All about Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a term that has been finding its way into information technology related news on a regular basis for the past few years. New initiatives, new applications and new technological developments have kept this technology at the forefront of IT and led to exciting new changes in the way enterprise class computing is seen.

However, the concepts and ideas surrounding cloud computing continue to confuse most common users. The “Cloud” continues to stump a large contingent of IT professionals too as there is lot of conflicting information about the technology floating around on the internet.

To put things in better perspective, cloud computing is a relatively new technology that virtualizes the use of applications through the medium of the internet. Rather than physical installation of software and other applications on computer systems, cloud computing calls for installation and maintenance of the same applications on a single, centralized server. Multiple users are able to access and share this centrally stored application and information and use it in real time to achieve results not just quickly but also more efficiently.

The most typical examples of cloud computing are found in common business applications that were earlier used through personal computers but are now used through the internet. While application data in traditional software was stored locally on the machine, cloud computing takes this data and stores it on an online server.

While the applications of cloud computing are wide and divided, they can be broadly classified into seven categories:

1. Software as a Service

2. Platform as a Service

3. Utility Computing

4. Web Services

5. Managed Service Providers

6. Internet Integration and

7. Service Commerce

Most IT users at enterprise and individual levels have already started using cloud computing to some extent in their day-to-day tasks. However, to understand the full potential of this new development, cloud computing education and training can come in handy. By attending even a single day cloud computing class, users can grasp the full extent to which they can utilize this technology in their day-to-day tasks and gain maximum benefits from it in terms of productivity and turnaround time.

A cloud computing class would also allow users to learn the history of this technology and explain to them the basic idea behind this concept. Cloud computing is based on inspiration drawn from the telecom industry, which came up with the concept of Virtual Private Network (VPN) to meet the demands of long distance telephony at lower costs. By offering shared usage of bandwidth through optimum load balancing, VPN allowed telecom providers to cut cost while expanding their service range.

Some of the earliest players in cloud computing have been, Amazon and Microsoft, though commercial cloud computing was introduced by a lesser known company named Loudcloud. Microsoft and Amazon though can be credited with the growth in usage of the technology and also the increase in demand for cloud computing education.

For additional information on cloud computing courses, please visit the School for Cloud Computing.

Tips To Avail The Best Cloud Computing Services

With cloud computing becoming a buzzword tossing around, IT providers are looking forward to modify the way their infrastructure should be deployed. According to the concept, your computing resources will be located somewhere out and you will be connected to them and utilize them as required.

Outlined below are some tips that businesses can follow to avail the best cloud computing services:

Set Your Priorities –Before jumping to cloud computing wagon,make a list of your business requirements and take decisions accordingly. Do you need agile, faster and secure application? If yes, at what cost? Focus on how many applications can be adapted to cloud-based environment and keep a note of the factors like deployment time, cost, value and performance. A sound homework would save you from any future hassles.

Select a Trusted Service Provider – Having a trusted cloud computing partner by side can resolve all the cloud related concerns. Select a company that has widespread expertise in running a standard, global enterprise infrastructure and can meet your enterprise-wide hosting and application management needs. Most importantly, the offered infrastructure should be reliable and ready to grow with your ever demanding business needs. Overall, an ideal cloud computing provider is the one who can handle all facets of your cloud environment.Also, try to obtain the complete information about your service provider prior to signing any agreement.

Access to Enterprise Features – Ensure that the cloud computing services you are paying for include exclusive enterprises features. This would ensure the availability of numerous standard components like static IP, persistent storage, free bandwidth etc.

Build a Cloud Prototype – Don’t rush to transform the entire IT set up. Begin with a small prototype – a cloud of, say around, less than 50 machines. Choose to avail hosting services for the applications which are supposed to get most benefits from the cloud computing environment. Compare the applications’ past performance, cost, value etc. to the cloud-based results. And then move forward accordingly.

Evaluate Control Level – Evaluate how much control you have on your applications as cloud is famous for providing you greater choices of how you want to run your applications and what you can apply from a service-level agreement standpoint to those applications. Go for the comprehensive documentation and evaluation of internal control that will be needed to support management’s assessment.

Commit to a short-term service contract – Initially avoid making a long-term contract. A short-term contract of six months or so will give your company more leverage over service quality and related things. This will help you judge the service provider in proper measures.

It is interesting to note that tough economic conditions are forcing companies to look into hosted private cloud services. With greater emphasis on cost savings and increasing business efficiency, the future of cloud is certainly bright.

Now, if you are thinking to leverage cloud computing platform for your business, think NaviSite. NaviSite’s inexpensive cloud computing infrastructure has helped established enterprises manage their IT infrastructure. The result is a highly scalable platform for delivering cost efficient, on demand, usage based infrastructure and application services.

