Cloud Computing – A Ready Reckoner

Given the hype around Cloud Computing, it is essential for senior executives to understand and explore the possibilities that it offers before jumping on to the bandwagon. The foundation of an enterprise cloud computing strategy can be arrived at based on thorough evaluation for its ability to deliver agile services, at the right cost and the right service level.

Typically, Cloud computing exhibit the following key characteristics:

  • Shared computing
  • Scalability of all computing resources
  • Self-service / automated portal for selection of components
  • Pay-as-you-go cost models based on time used and resources consumed
  • Consolidated monitoring, accounting and billing, reporting, and feedback systems
  • Location autonomy: service access locally or remotely, independent of geography
  • Everywhere access: the service can be acquired over the network

Now looking at the classic delivery models for Cloud computing: there are numerous technologies, terminologies, methodologies, issues, and deployment models. The three most popular models are:

  1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): These are typical co-location and hosting services – shared, multi-tenant services of the erstwhile ASP model – good examples are Amazon EC2, Go Daddy, for example) shifting from pure-play co-location and hosting to “virtual dedicated” and to.
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS): Application development platform, based on Web Services – examples include VMware, Microsoft, Google Apps, Force.com, etc.
  3. Software as a Service (SaaS): Application delivered directly as a service over the Internet or Intranet. An excellent example is Salesforce.com’s CRM application, various hosted email applications.

Deployment Models
The Deployment models for these services can be categorized based on the privacy, geography and ownership.

  • Private cloud: exposed only to users within an organization. A highly secure cloud with an associated set of security services. authentication, administration, and identity management
  • Public cloud:  this can be an intranet deployment of service for collaboration on public network with appropriate.
  • Hybrid cloud: A combination of internal and external models is known as a hybrid or federated cloud. Citrix Cloud Center is a good example of hybrid cloud.

Potential Organizations for Cloud Adoption
Essentially all types of organization will benefit by adopting Cloud computing, however, the following type will benefit the most:

  • R&D firms who need to remain focused on their core business / area
  • Fast growing businesses with major fluctuation of capacity
  • Start-up firms that need to cut out on capital expenses and plan on per-project basis
  • Businesses requiring stringent Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
  • Business automating new areas of operation which need initial validation
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