What is Cloud Computing (DOC)

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					How Cloud Computing Works:

A typical cloud computing system

Let's say you're an executive at a large corporation. Your particular responsibilities include making sure
that all of your employees have the right hardware and software they need to do their jobs. Buying
computers for everyone isn't enough -- you also have to purchase software or software licenses to give
employees the tools they require. Whenever you have a new hire, you have to buy more software or
make sure your current software license allows another user. It's so stressful that you find it difficult to
go to sleep on your huge pile of money every night.

Soon, there may be an alternative for executives like you. Instead of installing a suite of software for
each computer, you'd only have to load one application. That application would allow workers to log
into a Web-based service which hosts all the programs the user would need for his or her job. Remote
machines owned by another company would run everything from e-mail to word processing to complex
data analysis programs. It's called cloud computing, and it could change the entire computer industry.

In a cloud computing system, there's a significant workload shift. Local computers no longer have to do
all the heavy lifting when it comes to running applications. The network of computers that make up the
cloud handles them instead. Hardware and software demands on the user's side decrease. The only
thing the user's computer needs to be able to run is the cloud computing systems’ interface software,
which can be as simple as a Web browser, and the cloud's network takes care of the rest.
There's a good chance you've already used some form of cloud computing. If you have an e-mail account
with a Web-based e-mail service like Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail or Gmail, then you've had some experience
with cloud computing. Instead of running an e-mail program on your computer, you log in to a Web
e-mail account remotely. The software and storage for your account doesn't exist on your computer --
it's on the service's computer cloud.

Although cloud computing is an emerging field of computer science, the idea has been around for a few
years. It's called cloud computing because the data and applications exist on a "cloud" of Web servers.

When talking about a cloud computing system, it's helpful to divide it into two sections: the front end
and the back end. They connect to each other through a network, usually the Internet. The front end is
the side the computer user, or client, sees. The back end is the "cloud" section of the system.

The front end includes the client's computer (or computer network) and the application required to
access the cloud computing system. Not all cloud computing systems have the same user interface.
Services like Web-based e-mail programs leverage existing Web browsers like Internet Explorer or
Firefox. Other systems have unique applications that provide network access to clients.

Most of the time, servers don't run at full capacity. That means there's unused processing power going
to waste. It's possible to fool a physical server into thinking it's actually multiple servers, each running
with its own independent operating system. The technique is called server virtualization. By maximizing
the output of individual servers, server virtualization reduces the need for more physical machines.

On the back end of the system are the various computers, servers and data storage systems that create
the "cloud" of computing services. In theory, a cloud computing system could include practically any
computer program you can imagine, from data processing to video games. Usually, each application will
have its own dedicated server.

A central server administers the system, monitoring traffic and client demands to ensure everything
runs smoothly. It follows a set of rules called protocols and uses a special kind of software called
middleware. Middleware allows networked computers to communicate with each other.

Grids, Clouds and Utilities, Oh My!

Cloud computing is closely related to grid computing and utility computing. In a grid computing system,
networked computers are able to access and use the resources of every other computer on the
network. In cloud computing systems, that usually only applies to the back end. Utility computing is a
business model where one company pays another company for access to computer applications or data

If a cloud computing company has a lot of clients, there's likely to be a high demand for a lot of storage
space. Some companies require hundreds of digital storage devices. Cloud computing systems need at
least twice the number of storage devices it requires to keep all its clients' information stored. That's
because these devices, like all computers, occasionally break down. A cloud computing system must
make a copy of all its clients' information and store it on other devices. The copies enable the central
server to access backup machines to retrieve data that otherwise would be unreachable. Making copies
of data as a backup is called redundancy.

Cloud Computing Applications
Who's Who in Cloud Computing

Some of the companies researching cloud computing are big names in the computer industry. Microsoft,
IBM and Google are investing millions of dollars into research. Some people think Apple might
investigate the possibility of producing interface hardware for cloud computing systems.

The applications of cloud computing are practically limitless. With the right middleware, a cloud
computing system could execute all the programs a normal computer could run. Potentially, everything
from generic word processing software to customized computer programs designed for a specific
company could work on a cloud computing system.

Why would anyone want to rely on another computer system to run programs and store data? Here are
just a few reasons:

Clients would be able to access their applications and data from anywhere at any time. They could
access the cloud computing system using any computer linked to the Internet. Data wouldn't beconfined
to a hard drive on one user's computer or even a corporation's internal network.