Cloud Computing – What Does It Mean For Mobile Applications?

Unless you’ve spent the last few months trapped in a cave you will undoubtedly have seen, read or heard that “cloud computing” is on its way and is likely to affect the way that many of us use our computers and interact with the internet over the coming years.  Much has been written elsewhere about the implications of cloud computing in general and whether it is indeed destined to transform the way we use the web but, at this juncture, I am particularly interested in exploring what the impact of cloud computing will be on mobile applications.

For the uninitiated, it is probably worth reiterating briefly the key characteristics of cloud computing. In layman’s terms, cloud computing simply refers to the use of powerful shared computing resources which are accessed remotely, typically via a web browser over the internet. Users don’t need to know (or care) where the servers are located or where the programs they are using are running – they just need access to a web browser to use the service from anywhere in the world. In practice, the term cloud computing has grown to refer to a number of related capabilities that can broadly be summarised under following categories:-

i) Infrastructure-as-service “IaaS”

- typically virtual servers (e.g. Amazon EC2, Rackspace Cloud Servers)

ii) Platform-as-a-service “PaaS”

- various services for software development and deployment (e.g. Google Checkout, Force.com>

iii) Software-as-a-service “SaaS”

- fully hosted applications accessed via a browser (e.g. Webmail, Facebook, Google Apps, Salesforce.com)

It is the last category, SaaS, that I wish to focus on because it represents the visible face of cloud computing that most people have already experienced. The advantages of web-based applications such as Gmail, Twitter, and Facebook are pretty obvious – there’s nothing to download to your PC, you can access them from anywhere, they’re constantly being enhanced and every time updates are made they become instantly available to any user when they next login.

For business applications like Saleforce.com’s online CRM tool there are further advantages – such services are highly configurable and scalable so they can accommodate many different types of client from very small to very large with either simple or highly complex requirements. Furthermore, the commercial model employed by most SaaS suppliers (i.e. monthly subscriptions) is attractive since the cost of entry is low (or zero) and the costs associated with acquiring and maintaining computing infrastructure to host the application are completely eliminated.

So, how will this all affect the use and spread of mobile applications?

Over the past couple of years, we’ve witnessed the unprecedented success of the iPhone and Apple’s App Store and this has clearly demonstrated beyond doubt that there is a voracious appetite for mobile applications. Apple has led the way, but we are now seeing a plethora of competing app stores being announced by other players. Notable examples include Google’s Android Marketplace, Nokia’s OVI Store, RIM’s Blackberry App World, Symbian’s Horizon, Microsoft’s Marketplace and the Samsung Application Store.

It seems highly unlikely to me that all these initiatives can succeed, but at the same time, it is a healthy sign that consumers will have more choice, and a wide range of applications will become available to users of many different types of mobile (i.e. not just the iPhone). However, in this new world, where users of all device types (from the humblest Pay-as-you-Go handset to the latest, feature-laden Smartphone) are able to access mobile applications I believe that downloading them from app stores is not the only way forwards.

The cloud computing model provides a highly attractive alternative which actually turns out to be ideal for supporting (relatively) low powered computing devices like mobile handsets. Whilst power-users with top-of-the-range Smartphones may be perfectly happy downloading apps, the “average” user with a basic handset is likely to find that using cloud based applications via a browser is both easier and far better suited to the limitations of their phone. Less computing horsepower and less storage is needed and, as mobile network operators continue to increase data speeds, performance can only get better and better. Already today there are some fine examples of cloud based mobile applications such as Gmail’s mobile portal which provides an excellent email experience entirely via a browser.

Another significant factor to consider is that as the mobile application market matures many commercial organisations will recognise the need to mobilise core business applications. Unlike the majority of “apps” that are being downloaded today, most business applications are more complex and sophisticated and they require proper integration with back-end systems. The SaaS model of delivery described above is therefore ideal for this category of application and will work equally well for mobile devices because of the “zero footprint” required on the handset coupled with the flexibility and scalability available when hosting the application in the cloud.

Over the next couple of years, we are also likely to see a number of technology enhancements which will continue to encourage the development of cloud based mobile applications. Open standards such as BONDI, OneAPI and HTML5 will all help, making it easier for developers to build cloud based applications that can be used across a wide range of mobile devices.

In summary therefore, I predict that cloud computing is highly relevant to the world of mobile applications, is particularly well suited to serving the large numbers of mobile users who do not possess a Smartphone and that it is likely to become a parallel medium for delivering mobile applications to rival the app store approach.  Welcome to the cloud!

