May 18, 2014 by Ozgur Ozden
Cloud Computing is not a new concept for us. When i was using IBM 3260 system back in 1987, i used to have a screen and keyboard and the system was connected to CERN at the swiss border. I used to run my FORTRAN 77 programs at CERN and get the results in Turkey. After placing a desktop computer or a tablet in almost each household we are returning to the same point today. The systems that we are using today such as Gmail, Hotmail, Facebook, Ebay are common examples for cloud computing . We can define it as, instead of storing information on local servers we store information on giant servers and access it through the internet or any suitable device. We have different layers, levels for this system depending on the need of the organization as Mell(2011) indicated:
1- Software as a Service – SaaS
2- Platform as a Service – PaaS
3- Infrastructure as a Service – Iaas
Example of such a systems can be count as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform and many others.
AWS first started when Amazon was designing systems for their e commerce section. Then they have decided to develop these systems and sell them slice by slice. In AWS system Amazon provides Computing Power called EC2, Storage called S3 and Database called Dynamo DB.
There are many benefits for such systems, first of all you do not need to pay start up capital for your IT infrastructure. Companies can focus on their own business. They do not have to focus on power, cooling, cabling, networks, racks, service, storage, labour and carry them with the company. Instead they can focus on their core business.
Scalability is another very important feature. Capacity, computing power, number of servers, bandwidth can be increased or decreased instantly. You can pay as you use. For example a financial institute is using around 3000 servers on AWS during the weekdays. Since they do not require to do any transaction over the weekends, the amount of servers reduces to 300 on the weekends so company saves money. If you are an ecommerce company you need more capacity before holidays so computing is elastic and whenever you need it it is there for you.
New features, versions, installations are done for you by the cloud provider. In 2012 AWS released 158 new features for their customers. AWS is also provides storage systems which is up for 99.99%. Amazon S3 and Elastic Block Store (EBS) can be considered as a hard drive or a physical server for file system, database or any application.
These systems may be useful for small or large scale businesses. But important question that any organization should answer is what will be shared on the cloud system? Which levels of the cloud system SaaS, PaaS and Iaas will be used and transferred to cloud?
Companies financial figures, intellectual properties, R&D documents. will they be safe on the cloud system, privacy and security of the data on the cloud? All these questions need to addressed very carefully by the experts in the company.
1- Bohn and Short (2009) ,How Much Information? (Online) Available at: http://hmi.ucsd.edu /pdf/HMI_2009_ConsumerReport_Dec9_2009.pdf [Accessed 14.12.2012]
2- Peter Mell, (2011) Recommendations of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, (online) Available at: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-145/SP800-145.pdf [Accessed at: 8th June 2013]
3- Eric Knorr, What cloud computing really means, (online) Available at: http://www.infoworld.com /d/cloud-computing/what-cloud-computing-really-means-031 [Accessed at: 8th June 2013]
4-Matt Essay, (2009) Cloud computing: A natural conclusion of open source?Available at: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10241865-16.html [Accessed at: 8th June 2013]