A lot of discussion these days in technology is about ‘BEING ON THE CLOUD’. The first question you may encounter while discussing any IT solution is – ‘Is it on the cloud?’. Few years back when I heard this question often, I use to ponder what is this cloud and why is there so much interest in the cloud. As I have been researching and even using cloud solutions in the last 2-3 years, I learn more about the cloud than what I already know.
The Evolution – Few years back, being on cloud meant putting your infrastructure at a common place with others to share, in a way that you had your own space for security, control and access, but you did not have to bear the costs of ownership. As if you had rented out a small space in a data center. However with more new technologies being developed, today Cloud means literally anything – from infrastructure, to platforms and even applications. And it will change for sure in the days to come.
The Layman Meaning – Let us try to understand the word CLOUD from a layman perspective. There are three broad meanings to the word CLOUD. These are:
- Remote – You may not even know the physical location when you buy a product or a platform that is cloud based. It does not matter.
- Ubiquitous – It is accessible anywhere and by everyone who is authorized. Internet availability is a must for cloud solutions.
- Commoditized – You only pay for what you use. If you don’t like, you disconnect. If you like it, you still pay for what you use. This is popularly known as ‘Pay As You Go’.
Types of Cloud Solutions – As of today, these are the three main types of cloud solutions. These are:
- IAAS (Infrastructure As A Service) – You rent out the actual infrastructure. And you start using it for your needs.
- PAAS (Platform As A Service) – You rent out the platforms for application building. You have access to APIs and the list of APIs. However you have to set up your own team to do the application building. You will have access to the simulators, emulators and a host of other testing tools (on the cloud of course).
- SAAS (Software As A Service) – You rent out the entire software application. All you need to do is use it.
- Lower Costs of Ownership – You are not buying out things you need. Just renting.
- Enhanced Performance – By renting out the best stuff you ever wanted, you get the best performance. Remember you are not buying, only renting, so rent out the best to give you enhanced performance that increases productivity and efficiency.
- Remote Updates – You do not have to worry about updating software applications etc. It will be done by the people providing you the cloud service. Just relax and use what you have. It will always be the latest.
- Data Storage – Generally, you will never face issues like there is no space available. There will always be enough to accommodate your data storage needs.
- Data Portability – As long as you have internet connectivity, you can always access your cloud solution or application. No need to physically transport data from one location to another.
- Remote Teams – can collaborate easily by sharing work spaces on the cloud.
- Device Independence – as long as the user is able to access the application through proper authorization and authentication.
- Internet is a must – Else the cloud solution is a dead bird.
- Bandwidth is important – Else the cost savings may not justify the loss in productivity and efficiency.
- Security and Theft – These are areas that need more emphasis with cloud solutions, especially if the data is really critical.
- Loss of Data – Can really hurt because you are not really taking back-ups and if you happen to lose the data due to hardware crashes or failures, you are in a soup.
- Fragmentation – Too many products, solutions available in the market making it difficult to find the right solution for your needs.
With this, I have attempted to explain the word CLOUD in very basic terms. I plan to touch on some of the applications in my upcoming blogs.
I understand that my interpretation of the cloud may not align with some of you. However the attempt is to learn and understand the cloud better, starting with the basics. With this, I open the forum for your comments to either correct me or put forward your opinion on the thoughts expressed by me.
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