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Cloud computing is a highlighted topic over past years. Cloud computing is a burgeoning business and concept having different meaning for different people. By implementing cloud computing, organization can redirect resources to more long-term strategic business development. It is a technology sitting in a remote data centre, accessible via the internet and uses central remote servers to maintain data and application. It allows users to use applications without installation and also to use their individual files at any computer with internet access.
There are three types of cloud:
Public cloud: A public cloud is multi-tenanted. It is accessible over the internet, usually over the public internet for general consumption. It is found beyond the firewall of an organization fully hosted and administered by vendors. (Murris,I., 2010)The public cloud service providers such as Amazon base their services on working at huge economies of scale and serving thousands of individuals and companies at a time. The cost for these services is low but there is little opportunity for real personalization or customization. It follows the idea of "pay as you go". Though it is effective and simpler still it does face some criticism, generally on security concern.
Private cloud: A private cloud is dedicated to single customer, where an organization set up their own data centres, which are surrounded by their own firewall and security. It is supervised by an enterprise and also includes the entire quality of public clouds but it takes care to the underlying IT infrastructure. Private cloud is more secure as they are internal to an organization.
Hybrid cloud: A hybrid cloud is the combining of public and private clouds for maximum agility, elasticity and security, at minimum cost. It has a unique characteristic, wrapped by standard technology.
The evolution of these technologies had helped drive the recent expansion of cloud services.
To work out what exactly cloud can do, it's useful to look at its cloud services and that service is broken down into three layers:
Each layer serves a different purpose and offers different for individuals.
Application service or Software as a Service (SAAS): It delivers hosted online software application as a service over the internet and made available to customers, eradicating the need of installation and running the application on the customer's personal computers. By running the application over the internet from centralized servers, customers can cut some serious costs. Some of its benefits are as follows:
Automatic updates and management
Platform service or Platform as a service (PAAS): It is an outgrowth of Software as a Service. It is, in essence, enterprise-ready web space. It delivers a customizable computing platform, including the operating system as a service over the internet whereas reducing the cost and complication of buying and managing all the hardware and software needed. Some of its benefits are:
No more software upgrades
Infrastructure service or Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS): It delivers a computer infrastructure, an outsourced computing resource as a service in which the tools used to support operations, including storage, hardware, servers and networking components are outsources. The service provider owns it and responsible for maintaining and running it. The Clients typically pays in utility computing basis. Some of its benefits are:
Introduce new services more quickly
Reduce operating cost
Increased productivity in IT
Opening of new markets
Benefits and Limitations of Cloud Computing
Even with a significant amount of hype and huge discussions around the value that it can offer, it is revealed that cloud computing still remains a nebulous term for many. The market for cloud computing is still very much in development. What the cloud model offers at a high level is increased IT resourcing agility and cost savings, including a shift from capital expense to operating costs. The real benefit that any business or organization can get from cloud are as follows:
It can provide a business access to high performance data centres and networks, which equals high availability of computing power.
In the instance of physical hardware failure, the virtual server will not experience downtime. This means any businesses don't have to double up on servers to limit single points of failure.
It allows business to scale computing requirements up and down readily.
As there is less maintenance and administration the team can focus on developing the business
Users can access the cloud services at anytime time, from anyplace of the world where there is an internet access.
An operational cost is much lowers as third-party handles the maintenance and is spread over the total platform. In outcome, the end of maintenance cost and lower power bills.
Organizations will pay what they have use rather than paying for an under-utilized IT system.
The technology of cloud computing sound very attractive but there are still gaps in the road that need to be addressed in order for enterprises to be comfortable with handing over the data to an outside provider. These are broadly security, compliance and control. It has been revealed that the number one barrier for business evaluating the cloud is security. For instance how the cloud service provider ensures that its offering is protected against attacks from hackers or other unauthorized access attempts. (Murris,I., 2010)
Like any other technologies, cloud has also got some of its limitations. Below are some of the main pitfalls:
If things goes wrong, finding the root cause is a complicated task
Completely depending upon the network for access and application performance makes it essential to find a cloud provider that has well idea and knowledge in networking and IT security.
Need to spend more on bandwidth and quality of service due to the remote access nature of cloud.
Due to data floating in a public there will be more threat in security.
There are varieties of rumors floating around for the cloud computing. (Anon, 2009) Suddenly, all ringers, gurus and experts are clamoring for cloud computing. Articles are appearing in respectable publication weighing the pros and cons. So, cloud computing is sounding more like a lobby than a trend. It can expose a confidential data to corrupt elements.
