Sunday, January 29, 2012

What is the Cloud?

Cloud computing is a product service you use. Hun? Best way to understand what the cloud is to think of it like a utility. We all use utility services like electricity, natural gas, and cable television. Very few of us understand the entire infrastructure of the service. All we know is we turn on a switch we have light, turn up our thermostats we have heat or turn on our televisions and we can see our favorite TV show. 

Cloud computing is the same thing. Any device connected to the Internet can access applications, files, or data. It can access these files by using Cloud computing vendor infrastructure.  The potential for Cloud computing is for IT professionals to stop putting resources (Time and Money) into the infrastructure to support their applications and move those resources into delivering better services for their companies and customers. This can become especially appealing when dealing with large surges in demand or cyclic demand for seasonal products and services.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has identified three service models of clouding computing[1].

1.     Software as a Service (SaaS): If you have used Hotmail, gmail or yahoo mail then you have used Software as a Service. In most cases you have little control over the Service. If you have contracted a vendor to provide SaaS then your Service Level Agreement (SLA) will be your major document what control you have. Make sure if you are entering into an agreement your legal department reviews your SLA.
2.     Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Allows you to deploy our application to a cloud-based host. But does not provide control over operating systems, network servers or storage. In most cases your application is going to be deployed as a virtual instance on your cloud providers infrastructure.
3.     Platform as a Service (PaaS): Provides IT with the most control even limited control over network access, firewalls, etc. You have control over operating system, network servers and storage. You still may be deployed in a virtual instance and you have no control of the underlying hardware infrastructure.

Ok, that that we are on the same page as to what is the cloud, I will be blogging on security and privacy issues concerning Cloud services. So stay tuned-in and please RSS this blog and tell your friends.

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