The Basic Meaning Of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing defined

Cloud computing seems to be one of the latest fads of the tech world today. “Cloud” is certainly a known cliché standing as the metaphor for internet but the thing gets tad complex while attached to computing. Some of the vendors & analysts tend to explain the cloud computing as some updated version for utility computing: virtual servers viable over internet. Some others point to anything consumed outside firewall as “in cloud” which includes conventional outsourcing as well.

Cloud computing covers any pay-per-use or subscription-based service which offers IT’s existent capabilities over internet in real-time. The concept is still at its initial stage where you have a host of providers extending an array of cloud services- ranging from the full-blown applications till the spam filtering to storage. Utility-type infrastructure providers form a part here and so are as SaaS providers like Salesforce. Today, IT should plug into the cloud services individually- however, cloud computing integrators and aggregators are emerging already.

Below is a discussion on the exact implication of cloud computing.

SaaS

This form of cloud based computing delivers single application via browser to several clients using multitenant architecture. The customer is not needed to make upfront investment for the servers or the software licensing. The provider is just required to maintain a single app & here the costs are way lower in comparison to traditional hosting service. When it comes to best-known options in enterprise applications, Salesforce.com is a common choice. However, SaaS is even usual among HR apps & has worked up to ERP, along with names like Workday.

Utility Computing

It’s not a new concept but has received a fresh lease of life from IBM, Sun, Amazon & others who extend storage & virtual servers which would be accessible to IT on demand. The early enterprise-adopters generally focus on utility computing to address non-mission, supplemental critical needs- however some day they might replace the datacenter parts. Other providers extend solutions which help IT to create web datacenters from the commodity servers like 3Tera’s AppLogic & Elastic Server on Demand from Cohesive Flexible Technologies. Liquid Q from Liquid Computing provides same capabilities allowing IT to bind together I/O, memory, computational capacity & storage as some virtualized resource-pool over network.

Web-based services in cloud

Much like SaaS, the Web service companies provide APIs which enable the developers to functionally exploit over internet- instead of delivering the full-blown applications. These range from the providers extending discrete business offers like Xignite & Strike Iron – to full API range offered from ADP payroll-processing, Google Maps, Bloomberg, U.S. Postal service & also traditional credit-card process service.

Platform as the service

This type of cloud based computing offers development environments. You can structure your very own applications here which run or provider’s infrastructure & are extended to the users through internet from provider’s servers. Akin to Legos, these forms of services are at times constrained by vendor’s design & capabilities, hence one doesn’t achieve total freedom yet he gets pre-integration and predictability. The best examples are Salesforce’s Force.com, Coghead & the novel Google Application Engine.

Managed service providers or MSP

Managed service can be defined as an application mostly exposed to the IT and not so much with end-users- like virus scan service for the email or app monitoring service. The Managed-security services offered from IBM, SecurWorks & Verizon come into this section- & so the cloud anti-spam service providers like Postini. Other offerings are desktop management facilities like those offered from Everdream or CenterBeam.

Service commerce portals

It’s a hybrid between MSP & SaaS & offers a solid service hub for users’ interaction. They are most regular in the trading environ like expense-management systems which permit the users to ask for secretarial or travel services from some common portal which co-ordinates pricing and service delivery within decided specifications from the user. Best examples include Ariba, Rearden Commerce etc.

Internet Integration

Integration of the cloud services is still in the initial phase. OpSource, that mostly serves the SaaS providers, lately introduced OpSoure Services Bus that deploys in-cloud integration technique from a small start-up named Boomi. Workday, the renowned SaaS provider recently acquired CapeClear, an Enterprise Service Bus which was edging to b-to-b integration.

In conclusion, cloud computing could be described as some long-term trend with far-out horizon.

Amita Choudhary
Amita Choudhary is a contributing author for the 'corePHP' blog. Business technology news, views and insights.