Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Cloud Computing 2. Ground level

‘Cloud computing is a type of computing that provides simple, on-demand access to pools of highly elastic computing resources. These resources are provided as a service over a network (often the Internet), and are now possible due to a series of innovations across computing technologies, operations, and business models. Cloud enables the consumers of the technology to think of computing as effectively limitless, of minimal cost, and reliable, as well as not be concerned about how it is constructed, how it works, who operates it, or where it is located’.

This did not help much though when it came to a complete non-tech person. So, I again use an example that was used in the seminar I attended. Consider your work place in an IT company, you may be availing a lot of services such as email and intranet sitting at your computer. If you are accessing a leave management system like I did some time ago, you could look at the back of your computer and see a network cable. Following the cable you end up on the socket on the wall and then you plough out the lines and still follow them to a switch then to a router and you finally find yourself in the server room of your company. Then, you follow the cables to the server that, was hosting the leave application software for everyone in that location. So you have pin pointed the fixed server/hardware, the room, the air conditioning, the people who maintain that (by this time you should have met them), saw the power supply, back-up and the like. Now you get the general idea. You, the user, located it feeling.
Now, if you ended up in huge warehouse with containers upon containers (holding the cable of course), and you see that, there is a lot of hardware with thousands of network connections going to as many stacks and you simply cannot pin point which one is your application server by yourself then, you are dealing with a cloud. Basically, you may have ended up with something like this.

There is a video of the Google Datacenter too.

Notice/see the mentioning of network, storage, cooling, power supply etc which you might have located in your server room too but, in a minute scale compared to this. So your data, application are on some server that is in this huge software + hardware infrastructure. There might be someone else’s data, application residing there too.
So did this explain the concept? It does not seem to be so very new outright but, the approach as we will see to utilizing such hardware software infrastructure and deriving advantages from it is new.

Cloud Computing - 1 The beginning

I have been reading up on a number of stuff the past couple of months and have consolidated stuff to put on my blog. One of the topics is cloud computing. This was rather vague in the sense that, if, I referred to any material couple of years back I used to get different ideas. But, a seminar I attended recently helped me to get some basic ideas to build upon.

What is there so much to understand about cloud computing? You may ask. Rather than being able to work with it in all its glory, you would be better off if, you can explain simply and clearly to an executive, preferably from a non-IT background, about the what is, how, why of cloud computing. Not agreeing to this? A lot of literatures just do this and only this. Why? Because as long as the execs don’t see the up-side, no computing is going to take off. So explaining the whole idea, selling cloud seems to be challenge I am facing now. So who started all this? A colleague some time ago asked how I would explain cloud computing to my grandma and expect her to figure out some advantage on her own. I am never going be able to explain to my grandma because, she is not around. But, the idea was still hanging around. After this, I just continued with my reading to understand cloud more and pursue some development too.

The rest of the stuff such as developing something to run on the cloud for an example, using the Google App Engine etc is left to books and technology literature directed at the tech people. I am going through these too and will put on some stuff as I progress. These will be totally technical and nothing in the direction of the para above.

The next few blogs would focus on specific aspects/points that, I got from my literature review which I did not come across in general.