Cloud Computing

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Cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. Cloud computing is defined as a type of computing that relies on sharing computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. Cloud computing is comparable to grid computing, a type of computing where unused processing cycles of all computers in a network are harnesses to solve problems too intensive for any stand-alone machine. In cloud computing, the word cloud (also phrased as “the cloud”) is used as a metaphor for “the Internet,” so the phrase cloud computing means “a type of Internet-based computing,” where different services — such as servers, storage and applications — are delivered to an organization’s computers and devices through the Internet.
A simple example of cloud computing is Yahoo email, Gmail, or Hotmail etc. All you need is just an internet connection and you can start sending emails. The server and email management software is all on the cloud (internet) and is totally managed by the cloud service provider Yahoo , Google etc. The consumer gets to use the software alone and enjoy the benefits. The analogy is , ‘If you need milk , would you buy a cow ?’ All the users or consumers is to get the benefits of using the software or hardware of the computer like sending emails etc. Just to get this benefit (milk) why should a consumer buy a (cow) software /hardware?

How Cloud Computing Works:-
The goal of cloud computing is to apply traditional supercomputing, or high-performance computing power, normally used by military and research facilities, to perform tens of trillions of computations per second, in consumer-oriented applications such as financial portfolios, to deliver personalized information, to provide data storage or to power large, immersive online computer games.To do this, cloud computing uses networks of large groups of servers typically running low-cost consumer PC technology with specialized connections to spread data-processing chores across them. This shared IT infrastructure contains large pools of systems that are linked together. Often, virtualization techniques are used to maximize the power of cloud computing.
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 system’s 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.

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Types of Clouds:-
Cloud computing is usually described in one of two ways. Either based on the cloud location, or on the service that the cloud is offering.
Based on a cloud location, we can classify cloud as:
public,
private,
hybrid
community cloud
Based on a service that the cloud is offering, we are speaking of either:
IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)
PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service)
SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)
or, Storage, Database, Information, Process, Application, Integration, Security, Management, Testing-as-a-service
When we talk about public cloud, we mean that the whole computing infrastructure is located on the premises of a cloud computing company that offers the cloud service. The location remains, thus, separate from the customer and he has no physical control over the infrastructure.
As public clouds use shared resources, they do excel mostly in performance, but are also most vulnerable to various attacks.
Private cloud means using a cloud infrastructure (network) solely by one customer/organization. It is not shared with others, yet it is remotely located. If the cloud is externally hosted. The companies have an option of choosing an on-premise private cloud as well, which is more expensive, but they do have a physical control over the infrastructure.
The security and control level is highest while using a private network. Yet, the cost reduction can be minimal, if the company needs to invest in an on-premise cloud infrastructure.
Hybrid cloud, of course, means, using both private and public clouds, depending on their purpose.For example, public cloud can be used to interact with customers, while keeping their data secured through a private cloud.

Cloud Services:-
The most popular services of the cloud are that of either infrastructure, platform, software, or storage.
As explained before, the most common cloud service is that one offering data storage disks and virtual servers, i.e. infrastructure. Examples of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) companies are Amazon, Rackspace, Flexiscale.
If the cloud offers a development platform, and this includes operating system, programming language execution environment, database, and web server, the model is known as Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), examples of which are Microsoft Azure, Sales force. Operating system can be frequently upgraded and developed with PaaS, services can be obtained from diverse sources, and programming can be worked in teams (geographically distributed).
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), finally, means that users can access various software applications on a pay-per-use basis. As opposed to buying licensed programs, often very expensive. Examples of such services include widely used GMail, or Google Docs.

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