A Few WordsWhat we all know about clouds? They fly high in the sky, there are cumulus clouds and cumulonimbus clouds, and we can store and process information in them.
For those who did not know, we are representing "Cloud Computing" or "Cloud Technology." In this article we will try to find out what is cloudy and heavenly friendly in them.
First of all, what exactly a "Cloud Computing" is? Cloud Computing is a technology of data processing, in which a remote group of servers takes upon itself the basic data. Servers provide all its possibilities to the user as an Internet service (the service or on demand service). In short, the user’s PC now performs the role of a monitor and the group of servers takes all the work of a system unit. The group of servers is like a single virtual server.
Let's talk about everything in order, starting with the birth of the idea itself of the cloud technology.
HistoryDespite the fact that the first buds of a technology, similar to the Cloud, were mentioned in the 70s - 80s, the official date of birth is considered 2006.
Amazon Company, the world's largest online retailer, introduced the Web infrastructure that provided remote client computing facility. A Cloud relay race took up such titans of the Internet world like Google, Sun and IBM.
Two years later, in 2008, Microsoft announced the release of an operating system Windows Azure, entirely working in the Cloud field.
Also in 2008 a computer magazine PC World published a list of top 10 IT revolutionary events which seriously alter the user's life over the next ten years, where the first place took the development of cloud computing.
It was in 2008, the Cloud became a full term, not a metaphor. According to the document IEEE, published in 2008, the Cloud Computing is a paradigm within the bounds of what information is permanently stored in servers on the Internet and temporarily cached on the client side, such as personal computers, game consoles, laptops, smart phones, etc.
In 2010, in addition to the official release of Windows Azure, great many cloud services, oriented to ordinary user, not just for developers, appeared.
To understand the principle of cloud technologies, it is not necessary to be a guru, but at least have an idea what components they consist of.
There are at least three items: cloud storage, cloud gateways, and quite non-cloud users.
There is no need to write about non-cloud users, just look at the mirror to see who it is, but it is worth talking about other components.
Roughly speaking, a Cloud Data Storage is a virtual hard drive where data are stored on multiple servers, distributed in the network. The data is stored and processed in the cloud.
Server clouds can locate not only in different rooms of the building, but different cities, countries, continents, and a user will not notice this, because the structure of servers, with the client's perspective, is one big, virtual server.
The benefits of Cloud Storage are:
Instead of renting an entire server, the client pays only for the space of cloud storage he/she uses. It is very convenient, because often all the space of rented the server is not fully used.
The production costs significantly reduced, as there is no need to be engaged in acquisition, service and support of its own infrastructure for data storage.
Also, all work to store data takes a provider of the cloud center.
Cloud Gateways. If a Cloud Storage we imagined like a hard drive of your computer, then in case of Cloud Gateways we can draw analogy to a cable that carries information.
Cloud Gateway is a technology that provides a fast connection to the data held in a cloud. If you have a good, fast connection with the cloud, a client cannot see the difference between working with the data of his/her own computer and data stored in other parts of the world.
Get StartedNow consider the principle of Cloud Computing.
Instead of purchasing, installing and managing servers to run applications, a company rents a server from a cloud technologies service provider. Then users manage servers over the Internet, paying only actual use for data processing and storage, not overpaying for unused resource. At the same time, if necessary to use a larger resource of the server, then there is no need to think about the scaling, a cloud infrastructure will connect the additional server, and you again have to pay only for the consumed resources.
For example, you have a web-site, with attendance average ten thousand visitors per hour; the rest of the resource remains untapped. It would seem, so what? It is always possible to replace the equipment and ask qualified IT staff to configure parameters. But no, because sometimes, the number of visitors exceeds the limit and attendance are twenty, thirty, fifty thousand people per hour. So there is a new need for more server space and, as a result, additional and unnecessary costs.
And you can place your site in the cloud and only pay for the consumed facility. That sounds tempting, doesn’t it? After all, it is much easier to pay for temporary usage of more computing resources than increasing the power of servers for a temporary jump of users’ visits.
What is the On Demand Service? You can use the software you want directly from the cloud, paying just time spent on working with the software. This is extremely convenient, because it keeps you away from problems associated with purchasing programs, their further registration, configuration, administration and support.
A simpler example of use of Cloud Technology is on-line games.
For example, using the cloud service OnLive gamers may play the latest games on simpler equipment. This happens because the game is handled on a remote server and the user gets the game without spending much money on increasing facilities.
Every day we use the services of cloud technologies and do not know about it.
Examples of cloud technologies, known to all:
Social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn, popular by almost everyone, are directly related to the world of cloud. All video clips are placed there directly in the cloud storages.
Microsoft Office 365.
Certainly it’s worth talking about Microsoft Office 365. This is a set of cloud applications that work directly with the Microsoft Office programs, complementing and enhancing their capabilities. For example, using an indicator of presence of other users, you can quickly communicate with other users, thereby improving efficiency. The main advantages of Microsoft Office 365: there is no need to relearn a new software, because it's all the same, familiar Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office, working only on the basis of cloud technologies, this package works with existing browsers, mobile phones and software, so a virtual office is always at hand.
Free online Google Docs office, which has online cloud file storage service with the possibility of file sharing. Google Docs does not need to be installed on your computer, because it is a web-based software. All documents are stored in the cloud storage, developed by Google. Access to data can be done from any computer which has Internet connection.
4shared is a service for uploading, storing, and downloading files. Daily traffic exceeds 300 terabytes. That would be impossible without cloud technologies.
Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is a next file hosting cloud-based technology designed to store and retrieve any amount of data at anytime from anywhere.
Windows Live SkyDrive.
Windows Live SkyDrive is a Microsoft offspring. This is an internet service with the ability to store files and files sharing.
MobileMe is service offered by Apple. Service includes email, calendar, address book, file storage, photo album and a tool for finding lost iPhone. The main advantage this is that Apple provides a unique set of interactions of Internet services and applications on a computer, phone, player and iPad. There is no need to use browsers. All data of Mac, iPhone and iPad programs are stored directly in the cloud.
Another representative of cloud storage owned by Dropbox Inc, which allows users to store their data on servers in the cloud and share them with others.
Today, thanks to cloud technologies, offline office software is no longer in favor. So, for example, Zoho Writer and Google offer their own online word processors enable you to format, save, check spelling in any language and provide export/import of documents to other formats. To work with tables, you can use tabulated online services such as Google or Editgrid and many other services.
Do not forget about online radio, video portals such as YouTube? Opportunity to buy, burn, download music on Rhapsody and every minute the number of such services is growing.
DisadvantagesDespite such global benefits of cloud technologies and convenience of working with them, there are shortcomings, still confusing users and pleasing skeptics.
One of the main problems is security of stored information: starting from the panic of confidentiality of information in the cloud to the risk of losing of all information. For example, in 2009, a service for storing information Magnolia lost all their data. It is necessary to account for the fact that the data passed in a cloud are not in the memory of your hard drive but somewhere in the Internet network. Since no one has yet invented absolute protection against burglary, we must remember that your data may be public or entirely lost. However, 21-st century is in its prime and similar issues, we hope, will remain a long shot!
As a disadvantage we can specify the problem of uncontrolled data. This is information left by the user, which cannot be removed or otherwise modified. Thus, these "stored" data simply litter cloud areas.
Another drawback is insignificant loss of productivity when working with data in the cloud as compared to local copies of data.