It could bring hardware costs down. Cloud computing systems would reduce the need for advanced
hardware on the client side. You wouldn't need to buy the fastest computer with the most memory,
because the cloud system would take care of those needs for you. Instead, you could buy an inexpensive
computer terminal. The terminal could include a monitor, input devices like a keyboard and mouse and
just enough processing power to run the middleware necessary to connect to the cloud system. You
wouldn't need a large hard drive because you'd store all your information on a remote computer.

Corporations that rely on computers have to make sure they have the right software in place to achieve
goals. Cloud computing systems give these organizations company-wide access to computer
applications. The companies don't have to buy a set of software or software licenses for every
employee. Instead, the company could pay a metered fee to a cloud computing company.

Servers and digital storage devices take up space. Some companies rent physical space to store servers
and databases because they don't have it available on site. Cloud computing gives these companies the
option of storing data on someone else's hardware, removing the need for physical space on the front
Corporations might save money on IT support. Streamlined hardware would, in theory, have fewer
problems than a network of heterogeneous machines and operating systems.

If the cloud computing system's back end is a grid computing system, then the client could take
advantage of the entire network's processing power. Often, scientists and researchers work with
calculations so complex that it would take years for individual computers to complete them. On a grid
computing system, the client could send the calculation to the cloud for processing. The cloud system
would tap into the processing power of all available computers on the back end, significantly speeding
up the calculation.

Cloud Computing Concerns
Private Eyes Are Watching You

There are a few standard hacker tricks that could cause cloud computing companies major headaches.
One of those is called key logging. A key logging program records keystrokes. If a hacker manages
successfully to load a key logging program on a victim's computer, he or she can study the keystrokes to
discover user names and passwords. Of course, if the user's computer is just a streamlined terminal, it
might be impossible to install the program in the first place.

Perhaps the biggest concerns about cloud computing are security and privacy. The idea of handing over
important data to another company worries some people. Corporate executives might hesitate to take
advantage of a cloud computing system because they can't keep their company's information under lock
and key.

The counterargument to this position is that the companies offering cloud computing services live and
die by their reputations. It benefits these companies to have reliable security measures in place.
Otherwise, the service would lose all its clients. It's in their interest to employ the most advanced
techniques to protect their clients' data.

Privacy is another matter. If a client can log in from any location to access data and applications, it's
possible the client's privacy could be compromised. Cloud computing companies will need to find ways
to protect client privacy. One way is to use authentication techniques such as user names and
passwords. Another is to employ an authorization format -- each user can access only the data and
applications relevant to his or her job.

Subscribing to the cloud computing service own the data? Does the cloud computing system, which
provides the actual storage space, own it? Is it possible for a cloud computing company to deny a client
access to that client's data? Several companies, law firms and universities are debating these and other
questions about the nature of cloud computing.

Cloud computing could turn home computers into simple terminal interfaces. In some ways, this is a
step backward. Early computers included hardwired user terminals. Each terminal had a computer
monitor and keyboard, but they only served as an interface to the main computer. There was no way to
store information locally on a terminal.

How will cloud computing affect other industries? There's a growing concern in the IT industry about
how cloud computing could impact the business of computer maintenance and repair. If companies
switch to using streamlined computer systems, they'll have fewer IT needs. Some industry experts
believe that the need for IT jobs will migrate to the back end of the cloud computing system.

Another area of research in the computer science community is autonomic computing. An autonomic
computing system is self-managing, which means the system monitors itself and takes measures to
prevent or repair problems. Currently, autonomic computing is mostly theoretical. But, if autonomic
computing becomes a reality, it could eliminate the need for many IT maintenance jobs.

There is a noise going about that cloud computing can cut costs, speed implementations, and scale
quickly. However, the noise may be slightly off-the mark—particularly in product pitches!

Just what is Cloud Computing? Search.com provides the following definition, "Cloud computing is a
general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet. These services are
broadly divided into three categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)." The term cloud is used as a metaphor for the Internet, based on the cloud
drawing used to depict the Internet in computer network diagrams as an abstraction of the underlying
infrastructure it represents. Martin Banks, Associate Analyst at Bloor Research for Data Centres, told me,
"I prefer the term Exostructure—an externally sourced (and theoretically limitless) seamless extension
of an internal IT systems infrastructure that delivers information services on a fee-paying basis. This is
looking at the issue from the users' point of view."

