In nature a cloud is a visible mass of condensed water vapor that floats in the atmosphere. A cloud, both in nature and the technology world, is a concept that is almost tangible, but still seems somewhat inexplicable.
Imagine if you could be interconnected and access programs and data from anywhere? This seems implausible until you think of what happens if you upload a picture to Facebook from your home computer and the next day you can access it from your work computer. The picture was actually stored in the cloud so that you could access it from anywhere at any time.
To the general public, cloud computing is a relatively new phenomenon and technology within the last ten years. For others, knowledge begins in the late 1990’s when VMWare brought virtualization to x86 servers or in the early 2000’s when virtualization companies and technologies such as Connectix Corporation, VMWare and Ejascent began getting acquired for millions.
For the masterminds, the groundwork was started during a time when computers took up an entire room instead of being able to fit them into your pocket. In the 1950’s the technologies being created were so new and expensive that it had to be done on a large scale. That being said, the concept that information could be accessed from one central resource was actually formed in the 1950’s when mainframes were being produced. Then in the 1960’s IMB started the virtualization movement when the CP-40 was developed.
In the last ten years, virtualization has become popularized because developers have gotten the hardware to a size that could support virtualization to have a cost effective enterprise product.
A virtualized environment is where the hardware is acting as a support system for virtual servers to float in between multiple different pieces of hardware. Hence the term cloud, because information is floating between various devices.
Virtualization simply uses a term called cloud because you have 100 nodes in a datacenter, and what’s riding on top of those nodes can be a virtual environment that is serving high availability to the end user. This creates a cloud architecture, which simplified is true virtualization. It is the distributed resources and high availability that makes it act as if it were floating, like a cloud. The cost of a piece of hardware going bad in a cloud environment is much smaller and less expensive since most of the hardware is already independent. This ties into orchestration because at this point software and hardware components are joined to deliver a service that includes workloads and automation.
Cloud computing is where services such as software applications, data storage and processing capacity are accessed over the Internet instead of your own computer. In order to do this a company uses a datacenter as a central backup. The most common services in cloud computing are the following:
- Software as a Service (SaaS): This can be anything from CRM solution, email, communication.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): databases, web servers
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS: IaaS can also be referred to as hardware as a service or hosting layer. It includes: servers, storage, network connection. The cloud can connect segments of a network so that devices can access information from anywhere.
What are the top three benefits of cloud computing?
- Reliability: The cloud is designed around reliability and elasticity. One can ask how wide can your datacenter be? The elasticity of networks should be able to stretch as far wide as they have to. On top of stretching horizontally the infrastructure should be able to scale vertically as well.
- Increased storage: It allows you to increase storage dynamically on the fly, without having to procure, install, and setup new hardware every time you approach your storage quota.
- Reduced costs: Instead of having a private network you can rent space from a public cloud. Which has allowed people to start their business on a public cloud and then migrate into a private cloud once needed. Many companies begin with a public cloud option that has is the most cost effective and cuts down on deployment time. A private cloud option is often viewed as the most robust option, but at a higher price tag.