Cloud Computing Cheat Sheetposted by Anna Mar, March 05, 2013
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
~ Leonardo da Vinci
Cloud Computing is a simple and intuitive concept. However, it's surrounded in so much hype that pundits manage to make it sound complex.
These straightforward definitions may help clear through the hype:
Cloud computing provides services over a network (usually the internet).
The details of how the service is implemented is hidden in "the cloud".
This is a useful abstraction because the users of a cloud don't need to know about the complexity of the cloud's computing infrastructure.
Websites such as Facebook can be considered cloud services.
Clouds should be scalable and elastic. That means that they can bend with demand for the service — scaling up and down.
Scalability is achieved by making many computing resources appear as one.
Cloud providers use a variety of technologies to make this happen. Many of these technologies have been around for a long time (e.g. load balancers).
One of the benefits of cloud computing is the sharing of computing resources. This often means sharing many computing devices amongst many users.
Most cloud providers also have the capability to share a single computing resource amongst many users. This is known as virtualization.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software that's provided as a cloud service.
This typically has several advantages:
It's on-demand. Assuming you don't have customization requirements, you can often start using the service right away.
It's low maintenance. The service provider handles maintenance of the service.
It's reliable. Cloud services typically maintain high availability (they're usually up).
It's easy to buy. Traditional software requires an upfront investment in hardware, software and installation.
Cloud storage is a cloud service that allows you to store information (usually files).
Cloud storage may have other features, such as the ability to keep your files synchronized across all your devices.
The primary benefits of cloud storage are that it enables mobility, collaboration and is highly scalable. Potential concerns include data privacy, security and high bandwidth consumption.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service provides computing resources such as computer hardware and virtual machines as a service.
The main attraction of IaaS is that it allows you to scale up computing resources quickly and efficiently. It also has cost advantages because you can scale down when you no longer require resources.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platform as a Service provides a cloud environment for developing and deploying custom software. In other words, PaaS enables custom cloud services.
Hybrid cloud refers to an architecture that mixes public and private cloud services.
Cloud services that are available on the public internet.
Cloud services that are deployed on a private network (usually owned by a single organization).
Deploying a private cloud means that an organization needs to manage its own software and hardware. However, it allows the organization to share cloud resources internally and control their service levels, data and security.
This is the first in a 12-part series of posts called How to Win at Cloud.
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