New to cloud computing?
This guide provides a rapid and thorough grounding in cloud computing with a focus on the basic concepts; terminology definitions; types of cloud platforms, services, and products; how to start developing applications for the cloud; and connections to resources that can further expand your knowledge of the cloud.
Cloud computing is a category of computing solutions in which a technology or service lets users access computing resources on demand, as needed, regardless of whether the resources are physical or virtual, dedicated, or shared and no matter how they are accessed (via a direct connection, LAN, WAN, or the Internet). The cloud is often characterized by self-service interfaces that let customers acquire resources when needed for as long as needed. Cloud is also the concept behind an approach to building IT services that takes advantage of the growing power of servers and virtualization technologies.
Cloud computing's importance rests in the cloud’s potential to save investment costs in infrastructure, save time in application development and deployment, and save resource allocation overhead.
In general, a public (external) cloud is an environment that exists outside a company's firewall, such as a service that a third-party vendor offers. It is also referred to as a shared or multitenanted, virtualized infrastructure managed by means of a self-service portal.
A private (internal) cloud reproduces the delivery models of a public cloud behind a firewall for the exclusive benefit of an organization and its customers. The self-service management interface is still in place, while the IT infrastructure resources being collected are internal.
In a hybrid cloud environment, external services are leveraged to extend or supplement an internal cloud.
When you consider moving to the cloud, the cloud formation you select—public, private, or hybrid—must fit not only your way of doing business but also its scale. A fundamental distinction exists between a consumer-oriented cloud service and one designed for the demands of enterprise businesses.
Is cloud computing the same as Software as a Service? Infrastructure as a Service? Platform as a Service?
Cloud computing has three main delivery models: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and SaaS. IaaS provides the servers, virtual machines, storage capacity, load balancers, and so on. PaaS provides a computing platform and environment that allow you to build applications and services. SaaS, which is where a customer uses a vendor's software via the cloud, has countless permutations. For example, Business Process as a Service helps an enterprise focus on business goals rather than IT deployment by emphasizing the core components of every business solution.
Start with our cloud library for technical articles, tutorials, demos, and other resources. Then, discover the wealth of interactive knowledge we've amassed on cloud computing by networking with your peers in the developerWorks community:
developerWorks cloud communities are designed to provide expert advice on how to streamline and accelerate your development, test, deployment, and implementation knowledge.
Bookmarks lets you and others share cloud-related information from everywhere on the web; sort of like having a library of libraries of resources.
The IBM tech talk series for cloud computing schedules talks related to current trends in cloud computing. These sessions provide information on cloud resources, technologies, as well as new ideas and developing concepts.
Anything can run in a cloud, but that doesn’t mean anything should run in a cloud. Any software that benefits users by being resident on a desktop or workstation (system analysis tools, defragmentation utilities, and so on) would be better off remaining local. Also, sensitive customer data should perhaps not be in a public cloud.
A cloud is right on target for applications that deal with IT management, business and productivity, development and deployment, capacity (server or storage), and collaboration. Collaboration allows for uniformity both internally and externally.
Yes, they can but with a caveat: Cloud vendors need to adopt standards-based technologies to make interoperability and freedom of movement an easily achievable operation, not a strenuous task; adoption of open standards plays an important role. When a new paradigm unfolds and seizes the imagination and the market as cloud computing has done, driving innovation on countless levels, lack of standards eventually becomes an issue. Lack of standards is a growth constraint.
Open standards have been shown to be the most effective means of overcoming this issue. A smooth transition among cloud services requires an open standard that cloud providers embrace, ensuring portability and interoperability.
OpenStack, a nonprofit corporate entity and IaaS cloud computing project managed and administered by the OpenStack Foundation, provides free, open source cloud operating system software designed to support the building of both public and private clouds.
The stated goal of the OpenStack Foundation is "to serve developers, users, and the entire ecosystem by providing a set of shared resources to grow the footprint of public and private OpenStack clouds, enable technology vendors targeting the platform and assist developers in producing the best cloud software in the industry."
With open cloud standards, the fear of vendor lock-in can be addressed. The potent alliance of major information and communications technology (ICT)-related entities that comprise OpenStack facilitates standardization in critical areas such as in agnostic application programming interface development. This is critical to realizing optimal value and utility from the new net-centric global culture, a culture that is dominated by pervasive ICT, the drive for unified communications, collaborative development, and quick analytical and implementation subsystems.
