What do “Gmail”, “Dropbox” and other social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn have in common? They all employ the “Cloud” for storage purposes. Cloud computing – yet another hot topic in the IT world is outsourcing all applications relating to email, storage, networking to cloud providers. Hosting one’s own server and building one’s own infrastructure drains time and money. The primary advantage of using cloud computing is the cost savings for organizations. We will see some of the characteristics of cloud computing along with the different deployment models and security issues relating to cloud computing in this post.
Characteristics of Cloud Computing
According to the NIST website, the important characteristics of cloud computing can be defined as follows:
- Elasticity : When we talk about “elasticity” on the cloud, it means that the cloud can be scaled up and down to meet an organization’s demands. As an example, users can be added and deleted to access the resources on the cloud.
- Measured Service : The amount of resources used by the organization is based on the users and the different types of processing. This is measured by the cloud provider. Organizations then pay for the services that they have used on the cloud.
- Resource pooling : “Resource pooling” is yet another characteristic of the cloud which states that the same resource is served to different clients according to each client’s requirement. This is known as resource pooling by the cloud provider.
- Broad network access : Broad network access can be defined as the accessing of files, emails and other shared resources through different modes (laptops, smart phones etc) and from different geographical locations by different employees of an organization. This enables employees to stay on top of projects in an increasingly networked world.
- On-demand Self service : Access to resources can be changed and more services can be added or deleted at any time and payment will be accordingly adjusted. This is defined as “on-demand self service”.
(The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing)
Having seen the characteristics of cloud computing, we next move onto the different deployment models of the same.
Deployment Models of cloud computing:
The different deployment models of cloud computing can be stated as private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud and community cloud.
Public cloud: In this type of cloud, the resources on the cloud are available to general public. The cloud service itself is managed by a business, academic or government organization. Example of public cloud is AWS or ‘Amazon web services’.
Private cloud: This type of cloud caters to only one organization and its consumers. Private cloud is managed by the organization itself or any third party unit.
Community cloud: Community clouds cater to the needs of organizations with similar interests. They are maintained by one or more of those organizations or by a third party unit.
Hybrid clouds: Hybrid clouds combine the services of public, private and community clouds.
Having seen the characteristics and deployment models of cloud computing we move onto the most obvious concern when data is stored on a cloud – “security”. Data security, network security, physical security and virtualization security are the different security concerns related to cloud data.
Cloud computing and security is another big topic which will form the basis of another blog post. (OpenSource)
The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing. (n.d.). Retrieved from csrc.nist.gov: http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-145/SP800-145.pdf
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