IBM Advances Research Through Cloud Computing to Help Solve Real-World Problems


Today, IBM announced it is working with six new clients in the education sector to use cloud computing to advance research initiatives to solve some of the biggest problems in their regions.

Google DC Talks: Cloud Computing


Cloud Computing: Navigating the next frontier As part of the Google DC Talks series, John Horrigan of the Pew Internet Project presents a new research report, “Use of Cloud Computing Applications and Services.” Panelists Daniel Burton of Salesforce.com, Mike Nelson of Georgetown University, and Ari Schwartz of the Center for Democracy and Technology, respond to the new report and share their own views on this new computing model. This event took place on September 12, 2008 at Google’s offices in Washington, DC

netsuite CEO, Zach Nelson, on Bloomberg


netsuite (NYSE:N) CEO Zach Nelson talks cloud computing on Bloomberg’s “Taking Stock” show hosted by Pimm Fox.

IBM Blue Cloud is Ready-to-Use Cloud Computing


IBM unveiled plans for “Blue Cloud,” a series of cloud computing offerings that will allow corporate data centers to operate more like the Internet by enabling computing across a distributed, globally accessible fabric of resources, rather than on local machines or remote server farms. Blue Cloud, built on ibm’s expertise in leading massive-scale computing initiatives, will be based on open standards and open source software supported by IBM software, systems technology and services. IBM announced today that its Blue Cloud development is supported by more than 200 IBM Internet-scale researchers worldwide and targets clients who want to explore the extreme scale of cloud computing infrastructures quickly and easily.

IBM Commercial: My Cloud – Virtual Servers on the Horizon


www.ibm.com Workstations used to be tied to a mainframe. Now they’re conversing with a cloud. Through cloud computing, people are able to access, to share and to collaborate over information securely. “MAN: What is Cloud Computing? ibmer: A cloud is a workload optimized, service management platform enabling ibmer: new consumption and delivery models. KID: Its what? MANAGER: My cloud does email. CONSUMER: Lowers my energy bill. KID: Shares pictures. BIZWOMAN: We collaborate on our cloud. DEVELOPER: I develop software in my cloud. CEO: II want a cloud that understands risk. DOC: compares patient histories CONSUMER: predicts traffic patterns. CEO: My cloud is DEVELOPER: Everywhere. MANAGER: My cloud is secure. DEVELOPER: Simple. KID: Powerful. CONSUMER: Flexible. ibmer: Thats what were working on. ibmer: Im an ibmer. ibmer: Lets build a smarter planet.”

Cloud Computing Bootcamps Are On The Rise

Cloud computing bootcamp is the name given to a short term yet comprehensive cloud computing course those who wish to quickly learn the basics of cloud computing before moving onto enterprise level applications of the technology. Designed by pioneers in cloud computing, bootcamp equips IT users with all the necessary information required to get started.

Cloud computing is now the most in-demand technology for enterprises that require multi-location, multi-resource teams to work in smooth synchronization in real time. By using internet based applications, enterprises are able to achieve this without having to invest heavily in physical hardware and applications.

However, just like traditional software and applications that called for extensive training of the workforce, cloud computing also requires a certain level of training before it can be utilized effectively across the various levels of an enterprise. While this training might not be as extensive or time-consuming as that for traditional software, cloud computing education is very much an important component of this technology.

In computer parlance, “boot” means starting up. Similarly, cloud computing bootcamp introduces computer users to cloud computing and gets them started on using the various enterprise level applications available through the medium of the Internet. Before users can understand higher level applications of cloud computing, a cloud computing bootcamp is an ideal way of providing them with all the necessary basic information for using the application.

Designed to be a single day introductory cloud computing course, bootcamp takes users on a deep-dive of the Cloud or Internet and trains them to recognize, analyze, understand and resolve problems they might face with using this technology. Unlike a cloud computing class, bootcamp would not provide users with technical or how-to guidelines on cloud computing.

It is focused more on the practical aspects of using cloud computing and navigating through the various aspects of the applications. Bootcamp is targeted more at immediate or current use of cloud computing than at possible future applications or developments that might arise. In that sense, it allows users to draw maximum possible from the cloud and its applications.

Along with introduction to the cloud, such an intensive course would also train users on running cloud based services at more than 100% effectiveness and thereby allow them to generate maximum ROI without compromising on scalability.

With this said, cloud computing bootcamp is not just restricted to present applications; it also introduces users to new and upcoming developments in the field and the players who are coming up with exciting new offerings. By doing so, the course trains users to be ready for quick new developments and keeping their horizons open for adapting to new technologies.

What is Cloud Computing and what are the benefits?


A quick presentation of what is cloud computing, covering Private Coud, Public Cloud and how it can help your implementation of websites, portals, mashups and electronic forms implementations