Monday, December 27, 2010

Understanding Cloud Computing - 2

Remember the analogy I presented to you in my last post in the series? About the cloud being akin to a giant computer. We also talked about the 3 layers of this computer. What was interesting was the fact that each of them had the "as a Service" suffix. What does this mean and what are its implications. 

Extending out giant computer analogy a little further, it is certain that such a giant computer is not for any individual or institution's use alone. Rather it is a computer that can be used by everybody who has a need for the same. Theoretically, the computer is so huge that every body could make use of it at different points of time or at the same time. While somebody might be needing just a few GB of hard disk space on this computer and some processing power, another team might be thinking of requesting several TB of space and lots of RAM and some specific applications. As each and every individual/team requests these units from the computer, these are allocated almost in real time to these individuals. Once they are done using the computer for their use, they relinquish the requested resource units that get added to the main pool for somebody else to take advantage of them. Hence the giant computer's resources are available on demand as a service. Just like how a taxi is available as a service for you when you need to get from one point to another or your when your own car has broken down. 

All three layers of the cloud, the infrastructure layer, the platform layer and the software layer are available as a service for its consumers. Hence  the suffix "as a service".

In our next post in this series, lets look at the Infrastructure layer in detail and understand its intricacies

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Understanding Cloud Computing - 1

A lot of my readers ask me fundamental questions on cloud. This series of posts are dedicated to all my fans and readers who would like cloud computing to be simplified for them.

Let's start with a pictorial analogy of cloud computing to something that we are more familiar with. Consider a server or even your desktop computer or a laptop. A scratch at the surface to see what makes these computing devices tick reveals 3 distinct layers.

  1. The hardware consisting of the motherboard, the memory (RAM, hard disks), the processor, etc
  2. The operating system that loads when you first switch on your computer - Windows, Linux, Unix, etc
  3. The software applications that you use when using your computer - Notepad, Word, Paint Brush, Winamp, Internet Explorer, etc
A cloud in simple terms is your computer multiplied sever hundred thousand times and can go beyond theoretically to infinity. More on this characteristic in my next post.

Coming back to the analogy, imagine the cloud to be one giant computer. Obviously you would need the equivalent of the 3 layers here too, right?
  1. Infrastructure - IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) - The hardware layer equivalent
  2. Platform - PaaS (Platform as a Service) - The Operating system equivalent with more bells and whistles. Lets understand that in a separate post
  3. Software - SaaS (Software as a Service) -The software applications you would use to draw on the power of the giant cloud computer.
You might have noticed that all three had the terms "as a Service" attached to them. Let's explore that in our next post in this series.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Privacy on the Clouds - Debatable still?

IT enterprise customers have been cringing on the privacy aspects of public clouds. However, pundits and cloud vendors have been shouting atop their voices on how the privacy aspects have been dealt with.

Privacy on the public cloud will face a litmus test with the current Wikileaks shock wave. Wikileaks reported hacking of its website ever since it has started flooding the media with disclosures. It claimed that a mass distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is preventing users from accessing the site.

Following that was the news item that Wikileaks was moving to Amazon Web Services EC2 cloud to host its website and data disclosures.The Inquirer reports that ever since Wikileaks reappeared on Amazon's EC2 cloud service, with visitors being re-directed to servers in Europe and the US.

Wiki Leaks moved from its private hosting to a public cloud. Given the circumstances, it could not afford to be on a DDOS attack for ever on its private cloud. At the same time, this move by Wikileaks is sure to raise eye-brows in the US government, A company publishing material that the US condemns and has publicly asked it to refrain from publishing is now hosted on the servers located in its own geography and under a well-known US Enterprise. It sure might be in the realms of US federal scrutiny under security acts but then what happens to all of Amazon's claims of data privacy on its clouds.

Never miss a post...

If you enjoyed reading this post, Subscribe to the feed here ...And never miss a post