Hopefully not, at least until you have taken time out to understand what it means.
Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a metered service over a network cloud (typically the Internet). – Wikipedia
The main keywords in this wikipedia defination are ‘service’ ‘shared’ ‘metered’.
Traditionally, for an IT department to implement a new business application, they would need to acquire compontents such as hardware, operating system, web/application server and database software. This is the product view of computing. The idea of cloud is to free organisations from the need to make all these purchases and rather purchase an Infrastructure service.
As such, the cloud is a massive computing facility (remotely, on the internet or on site), that already has all the Hardware & software components needed to deploy enterprise applications.
A typcial cloud facility is made up of very huge computing resources,thousands of servers, network and storage systems, different types of application servers, web servers and database servers. All that needs to be done is for users to upload their business software into the cloud, and click away the deployment. Selecting their preferred operating system, disk resources, RAM, application server, web server etc. That way, the time to deploy an application is drastically reduced.
The beauty of the cloud however is the fact that you only pay for the computing resources you use and you can pay as you grow. A traditional on site deployment requires you to buy massive hardware upfront in anticipation for future growth, this ties up a lot of IT cash. To move an application into the cloud, all an organisation needs to do is to purchase a cloud service, where they can buy slices of hardware and software resources as needed.
For example, to deploy a heavy financial system software. A business will traditionally buy servers, SAN storage, Application server, (JBOSS, Websphere…), database software & license (Oracle, Mysql), Operating system licence(RHEL, Windows, Unix). Add that to the cost of network devices, monitoring servers etc.
To deploy this same application in the cloud, all they need do is to find a cloud provider (Red Hat, Amazon, Azure) and create an account , through a private WAN or the Internet. They upload their software, then through a GUI, they select all the components they would have bought normally as products. They select their required disk space, desired application and database servers..and then click ‘deploy’…and life is good! Maybe I’ve made it overly simplistic, but that is the cloud.
One of the distinguishing factors of a robust cloud is self-service. With self-service, you logon to the cloud and click away what you need, all by yourself. You don’t need to depend on an Infrastructure expert to add additional resources to your computing infrastructure or to enable additional capabilities. Most clouds today are very elastic, they expand and contrast as the need for computing resources changes. Remember those anonymous attacks on the companies that denied Wikilieaks access? It was said that Anonymous could not take down Amazon cloud with their DDOS attacks because it was elastic.
Cloud has simply commoditized computing. Adding more RAM or Storage to cloud applications is a matter of ”click here to increase your RAM or disk space by 10GB”, and then its done on the fly. That way, users deploy their application with as minimal resources as possible, then increase the resources seamlessly demand increase.
This saves a lot of money as cloud use is metered and users pay only for what they use. Businesses can invest cash wisely and grow their cloud infrastructure proportionately with their business growth instead of having to invest heavily in hardware only for the business to under utilize it. And because cloud resources are from a large pool of computing resources, it is way cheaper for cloud providers to maintain, hence making cloud services to be relatively affordable.
In future posts, I hope to talk about what you should consider before moving your application into the cloud.