Infrastructure-as-a-Service, like Amazon Web Services, provides virtual server instances with unique IP
addresses and blocks of storage on demand. Customers use the provider's application program interface
to start, stop, access and configure their virtual servers and storage.

Platform-as-a-Service in the cloud is defined as a set of software and product development tools hosted
on the provider's infrastructure. Developers create applications on the provider's platform over the
Internet. PaaS providers may use APIs, website portals or gateway software installed on the customer's
computer. Force.com, (an outgrowth of Salesforce.com) and GoogleApps are examples of PaaS.
Developers need to know that currently, there are not standards for interoperability or data portability
in the cloud.

In the Software-as-a-Service cloud model, the vendor supplies the hardware infrastructure, the software
product and interacts with the user through a front-end portal. SaaS is a very broad market. Services can
be anything from Web-based email to inventory control and database processing. Because the service
provider hosts both the application and the data, the end user is free to use the service from anywhere.

A cloud service has three distinct characteristics that differentiate it from traditional hosting.

A user can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any given time; andThe service is fully
managed by the provider (the consumer needs nothing but a personal computer and Internet access).So
what does this really mean to a business? Well, rather than running computer applications on an
in-house computer, you run them on an external machine, which could be anywhere in the world, and
access the application programs via the internet. It also means that the data associated with the
application is held externally to your organisation. So the application is hosted on a server with the
associated data being stored in a database—all on a server run by a third party.

There is just one more piece that we need to understand and that is that a cloud service can be either
public or private. What does this mean? A public cloud sells services to anyone on the Internet. Amazon
Web Services is the largest public cloud provider at the time of writing. A private cloud is a proprietary
network or a data centre that supplies hosted services to a limited number of people. Just one more
term that you need to understand and that is virtual private cloud; this is when a service provider uses
public cloud resources to create their private cloud.

What makes cloud computing so appealing at the moment? In a recent article[1], Nigel Stanley, Bloor
Research's Security Practice Leader, said the following, "In an economic downturn cloud computing
oozes sexiness. The thoughts of off loading your data to a third party gets financial types excited as they
start to see how much money can be saved." Cloud computing means that rather than purchasing
software, which would go on your CAPEX, you pay for it when you use it so it comes off your OPEX
budget instead. Banks feels that, in fact, cloud computing will also reduce your OPEX spend as well as
the implementation costs and associated consultancy costs will be less as well. On one point that Banks
made I am not sure that I would agree with in that he felt the integration cost would also be smaller; I
am not so sure and would advocate budgeting the same as an in-house implementation.

So how can cloud computing be used in manufacturing? CRM has been one of the first areas covered;
this being piloted by salesforce.com with its launch in 2000. Salesforce.com's CRM solution is broken
down into several modules: Sales, Service & Support, Partner Relationship Management, Marketing,
Content, Ideas and Analytics. Salesforce.com's Platform-as-a-Service product (Force.com Platform)
allows external developers to create add-on applications that integrate into the main Salesforce
application and are hosted on Salesforce.com's infrastructure. Salesforce.com currently has 55,400
customers and over 1,500,000 subscribers. Why CRM? Well the answer, in my view, is due to the need
to support a mobile sales force that needs to be able to record information easily and quickly without
necessarily having contact always to the centre. Couple this with the need for the centre to have control
over this distributed workforce and you create an ideal environment for cloud computing solution.

A number of the large ERP vendors, such as SAP, provide cloud capabilities. SAP launched its Business
ByDesign in September 2007. Over the past couple of years Business ByDesign has been plagued by
some really bad press. In September 2009, SAP gave a briefing to the industry on how it was tackling a
number of the issues. These included:

Scalability issues: all customers run on their own blade servers

Overly "feature-rich": the suite was originally designed to meet all of the needs of its customer base
instead of focusing on specific functionality
Lack of corporate commitment: SAP is cutting R&D funding and shifting resources to other products

Runs on NetWeaver: a full instance is too heavy for a SaaS application and finding "cloud developers"
who have full Java EE stack experience may be tough .Infor entered the market in October 2008 with the
launch of a SaaS version of ERP SyteLine. This is a very typical entry from an existing vendor in that it
allows a user to move seamlessly between SaaS and on-premises deployment, or vice-versa.