Moreover, It might also have some effect in environment as there was a news report from Greenpeace that the increase in cloud computing will be accompanied by a sharp rise in greenhouse emissions. They also stated that with the increase of the cloud, however, comes an increasing demand for energy (Niccolai, J., 2010).
However, cloud computing is the technology which not only provide service to users but also reduce the number of hardware and uses less energy which means releases significantly less carbon than running the same business application on their own infrastructure. (Microsoft Environement, n.d.) Recently, Microsoft has commissioned a study conducted by Accenture and WSP about the environmental benefit of cloud computing. Where they demonstrate cloud computing has the potential to operate business application more proficiently with a lower environmental impact.
Furthermore, there's been an issue from many years about the data getting leak since companies started to send information on the internet. (Tse, V., 2011) Henrik Thernlunk, the agency's security protection director also stated that " Data leaking been a problem for many years, but it will be an increased problem because of the numbers of users using cloud computing,"
Likewise, there are also some users who believed that there isn't any technology called cloud computing. For instance, in MIT Emerging Technology Conference Larry Ellison declared that there isn't any cloud computing but instead its only a latest fashion as computer industry is more fashion-driven than women's fashion. (Farber, D., 2008) He also said that "The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we've redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do. We'll make cloud computing announcements. I'm not going to fight this thing. But I don't understand what we would do differently in the light of cloud."
On the other hand, there are many reports where it has been manifested that cloud computing is the latest and most reliable, plus benefit able technologies to adopt for the business. For instance, (Boyd, S., 2009) Roland Judus announced that Larry Ellison is wrong. Real cloud computing is not only about databases, CPU, desktop, hardware but instead it's a dynamic, demand driven, virtualized computing.
It was manifested that the number one barrier for the business evaluating the cloud is security, while the cloud is subject to this topic; it is not the first method for service provision that is covered by this issue. Earlier IT outsourcing relationships are also faced these demands and they have been met by external providers who understand the legal implications that exist, and act to alleviate them. Therefore, in order to develop further, cloud computing need to prove that it can meet its promises in a secure and well-governed way.
Cloud computing does not only enclose security issues but instead it has some top security benefits. (Enisa, 2009)Some of them are as follows:
While deploying the security measures on a larger scale it's always cheaper. So, the same investment in security covers better protection and this includes filtering, hardening of virtual machine instances and hypervisors etc.
Big service providers can supply a standardized, open interface to supervised security services provided by a provider, it creates flexible and readily available security practices.
Cloud computing offers dedicated, pay-per-use forensic images of virtual machine and that can be access without taking infrastructure off-line, which leads to less down-time for forensic analysis.
Updates can be passed out for several times more rapidly across a homogenous platform than as in traditional systems which rely on the patching model
The benefits of cloud however don't just end at reduced IT through more proficient use of capital investment but also include the centralization of corporate IT policy. Companies can more strictly enforce IT single hardware location through server consolidation that exactly specifies what hardware and software resources are available to users.
Every technologies has its own pitfalls and its characteristic, cloud computing has its own. Hence the most important factor for being successful in cloud project is adopting the service from a right cloud provider which had good references and proof of managing successful migration projects. Besides that, organization should pay special concern on SLA (Service Level Agreement). It should give surety of all the services that they agreed on to provide. Before migrating to clouds, business should consider some of the steps to successfully experience the latest innovation in cloud computing. Some of them are as follows:
Investigate the types of cloud that the business needed
Select a cloud provider who have a solid business model in a place with a dedicated team of highly trained support and which can deliver high service level
Be clear about the risk and create complete compliance plan.
Know who is responsible when things occur.
SLA with a guarantee of the services
Encrypting sensitive data and managing keys properly is very important
Collaborating on threats and issues in the cloud is critical for security and trust
Do not under-estimate the importance of network infrastructure security
Be clear on how flexible and scalable the offering is
Check out the service provider resiliency and data security credentials
Considering all the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing, in my opinion cloud computing is the most profitable and efficient technology to adopt by any business. But security, compliance and control should be addressed before enterprises can be comfortable handling over their data to an outside provider. Cloud computing covers different approaches, from individual to full business processes and services. This mixture of varieties technologies and methods for delivering applications to user's means that organization should think carefully about how to choose the right approach for them and their users.
In cloud, all the services such as hardware, software and information are delivered to users much in the same way that electricity is fed to appliances in a house and industry. The electricity analogy is a good one because in the same way that a household can save a considerable amount of money by using power more proficiently, the driving force behind the uptake of cloud is that businesses can reduce the costs by utilizing their hardware, software and information more efficiently. Recently, clouds are considered by most businesses to a great extent. In conclusion, due to its facility of getting every data processes in the cloud online, business will enjoy mobility without being held down to a single application.