The concept of cloud itself is one of those things that certainly get lot of hype, but no matter how one looks at it, the fact remains that it’s been used on greater and greater numbers and is becoming a more important topic for people to understand and with that certainty, the security aspect of it also playing an important role. Including what does that means and how do people deal with it, is the topic that people have talked about. Yet, it’s still confusing for some and there is lot of uncertainty in this space.
Industry spend a few months, rustling over exactly how do we describe this ‘thing’ in a distinct way, specially to those people who have not been thinking about it. So, the numbers of definitions that exist are many and varied, yet the way one could look at this is, “Cloud Computing is not necessarily about ‘What’, it’s more about ‘how we do things’”. There is no need of new technology when it comes to cloud computing, as essentially most of it is existing technologies just ‘re-mixed’ and a real change in terms of, how consumers acquire that technology , how its provisioned in kind of internally, how it’s used and whether or not the consumer actually owns the computing technology that they are accessing. Also a great deal of what cloud is, was really kind of signaled and opened up from a market perspective by ‘Virtualization’ and the concept of abstracting applications from the physical infrastructure, really giving a hand to the enterprise understanding and opening their eyes, as well as bunch of vendors to be fair as to what the cloud can do. So ‘VMware’ clearly had an impact on the market and far another aspect of internet services that come from the consumer world have also kind of signaled the new model of computing and clearly Google has got the market and demonstrating what you can do with the scalable highly efficient infrastructure used to serve in and all of your application over the wire.
So, we could pile it up as there’s not much of work included yet, there are some new technologies specially around provisioning, scaling and measuring aspects of computing but the reality is we are changing a lot of ‘how people use computing’ and that’s a great way to think about cloud computing.
Another way to view Cloud is to think of the Spectrum. Many times its seen, lots of people querying around ‘how would they define Infrastructure as a Service’ (IaaS), ‘Platform as a Service’ (PaaS) & ‘Software as a Service’ (Saas)’ and as seen in today’s time they have just too many of ‘as a service’ acronyms, one of them being ‘XaaS’ which indicates ‘Everything as a service’. The best way to think about some of these things, or ways to identify what are you dealing with or making out which bucket it fits into, is to really look which layer of computing stack you are abstracting. Infrastructure guys (i.e. Infrastructure as a Service) really focus on core computing infrastructural level technologies. So looking at Amazon’s AWS, EC2 and S3, they are really taking a server and making that server into an abstracted entity that you can access over the wire as well as the disk drives. So, they are completely going after the compute ware and there are companies like ‘Gogrid’ who is doing the same thing lying within the Microsoft framework. We can see many other firms coming up into this category such as Linode, Rackspace etc. When we move up to ‘Platform as a Service’ , one is really making the decision of application framework, that one is looking at and actually people need to understand this, that when they approach ‘Platform as a Service’, they are making a very strategic decision about how they are going to architect whatever application they are going to run and if they make the choice to give it a ‘Force.com’ or ‘Azure’ or ‘AppEngine’ or an ‘Engine Yard’ it’s known they are really getting married to this platform. So, in a way we could call ‘Platform as a Service’ as one of the most interesting areas of cloud computing market. And the last area ‘Software as a Service’, clearly shows what these guys are bringing in, is that layer of business logic on top of the application framework, are really driving business values. It signifies that it really speaks to the fact that, this is where the translation of computing into value for the business occurs and that’s why tremendous action is seen with lot of excess marketplace. Moreover, if one lookup the startups as well some established players playing, the growth of this marketplace is pretty significant.
# This published post can also be viewed here.
[+] This post is a part of my ongoing research paper on ‘Cloud Computing: Privacy & Security’.