Cloud computing encompasses different computing technologies which enable the users to access and use advanced computing capabilities at small charges. Actually it is the state of the art utility computing. Includes virtual servers, platform-as-a-service, software-as-a service and hardware as a service. Cloud computing can be understood better when we focus on daily computing or information technology requirements. An example of such service is ensuring adequate computing capability without purchasing new information technology infrastructure such as hardware, software or servers. Most cloud computing services require the user to subscribe in order to access the services. The cloud computing comes for both cloud computing service providers and the clients or the users. The cloud service providers can able to fully utilize the massive computing infrastructure which they have invested in. On the other hand, the customers are able to access the state of the art computing facilities which cloud otherwise cost them a lot of money. This implies that any size of business organization is accommodated since the clients access the facility as per their ability to pay. Cloud storage is another crucial service that is offered by cloud service providers. Cloud storage is where the business organization hires a storage space from the cloud service providers. The following are the key cloud computing services.
Software as a service (SaaS)
This is the cloud computing type where applications are installed on the remote servers and then offered to the consumer as a service. A single instance of the application software is set to run in the cloud and serves multiple users or organizations. In the traditional software use, users would purchase the license and install them on their on-site servers. With cloud computing, the end-user will pay for the service as he uses it.
Platform as a service (PaaS)
The second type of cloud computing is the Platform as a service (PaaS). Most companies started by providing SaaS to the end-users. Most of these companies have also started developing platform services for the end-users. With PaaS, products are provided to enable applications to be deployed on the end-users. Platforms act as an interface to enable users to get access to applications which are provided by partners or by customers. Some of the big players in this cloud computing industry like Microsoft, Google and Amazon have provided platforms which include Windows Live for Microsoft, Apps Engine for Google and EC2 for Amazon. Providers like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have developed platforms which enable users to gain access to applications stored on centralized servers.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a service, the company outsources the computing infrastructure to another company which offers infrastructure as a service services. Mostly, the services which are outsourced are those which support the business operations such as servers, storage and networking components. The service providers invest heavily in the computing infrastructure therefore house, maintain and run them. The customer subscriber or pays in what is called per-user basis. This is where the service provider charges for the service which the client gets. Some of the key feature of infrastructure as a service includes: administrative tasks automation, desktop virtualization, dynamic scaling, internet connectivity and utility computing services. The service is called hardware as a service.
Benefits of cloud computing
Different groups of people perceived cloud computing in different manners. The perception if analyzed from the different perspective. The analysis of the benefits of cloud computing is based on media, consumers and the community at large. Generally, most people who have understood cloud computing has embraced it. The following are some of the benefits which accrue for cloud computing.
Secondly a business stands fewer chances of glitches upon cloud adoption. This is because services offered through cloud require few versions. Therefore there is less upgrades needed and it becomes easy to implement considering the fact it is the cloud providers who implement this. (Foster, Zhao & Raicu, 2008) Also considering the fact that most businesses incur problems in integrating software with other similar applications which makes it hard to share data, cloud enables user to integrate applications such as management systems, emails and office applications reducing cases of productivity glitches.
It has also been known that cloud promotes conservation of the environment. This is considering the fact that personal computers only utilize 10 to 20 percent of the capacity; this implies there is a large percentage in energy waste. Therefore by pooling resources in cloud based systems there is energy savings on the life extended by personal computers.
The use of cloud computing enhances a unique security concerns for consumers or tenants of a public cloud service. Cloud computing has the following benefits in rendering the desired security according to Laudon and Laudon (2009), it allows the accessing of many applications without necessarily having to download or installing any software, the applications themselves can be accessed from any system at any place in the universe, there is the reduction of hardware and software expenditure on the part of the user, since they can only use what they have.
The countries which have adopted cloud computing have realized massive economic benefits. This is in relation to the business growth. An organization stands fewer chances of glitches upon cloud adoption. This is because services offered through cloud require few versions. Therefore, there is less upgrades needed and it becomes easy to implement; considering the fact it is the cloud providers who implement this, considering the fact that most businesses incur problems in integrating software with other similar applications, which makes it hard to share data. Cloud enables user to integrate applications such as management systems, emails and office applications, reducing cases of productivity glitches (Buyya et al., 2009).
Research shows that cloud computing has been adopted by many organizations due to cost. According to the author, if the third-party comes up with their infrastructure, there are many opportunities that will be introduced, that will enable management to improve their income in regard to outgoings for customers and even the finance staff. Another financial benefit is that cash-flow management will be easy because the model that is presented by cloud computing has minimal cost and the monthly billing is also minimal. Another issue that is handy here is that of electricity consumption where the expenditure is reduced a great deal. These are the benefits that come up compared to the data center that is built in-house. The data center brings the issue of hardware purchasing and difficulty to the side of clients. The cost of electricity will also come down as the electricity cost will now be incurred by the service provider. The infrastructure of the cloud is also simplified for the finance department because administrative burden has been reduced a great deal (Armbrust et al., 2010).
Cloud computing has primarily improved the computing environment of several organizations and hence increased efficiency. This is because the entire buzz in this area of cloud goes back to centralization. The recent developments in computing show a very interesting fact. That computing is shifting back to centralized services just like the ones we had in the 20th century. We can thus say that the pendulum is swinging back to its original place. The theory behind all these is the fact that computing is going back to the old days of centralized infrastructure. It is therefore worth noting that computing is more efficient when they are centralized. In my own view, the development of computing is based on virtualization. This is because virtualization has been the main pillar in the coming of cloud computing. the whole concepts of cloud computing originated from virtualization technologies. A brief overview of virtualization shows that cloud computing is in itself a subset of cloud computing.
Cloud computing has enhanced virtualization. Each individual virtual machine gives users the simulation of the real physical machine, thus giving them the services that could have been there if they were accessing the machine directly. This gave way to a good and elegant way of sharing resources and time. This also gave way to reduction of ever-soaring costs of hardware. Each of the virtual machine is fully protected so that each one has a separate copy in the underlying operating system. Users could run and execute applications concurrently without fearing the occurrence of crush or deadlock in the system. This technology was therefore used to reduce the cost of acquiring new hardware and at the same time improving it.
The way information and data are stored in organization has also changed. The cloud computing brought about cloud storage. Cloud storage is where the information of a company is stored in the web. There has been the practice of this technology in storage devices whereby they have all the data except the critical data is stored in the cloud.
Cloud computing also has increases efficiency. This is because by an organization relying on using installed software’s to meet their needs; they stand the chance of spending more time procuring, mastering and managing their programs. (Velte & Robert 2009) However, a business saves time upon adopting cloud since some cloud vendors offer software as a service; hence an organization is spared the inconvenience of managing their programs.
Armbrust, M., Fox, A., Griffith, R., Joseph, A. D., Katz, R., Konwinski, A., & Zaharia, M. (2010). A view of cloud computing. Communications of the ACM,53(4), 50-58.
Buyya, R., Yeo, C. S., Venugopal, S., Broberg, J., & Brandic, I. (2009). Cloud computing and emerging IT platforms: Vision, hype, and reality for delivering computing as the 5th utility. Future Generation computer systems, 25(6), 599-616.
Zhang, Q., Cheng, L., & Boutaba, R. (2010). Cloud computing: state-of-the-art and research challenges. Journal of Internet Services and Applications, 1(1), 7-18.