Microsoft Dynamics entered the SaaS market in 2007 with the introduction CRM Live. This is run at
Microsoft data centres around the world, along with all the other "Live" products such as Live Small
Business Office. Software-plus-Services for Microsoft Dynamics ERP is the new capability being offered.
This allows a user to choose to implement their Microsoft Dynamics software as a wholly-owned on-site
solution, via online services, all or partly- hosted, or in any combination.

Oracle entered the market last year with the introduction of an offering comprising its Oracle Sourcing
and Oracle Sourcing Optimization products. Nagaraj Srinivasan, Oracle's vice president for EBS supply
chain management, in an interview with Managing Automation in March 2009, described the primary
focus as being on automating the transactional aspects of material procurement. The tool can be used
to aggregate demand; determine whether an RFP, RFQ, or other sourcing process is needed; compile
contract terms; notify and qualify suppliers; establish prices and discounts and conduct multi-round
negotiations; and aggregate and award bids. In addition, Oracle is offering CRM as a SaaS, called CRM On

Cloud Computing-based manufacturing solutions are emerging as viable competitors to products from
established vendors. These cloud solutions are most commonly used for supply chain visibility,
transportation management and supplier/contract negotiation. Vendors are rapidly creating cloud
computing modules to address other manufacturing issues, such as: supply chain execution, shop floor
planning, demand planning and production scheduling.

But where else? Christian Verstraete, HP's Chief Technologist for Manufacturing and Distribution
services, believes a couple of areas will quickly become the favourites of manufacturing companies and
these include:

Cross enterprise collaboration. Verstraete sees cross-enterprise collaboration as being a current weak
point in Supply Chain management. The required integrated environment would require the exchange
of structured and unstructured data, of synchronous and asynchronous communication. By integrating
multiple concepts of social networking and providing them in an integrated, cloud based environment,
companies could use a variety of collaboration mechanisms to perform key business processes without
having to manage the environment. Data can be contributed by the parties on request, limiting the
sensitive data in the cloud. Mike Frichol, founder of Pragmatic Papers, stated:[2]. "Cloud computing
provides a geographically dispersed network approach that is much better aligned to serve all these
trading partners trying to communicate with each other through different systems. Supply chains are
networks. Cloud computing comprises networks for delivering business applications anywhere,
anytime—that should significantly improve supply chain capabilities, communication and coordination."
High Performance Computing. Verstraete foresees the needs for additional computing power, as
companies increase the use of digital models to virtually test their products and/or to understand their
business environment better through business intelligence and decision making. The models used are
typically highly parallelizable and fit well for a cloud environment as long as the amount of data they
need to be provided with is not large, when the network could become a bottleneck.

But cloud computing can get a business in hot water if they have not thought through the many
consequences, and this particularly means data security. Stanley states, "Without assurances that
organisational data will be totally secure in a remote site the whole concept of cloud computing is dead
in the water." So securing the cloud is vital for its success. With companies trusting their corporate
data—their most important asset—to third party organisations, what another of my Bloor colleagues,
Peter Cooke, describes as the holy trinity of confidentiality, integrity and accessibility, has to be assured.
The infrastructure underpinning this is Identity Access Management (IAM). Without it, system access
security is non-existent.

Another worry is about the ability of the provider of the service ability to still be around tomorrow.
Raimund Genes, CTO at Trend Micro, the global security company, in a recent eBook[3]. "You need a
provider that will be in business three years from now. When you give up your IT infrastructure, you
need a reliable service provider." Banks stated that "With Cloud Computing you must realize that your
business process in no longer in your complete control. It is wrapped into the cloud service and in the
control of the provider" Therefore it is imperative that when choosing a cloud service provider, you
choose one that is likely to be there for the long-haul, or a supplier that has a strategy to manage the
situation if they are not there. Could we ESCROW agreement for business processes locked in cloud
services?The goal of cloud computing is to provide easy, scalable access to computing resources and IT
services. Cloud computing users gain some significant economic advantages. They have no capital
expenses. They have reduced service costs because of a simplified IT infrastructure. They do not have to
buy systems scaled to their worst case use scenarios, and there is a reduction in large client applications.
The primary disadvantages are the risks associated with Internet reliability, security and access of data,
and the financial stability of the service provider.



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