What is Cloud computing? Email access may be the simplest use of the cloud, but we’ve come a long way since then. The term “Cloud” has been thrown around way to much and there can be so many meanings. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said to a group of Oracle analysts “The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion.” (Velte). That may be true, so lets try and narrow the meaning of the cloud computing. Cloud computing is a metaphor used to explain a vast network that consists of servers and networks that can be accessed by anyone authorized. There are cloud services popping up all over the place. Most apps are firing up a path by using the cloud to create storage and productivity applications like, Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, Skydrive, Mozy and Cubby. Even games like Candy Crush and Words With Friends are using the cloud for gaming. The social arena of Facebook and Twitter use cloud servers. The list of cloud providers is larger than the population of Honolulu. The idea of Cloud Computing is to have the ability to save and access all your data from anywhere you have a connection to it.
Cloud Components consist of Client Computers, Data Center, and Distributed servers. Each of the components has an important part and specific function depending on the application. Clients are the devices that are at the end user end to manage information. Some of these are mobile device, like iPhone and Blackberry. Thin, which are clients with computers that have no hard drive and access the server and return information on a display. There are many benefits to using a Thin solution, such as lower IT costs, lower hardware cost, security on location, less power consumption, and ease of repair or replacement. Thick, are regular computers that use browsers and applications to connect to the cloud. The Datacenter is a collection of servers that hold the application that you need access to. It can be located in a basement or across the world that you can connect to through the internet. With the IT and invent of virtualization, software enabled, allowing for a multiple of virtual servers running on one physical server. Distributed servers provides for better security and a sound backup should there be a failure at any point with one location. Distributing servers virtually also allows for easy expansion should data increase.
The infrastructure of the Cloud is made up of many parts. In the movie The Matrix, Morpheus explains to Neo, “This is the construct. It is our loading program. We can load anything from clothing, to equipment, weapons, training simulations, anything we need.” (Wochowski). The infrastructure depends on the application and usually how it will be used as well as the dollar value placed on the budget to create it. Cloud infrastructures can be created to meet the need of an in-house or major solution for growth. An example are a home server infrastructure that allows access to movies, music and files throughout the house from different devices, such as desktops, TV, and mobile. Some companies setup an infrastructure exclusively for data storage. For larger example imagine Amazon, Google, Apple and Microsoft, built for the end user experience, expansion and access to large amounts of data from any location with a connection and authorized access.
The security of the cloud are challenging. Every infrastructure has its security measures in place, but even with all the security, if a hacker with malicious intent wants to cause disruption, the hacker will succeed. Some disruption can be accidental like the Heartbleed bug, that left the Transport Layer Security (TLS) vulnerable. Cyber security columnist Joseph Steinberg said that Heartbleed, “Is the worst vulnerability found since commercial traffic began to flow on the Internet.” (Steinberg) Basically everyone connected to the cloud has access to the data stored on the cloud. Law enforcement agencies are also gunning for access to data stored on servers. With this in mind, protecting data can be a full time job securing a cloud. Every business is out there is fighting to keep data secure for the simple reason that the consumer or end user will cease to do business with the company hosting the data.
There are security benefits in centralizing data by putting it on cloud servers. There are, “More than 12,000 laptops lost in american airports every year,” (Velte) so it makes sense that centralizing data can reduce the loss and offer the ability to reproduce valuable personal or business information. There are monitoring security measures in place at the location of servers. Instant Swapover is used to move over data in the case of power or vulnerabilities. Other reasons are logging for storage increase, secure builds, security software and security testing. SaaS providers do not bill you, they are like the angels on your shoulder, in the same pool protecting the cloud and end users. PaaS gives the ability to the consumer is there as well to create the cloud code. These measures are all in place to secure the interest and cloud data.
In conclusion there are many applications and solutions for the use of the cloud. Whether it’s Wall Street handling money markets, Apple securing a backup of multimedia, or Google App Engine offering cloud solutions, there is an infrastructure handling data on multiple virtual servers almost everywhere. I’m using the cloud to write up this report using iCloud Pages through my web browser that automatically saves my data after every entered character, that makes this service pretty valuable to me. Personal, education and business are examples of the use of the cloud. Cloud solutions and services growing and providing business everywhere you look, for the simple reason that the benefits weigh in favor of security and convenience of data access.
Velte, Anthony T., “Cloud Computing – A Practical Approach,” 2010, Pg. 3
Wachowski, Larry and Andy, “The Matrix,” Film, March 1999
Steinberg, Joseph, “Massive Internet Security Vulnerability – Here’s What You Need To Do,” Forbes, April 10, 2014
Velte, Anthony T., “Cloud Computing – A Practical Approach,” 2010, Pg. 38