Understanding and making use of Cloud Computing.
As the word depicts, we are all questioning the significance of ‘Cloud”, is it referencing its syntactical or etymological meaning or is it rather geographical? Back in the days the internet was symbolized by an image of a cloud, then cloud might also denote something we gaze from a distance and beyond reach of many. Interesting juxtaposition of this helps to brainstorm before we move in to demystify Cloud Computing. Can we agree to have a layman’s working definition of … “Meeting in some neutral ground somewhere up there and share resources’? Now that we got something in common and somewhere to start from , let us move to the more technical side of cloud Computing.
Cloud computing can be defined as a computing environment where computing needs by one party can be outsourced to another party and when need arise to use the computing power or resources like database or emails, they can access them via internet. Cloud computing is a recent trend in IT that moves computing and data away from desktop and portable PCs into large data centres. Kirit Modi & Yashpalsinh Jadeja (2014) an extract from: 2012 Intenational Conference on Computing, Electronics and Electrical Technologies [ICCEET] Put simply this means computing needs are given to others to take care instead of having individuals and/or organization having to meet all its computing requirements. See if this can bring a better meaning: a company say Econet Wireless offering other services and owns a fleet of cars and goes on to have a section that makes tyres, processes fuel, services its cars, makes and repairs the roads they use!!! It would seem noble to out-source other services and concentrate on core-business.
In Cloud Computing corporates or individuals can have their computing needs met by Cloud Computing service providers. With this set up they will do a “pay as you use arrangement….as in Kwese Tv’s pay per view” you select the number of days you want to watch and you pay as per the period. In Cloud Computing you will also pay for the products and services you need and for the period of use or access to the provider. Services that can be covered by this arrangement are, infrastructure, installation and maintenance. Also data and application storage and use. There is more advantages than disadvantages in the use of the Cloud Computing system.
The primary model of Cloud Computing is in three parts:
• Software as a Service (SaaS) — Consumers purchase the ability to access and use an application or service that is hosted in the cloud.
• Platform as a Service (PaaS) — Consumers purchase access to the platforms, enabling them to deploy their own software and applications in the cloud.
• Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) — Consumers control and manage the systems in terms of the operating systems, applications, storage, and network connectivity, but do not themselves control the cloud infrastructure.
This goes to a greater extent benefitting organisations as some may fall short in having financial resources to meet their software, platform and infrastructural needs. They can resort to paying as and when they need these easing on their budgets.
The Cloud Computing infrastructure providers are categorized in the following deployments models: (1). Private Cloud, where the infrastructure is provided for an organisation or the third part will be housed at the premises. This is said to be the most secure cloud service and has greater advantages. (2) Community Cloud, as the name implies this infrastructure is shared among a number of organisations with similar interest and requirements. (3) Public Cloud, available to the public and running on commercial basis. (4) Hybrid Cloud, this a mixture of different types of cloud infrastructures, mubatanidzwa.
Cloud Computing comes with lots of advantages, corporates can really reduce their cost and efficiency concentrating on their prime business and subletting their computing needs. There is also reduction in human capital, imagine reducing the whole IT department to just a few individuals instead of a whole contingent of staff. It brings about safety and a great back up in case of unseen disasters. Allows for users to work from anywhere in the world decimating geographical limitations. Promotes green/smart computing which is environmental friendly as it reduces the need for e-waste disposal. No need for huge servers and IT personnel to attend to them around the clock. Enhances uninterrupted flow of service and less outages.
Some notable providers of Cloud Computing services and infrastructures are:
• Google — Has a private cloud that it uses for delivering Google Docs and many other services to its users, including email access, document applications, text translations, maps, web analytics, and much more.
• Microsoft — Has Microsoft Office 365 online service that allows for content and business intelligence tools to be moved into the cloud, and Microsoft currently makes its office applications available in a cloud.
• Salesforce.com — Runs its application set for its customers in a cloud, and its Force.com and Vmforce.com products provide developers with platforms to build customized cloud services.
• Oracle and RBM are others
So we can conclude by saying Cloud Computing is a reservoir, a storage, nhava, dura, isiphala. How many of the organisations in Zimbabwe are putting this service to use?
Let us explore and exploit technology. There is also a new kid on the block coming by the name of Fog Computing.