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Multiple Server-Based Computational Resources

2012-04-16


In my opinion, cloud computing would be considered as a greatest advancement in the information and communications technology industry over the last 10 years.

Cloud computing refers to the use and access of multiple server-based computational resources via a digital network. Cloud users may access the server resources using a computer, notebook, pad computer, smart phone, or other device. In cloud computing, applications are provided and managed by the cloud server and data is also stored remotely in the cloud configuration. Users do not download and install applications on their own device or computer; all processing and storage is maintained by the cloud server. The on-line services may be offered from a cloud provider or by a private organization.
The underlying concept of cloud computing dates back to the 1960s, when John McCarthy opined that "computation may someday be organized as a public utility." However, only in 2006, Amazon initiated a new product development effort to provide cloud computing to external customers, and launched Amazon Web Service (AWS) on a utility computing basis. In 2007, Google, IBM and a number of universities embarked on a large-scale cloud computing research project.[1] In early 2008, Eucalyptus became the first open-source, AWS API-compatible platform for deploying private clouds. In early 2008, OpenNebula, enhanced in the RESERVOIR European Commission-funded project, became the first open-source software for deploying private and hybrid clouds, and for the federation of clouds.[2] In the same year, efforts were focused on providing QoS guarantees (as required by real-time interactive applications) to cloud-based infrastructures, in the framework of the IRMOS European Commission-funded project.[3] By mid-2008, Gartner saw an opportunity for cloud computing "to shape the relationship among consumers of IT services, those who use IT services and those who sell them"[4] and observed that "organizations are switching from company-owned hardware and software assets to per-use service-based models" so that the "projected shift to cloud computing ... will result in dramatic growth in IT products in some areas and significant reductions in other areas."[5]

In the past computing tasks such as word processing were not possible without the installation of application software on a user's computer. A user bought a license for each application from a software vendor and obtained the right to install the application on one computer system. With the development of local area networks (LAN) and more networking capabilities, the client-server model of computing was born, where server computers with enhanced capabilities and large storage devices could be used to host application services and data for a large workgroup. Typically, in client-server computing, a network-friendly client version of the application was required on client computers which utilized the client system's memory and CPU for processing, even though resultant application data files (such as word processing documents) were stored centrally on the data servers. Multiple user licenses of an application were purchased for use by many users on a network.
Cloud computing differs from the classic client-server model by providing applications from a server that are executed and managed by a client's web browser, with no installed client version of an application required. Centralization gives cloud service providers complete control over the versions of the browser-based applications provided to clients, which removes the need for version upgrades or license management on individual client computing devices. The term "software as a service" (SaaS) is sometimes used to describe application programs offered through cloud computing. A common shorthand for a provided cloud computing service (or even an aggregation of all existing cloud services) is "The Cloud".

Any computer or web-friendly device connected to the Internet may access the same pool of computing power, applications, and files in a cloud-computing environment. Users may remotely store and access personal files such as music, pictures, videos, and bookmarks; play games; or do word processing on a remote server. Data is centrally stored, so the user does not need to carry a storage medium such as a DVD or thumb drive. Desktop applications that connect to internet-host email providers may be considered cloud applications, including web-based Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo email services. Private companies may also make use of their own customized cloud email servers for their employees.
Consumers now routinely use data-intensive applications driven by cloud technology that may have been previously unavailable due to cost and deployment complexity. In many companies, employees and company departments are bringing a flood of consumer technology into the workplace, which raises legal compliance and security concerns for the corporation which may be relieved by cloud computing.

Cloud computing technologies have been regarded by analysts as a technological evolution. I believe the cloud computing will play an important role in our daily life in the future.