How to take the first steps to a walk in the Cloud?
Cloud Computing is a tech term that we are listening almost every day, but we really know what that is it about? For many people, it is unclear what it is because it is not just a thing, just a technology or even just a concept; actually, it is many components coalescence. Cloud is an umbrella word involving a lot different technology concepts. In few words, it is a model of computer services delivery all over the Internet such as storage, servers, databases, software, etc.
Probably, we are using cloud without notice right now, by reading this article, sending an email, watching a movie or even listening our favorite song. Cloud is making it all possible behind the scenes and its main potential is that computers in it are configured to work together and its applications use collective computing power as if they were running on a single system.
Despite Cloud Computing complexity, it is not so difficult to get started considering we are probably already using it. As it is charged or billed at very low cost based on usage and at first steps we can try out some basics services for free, we can start with a basic technical approach first and then grow in learning and use over time. We can take the first steps to find out how it works and how it might benefit our lives.
Let’s take A Walk in the Cloud.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud Computing is a paradigm that allows offer computing services through internet. It is a model composed by a vast of dynamic technological infrastructures and services supported on virtualization resources, high adaptation capacity and automation degree that fits variable demands.
To make it simpler, basically it is an information technology infrastructure service management across the internet including data storage servers, networking, software, database applications, among others. It involves hardware and software infrastructures and concepts, virtualization technologies and data center facilities. It provides an on-demand availability of system resources as its needed and that is why is often associated with availability assurance and cost and vulnerability reduction. Because mostly came to removes the need to purchase physical servers and serves as an open wide sky of communication.
Cloud computing models
Cloud computing have different models depending on how cloud is deployed and services its provides, not all clouds are the same.
A cloud could deploy its resources in three different known ways:
- Public clouds are available to general public in a large industry group and are owned and provided by a cloud service sales organization. A public cloud is what is considered as the cloud in the usual sense. That is, resources are provided dynamically over the Internet from an off-premises third-party provider that supplies shared resources to many tenants. Examples of public cloud providers are Amazon, Google, Microsoft Azure and Rackspace. Probably, our data are hosted already on their servers.
- Private clouds exist within a firewall and are managed by a proprietary organization in their own Data Center or pay third-party service providers for placing it, avoiding risk of trusting their data to a third party. Yet, they must offer many of the same benefits as public clouds.
- Hybrid clouds are a combination of public and private clouds and use services located either in-premise and a part might be on a public cloud. Management responsibilities are divided between public cloud provider and business itself. By using a hybrid cloud, organizations can determine the objectives and requirements of services to be created and obtain them based on a more suitable alternative.
There is a fourth informal model known as Community cloud where several organizations may start cloud services together which they can use among themselves.
A cloud computing can provide three different types of services:
- Platform as a service (PaaS) provides an on-demand platform infrastructure and software access for applications development, testing, delivery and management. That is servers, storage, network capacity, operating systems but even databases, among others applications. This is a good option for those who want to quickly deploy to web and have little to no experience in systems administration. Examples of PaaS providers are Google App Engine, Salesforce, Heroku, RedhatOpenShift, etc.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) delivers an IT physical infrastructure such as servers, storage capacity, networks, operating systems and virtual machines. With this we do not have to own hardware to run our apps, but instead outsource it to a third party who would be responsible for storing, running and maintaining it. A leading IaaS provider is Amazon with its Web Services and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
- Software as a Service (SaaS) allows use of software applications instead of purchasing it, usually based on a subscription basis. In this schema, software, services related and underlying infrastructure is placed and managed by the provider. SaaS is essentially access to a software application that lets you use some functions without having to maintain it up ourselves. Google is worldwide mostly used SaaS in office automation services with its Google Docs, Google Spreadsheet, among other applications and multiple purposes services like Gmail; even so Facebook, Twitter, and so on.
All of these services models are called a cloud computing stack, because they overlap one into another.
Cloud computing attributes
Whatever cloud computing deployment and services model exists they have to be compliant with the following attributes defined by The National Institute of Standards and Technology:
- On-demand self-service: users can have computing capabilities provisions as needed, both automatically or by demand.
- Resource pooling: offered resources are pooled and dynamically assigned and reassigned according to user demand, this aspect must be hidden and transparent.
- Broad network access: services can to be reached through out internet, all of its access capabilities are available following standard mechanisms on its platforms.
- Rapid elasticity: client IT resources can be rapidly scaled outward or inward as per demand, both automatically or by demand.
- Measured service: services are monitored, controlled and reported for resources usage and needs in a transparent way to both clients and providers. The user will be charged the basis of computing resources used.
Cloud computing is one of the most powerful technologies in IT history, it makes possible:
- Cost saving by its pay per use model.
- Can be accessed through internet promoting device and location independency.
- Increase productivity because providers are responsible of managing and monitoring their services, so we can be more productive in our matter.
- Performance, speed and efficiency of resource usage.
- Provided resources are instantly and dynamically scaled up and down as needed.
- Reliability improves by using multiple redundant sites which provide continuity, backups and disaster recovery.
Most common usages of cloud computing are:
- Apps and services creation and access.
- Websites and blogs hosting.
- Audio and video streaming.
- Data access, store, back up and recover.
- Software on demand access.
- Applications development and testing.
- Big data analytics world starting.
In simpler words, with Cloud Computing we can access our email, online shopping, mobile banking, even our files, etc. anywhere, anytime as long as we are connected to the internet.
How to take a walk in the clouds?
First steps in implementing cloud computing is knowing how it can add value to our lives by identifying possible gaps that can be improved with the adoption of it.
At this point, moving to cloud is inevitable, it is making it all possible behind the scenes. So, it is important learning further about to understand what it is and how can help us. We have to list priorities and establish parameters and then decide which provider and solution is most suitable for our needs, to do this we have to get familiar with a cloud based platform at least. Once identified this, we have to do a progressive strategy migration plan, always being supported by experts and asking for their help in every step. Also, we have to identifying the right when and how to start using this resource; in some cases, this can generate doubts in the head of those who want to start.
We have to remember that cloud is not all or nothing, it gives us flexibility to go little by little. Why not start simply signing ourselves up for a service in a known platform? This might be a nice starting point.
So, we are ready to take a walk in the Cloud.