Saturday, April 23, 2011

Understanding Cloud Computing - 3 - IaaS

The Infrastructure layer of cloud computing is the base foundation of cloud computing. This is the layer that triggered off the thoughts of true cloud computing.Additional hardware purchased by divisions of companies that remained unused must have prompted other divisions to request for this hardware on a temporary basis. That action is what sparked off the thought of subscribing to hardware on demand and not buying and owning it.

Hosting companies that provided space on remote servers took the first step in this direction. They were prompted more from the need for the servers to be exposed to public at all times unlike enterprise servers that are within the firewall. This also freed up enterprises from having to invest and maintain open-to-public servers. They just put up their websites and related public consumable data onto these hosted servers. 

It was exactly 5 years ago that the next big step in IaaS was taken. It was by a company named Amazon (more famous for it online book store). AWS or Amazon Web Services (started in July 2002) announced the availability of its EC2 - Elastic Compute Cloud offering in August 2006. EC2 allowed users to rent out computing power and pay for it by the hours of usage. EC2 allowed for users to load their applications onto Amazon hosted infrastructure and EC2 related services allowed for scaling up or down the needed computing and storage power based on the consumption of these applications.

Today you have a whole set of companies trying to match what AWS brought to the market. GoGrid, Rackspace, Akamai, etc are among the few top ones. 

You could safely say that the current trends and gung-ho around cloud computing had its seeds sowed back in 2006. In our next post, lets dive into Platform as a Service facet of Cloud Computing.

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