Cloud Computing Articles
One of the recent trends in the fast paced field of Information Technology is the development of cloud computing. Simply put, cloud computing is the outsourcing of business processing and storage to “virtual” servers over a network, most commonly the internet. The advance of network technology has allowed companies to transfer large amounts of their business intelligence systems to outside servers, without compromising data-transfer speed. Two recent articles from different publications covered the subject of cloud computing. The first, found online from InfoWorld.com, describes the different levels of cloud computing and what each entails. The second article, found in a monthly publication of Computer World, details the pros and cons of clouds in IT.
According to the InfoWorld.com article, cloud computing is “a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT's existing capabilities.” (InfoWorld.com) Clouds are a modern answer to IT’s ever increasing needs for storage space and computing power. There are several types of services that these virtual servers offer, ranging from utility applications to email spam filtering. Currently, most of the servers must be accessed individually, but they are becoming more integrated as the field progresses.
One type of cloud computing, software as a service (SaaS), is the hosting of one software application through the internet. An example this type of application is Salesforce.com, a sales representative management system. By providing the software online, Salesforce.com provides an easy way for managers to monitor and diagnose sales data, without the need for their own costly IT system in-house. SaaS also gives an advantage to the host company, because updates and bug fixes are limited to one program which they control.
There are several variations to the Saas system that are offered in cloud computing. Utility computing involves a company’s memory, input / output Storage, and computational capacity being accessed through the network to a “virtual” server. Currently, most cloud utility computing is for non critical intelligence, due to newness of the system. According to the article, these online servers could one day replace most of the current physical datacenter.
Another variation to Saas within cloud computing is web based application programming interfaces. APIs are “interfaces implemented by an online source that enable interaction with other software” (Wikepedia.org). There is a wide range of APIs used with business intelligence. Some examples would be Google Maps used by delivery services, shipping tracking for UPS, or online tax processing programs such as TurboTax.
One of the original forms of cloud computing are managed service providers (MSPs), which are applications that are exposed to the host company, rather than the end user. Examples of MSPs are e-mail virus scanning and anti-spam services, or desktop management offered by companies such as CenterBeam. Managed security services, such as firewalls, are also found within cloud computing.
The Computer World article goes further to describe an aspect of cloud computing called infrastructure as a service (Iaas). “With public cloud IaaS, organizations pay per use or per cluster of resources for an external cloud service provider to host their virtual servers… IT maintains control over the applications without worrying about configuring, upgrading or patching servers and other infrastructure. If a new application is needed, IT simply loads that application onto the service provider’s virtual server and the software is available to users” (Computer World). By migrating the physical datacenters to virtual...
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