eric, and Gruman, Galen, April 7, 2008).

Data Center Growth is Occurring Worldwide

Major growth in Internet service demands, along with growth in cloud computing is pushing major companies to expand or build new data centers around the world (increasing server rack sales). This expansion has been boosted by private equity firms and telecom company investments that have acquired established providers, with plans to expand/build these further. Google is expanding cloud computing data centers in the U.S., Ireland, Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Microsoft is expanding in the U.S. and Ireland. Facebook is expanding in the U.S. and IBM is expanding in China (SmartDataCollective.com, October 10, 2011).

In Summary

Today, cloud computing might be more accurately described as “sky computing,” with many isolated clouds of services which users must plug into individually. However, over the long-term as virtualization and service oriented architecture become more common, every enterprise could one day become just a node in the cloud (Knorr, Eric, and Gruman, Galen, April 7, 2008). Start-up marketing firm Surfing Expert has seen an increasing trend of new cloud companies being well funded launch in every major US market.

References

Cloud computing. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved September 12, 2012, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

ElasticStack.com. (2012). Cloud Computing Hardware Requirements. Retrieved from: http://www.elasticstack.com/cloud-platform/hardware-requirements

Knorr, Eric, and Gruman, Galen. (April 7, 2008). What cloud computing really means. Infoworld.com. Retrieved from: http://www.infoworld.com/d/cloud-computing/what-cloud-computing-really-means-031?page=0,0

SmartDataCollective.com. (October 10, 2011). Cloud Computing Prompts 2012 Data Center Expansion Plans. Retrieved from: http://smartdatacollective.com/onlinetech/41580/cloud-computing-prompts-2012-data-center-expansion-plans

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