Term Paper: Cloud Computing

Pages: 11 (2980 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 11  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Education - Computers  ·  Buy This Paper

Cloud computing is a term for a model of network computing that is convenient, on-demand, and allows a shared pool of computing resources that are configurable to the user's needs. These would include networks, servers, storage, applications, and services that may be provisioned and allowed to move through a virtual atmosphere with a minimum of effort and maximum convenience. The idea of cloud computing now fills the perpetual need of information technology -- an easy way to increase capacity and add capabilities whenever needed without the necessity of investing in new infrastructures, training new personnel, licensing new software, and developing and maintaining new hardware protocols. In fact, the very power of cloud computing is that it can be subscription based, pay per use, free, and is usually in real time over the Internet. Cloud computing is, in fact, a robust way of extending IT's existing capabilities (Miller, 2008).

The real power of cloud computing for the everyday user is that it changes the way we store, retrieve, and run applications. Instead of running programs, manipulating data, and multitasking on our individual desktops, everything we need is hosted in the "cloud" -- with far more room and power than our individual systems. And, while some might worry about data being "lost" or compromised, the truth is that with the new internet speeds and security firewalls and protocol, we will be able to access all our applications, documents, and data from any computer or computer device (pad, smartphone, laptop, etc.) anywhere in the world. This actually frees us from our desktop, makes it easier for members of different groups to collaborate, and should, in theory, increase our productivity. In fact, some writers are so enthralled about the possibilities of cloud computing they liken it to:

… the computing equivalent of the electricity revolution of a century ago. Before the advent of electrical utilities, every farm and business produced its own electricity from freestanding generators. After the electrical grid was created, farms and businesses shut down their generators and bought electricity from the utilities, at a much lower price (and with much greater reliability) than they could produce on their own (Miller, p.4).

History of Cloud Computing -- The idea of a "cloud" as a metaphor is based on the way telephone networks were originally visualized and the way the Internet was used in computer networking -- the cloud representing the overall ethereal quality of information being stored "outside" in a cloud. The actual concept dates back to the 1960s, when it was hypothesized that computers might someday be organized just like a public utility. And, in fact, the idea of what cloud computing represents (elastic provision of data, used as a common utility, online, has the illusion of infinite supply, etc.) is almost identical to the revolution in the use of public and private funding for electricity, telephone, and other utilities, although the cloud computing revolution will likely occur far faster. Cloud computing extends the boundaries of usage for the individual user to really limitless (global that is) range (Milis, 2009).

It is, however, difficult to separate the development of cloud computing with the burgeoning evolution of the internet and globalism. We now live in a computerized, Internet based, society based on the paradigm of globalism. The concept of globalization in economic and cultural development is a reality for the 21st century. The Internet and advances in telecommunication has made it easy to do business with any country in the world, to increase cultural and social contact, and to extend more timely communication between individuals. Similarly, the end of the Cold War signaled a different type of realignment of nations -- rather than East West philosophically dividing the world, global cultures are now looking to trade and economic growth to change the pattern of their own structures. The developing world, able to see and hear news and entertainment from the developed world, wants to change. This change resulted in a new and different paradigm for marketing research -- not only in the collection of data (the means), but the review and interpretation of data based on a citizenry that may not be as marketing sophisticated as those in the first world (Keegan and Green, 2010). As the popularity of the Internet grew, and marketing became a necessity, not an option, it was obvious that the Internet was also a superb tool for gleaning more information about the consumer. Here was a relatively captive audience with which one could collect volumes of data very quickly and inexpensively. Too, internet transactions are far more dynamic and less predictable than their physical counterparts -- clicking through and ordering a product has different barriers to entry and psychological pressures than the traditional sales and marketing format.

Ironically, it was the demise of some of the dot commers and the evolution of Amazon.com that played a key role in the development of cloud computing. The face of marketing, however, has evolved rapidly in the late 20th century, and even more in the early 21st century. The primary reason for this, of course, is the drastic changes in technology and communication that impact both the consumer and the entire marketing paradigm. The Internet, for instance, he made the world a global marketplace -- it does not matter where one lives, as long as there is Internet service most software products can be delivered, in other places, as long as FedEx and UPS to an airport nearby, consumers may purchase just about anything. For a company's investment, e-marketing refers to placement of media along differing stages of the consumer cycle: search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), banner ads on specific and targeted websites, e-mail marketing, and Web 2.0 strategies. This new investment changes the way organizations invest advertising dollars, customer definitions, and even sales and distribution channels (Rana, 2009). One superb example of this is Amazon.com. Their software builds a "picture" of the consumer based on their search habits, keywords and, as they purchase more, their buying habits. They also offer other consumer goods, electronic products, and more. Thus, the algorithm allows for someone interested in, say, camping, to receive recommendations on outdoor activities, camping, goods that relate to camping or the outdoors, clothing, and various "niche" publications that might interest them. Not only do suggested works come up when this consumer performs a search, but is also sent future emails and offers dealing with their specific interest. The consumer feels that a more personal approach has been taken toward their needs, and Amazon has quickly helped boost its add-on sales in a short, and relatively easy time (Chaffey, 2003). This tremendous success with a form of cloud computing, of course, spurred others on.

In 2008, Eucalyptus became the first open-source platform programming that allowed private clouds. In the same year, the European Union backed Reservoir/Open Nebula became the first open-source software for allowing the deployment of private and hybrid clouds, and more and more companies globally began to see that cloud computing was an opportunity to "shape the relationship among consumers of IT services, those who use IT services, and those who sell IT services" (Schnurr, 2008). Professionals were amazed than in just a few short months, "organizations were switching from company-owned hardware and software assets to per-use service-based models" which allows "the projected shift to cloud computing….. resulting in a dramatic growth in IT products" in most areas (Gartner Corporation, 2008).

How It Works - One of the first changes the lay user needs to understand about cloud computing is that it is both intelligent and programmable. It is intelligent in the since that with all the various bits of data stores on the computers in a cloud, both data mining and analysis are unnecessary to access that information in a cogent and intelligent manner. It is programmable because many of the tasks necessary to utilize the cloud are, by necessity, automated. So, for example, to protect the actual integrity of the data set, information on a single part of the cloud (one computer) must be replicated on additional computers. If one computer goes offline, then the cloud's programming automatically redistributes that data set to another computer on the cloud without any user influence whatsoever (The Metaphor of Cloud Computing, 2010).

While the concept of cloud sharing is relatively simple the process is fairly complex and did require a certain level of computing and memory power to launch. The front end user interface must first send a request to the system. The system management then finds the resources and provisions the memory. These services work together to reserve the various resources in the cloud, launch the appropriate application and either create or reopen the needed documents. After the Internet application is opened, various monitoring and metering functions track the usage of the entire cloud so that resources may be appropriately allocated. Data is stored on any number of third-party servers, as opposed to the kind of dedicated servers one might be used to in traditional… [END OF PREVIEW]

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