Composed of many leading global enterprises, such as IBM, the OpenStack Foundation is primed to be a hot house for highly innovative production in almost every aspect of modern and near-term ICT.
Big data consists of huge and complex data sets that are difficult if not impossible to process using traditional data-processing or data-management tools. Its use in social media is one example of the importance of big data. Other examples of the use of big data can be found in the financial markets, where huge masses of data have to be processed and communicated to interested parties all over the world.
An absolutely critical aspect of big data processing is the open source Apache Hadoop library framework. Hadoop provides a new way of handling massive data by means of distributed parallel data processing of the data using arrays of servers to store and process the data. This approach allows optimal scalability.
IBM InfoSphere® BigInsights™ is IBM's rendition of the powerful open source Hadoop offering. The enhancements that IBM provides are oriented toward the rigors of enterprise-level ICT functions, guaranteeing a more agile and user-friendly approach to enterprise-level analytics. These are powerful functions of IBM’s approach to enterprise-level administrative, workflow, provisioning, and security features.
Employees of all types are becoming increasingly mobile; as a result, there is a growing expectation that employees and in some instances external stakeholders will be empowered to access specified aspects of private corporate data using mobile devices. IBM has developed powerful assets for cloud and mobile computing and communications. IBM consistently demonstrates its capability to integrate cloud, mobile, application development, security, and analytics capabilities to create marketable value. With IBM MobileFirst solutions, the enterprise management can manage Bring Your Own Device to assure optimum security and functional dependability. These solutions also provide the basis needed for sound mobile commerce software application development.
Given the fast-paced development of global ICT and the increasingly stochastic nature of both the market itself and the larger global systems that radically affect and shape the market, it is essential that enterprise management be flexible, agile, diligent, and decisive in guiding their particular enterprise.
The best policies would have to address the fundamental issues of security, data integrity, access, and other such concerns -- and at the same time allow those who want to log in to a system anytime, anywhere, with any device the maximum flexibility in the how, where, and when they actually access the system. This requires that the approach provide the necessary flexibility, scalability, and general insight to satisfy both management and the needs and preferences of the entire user population of the system.
IBM has several tools that reduce the complexity of cloud management and monitoring:
IBM Tivoli® Service Automation Manager provides the tools you require to administer your cloud computing services, allowing you to automate the provisioning, management, and deprovisioning of your cloud resources.
IBM Workload Deployer is an optional appliance that you can use with Tivoli Service Automation Manager to provide patterns and capabilities for IBM WebSphere® workloads for creating, deploying, monitoring, and managing service construction and delivery within Tivoli Service Automation Manager. Learn how to set up Workload Deployer for a production deployment environment.
IBM Service Delivery Manager is a software appliance that facilitates the alignment of enterprise IT and general business needs with the proper data center formulation and capabilities, accelerating the rate of service platforms for a variety of workload types in the data center.
IBM SmartCloud Provisioning offers combined infrastructure and platform management features that provide repeatable middleware patterns for developing standardized applications, the deployment of fully agnostic hardware and hypervisor configuration, and ease of integration with other service management solutions, thereby enhancing cost containment and overall system monitoring.
IBM SmartCloud Monitoring lets you monitor cloud physical and virtual infrastructure assets, allowing you to oversee not only the physical and virtual components of a cloud but the cloud itself.
IBM SmartCloud Continuous Delivery uses automation to leverage the synergistic interdependence of development and operations processes inherent in the agile production of software and services by enhancing the processes of integration, deployment, testing, and monitoring of deliverable based on the continuous customer feedback the cycles generate.
And it just got even easier to manage a cloud with the introduction of the IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator. At Pulse 2013, IBM announced the beta of IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator, which is based on the OpenStack, Topology and Orchestration specification for Cloud and Open Service for Lifecycle Collaboration. The Orchestrator is a key element of contemporary IT management, implementation, and system consolidation.
Make sure you know what you want and need from your service provider. Analyze the offerings the provider supplies to make sure they fulfill your requirements.
IBM SmartCloud in all of its manifestations is critical to the optimal deployment of modern ICT. The current era is one of great changes sweeping aside all that does not adjust to its general impact on the social, political, and economic ecosystem. The IBM SmartCloud suite of offerings facilitates linking all the stakeholders in a project into a greater synergy—a synergy based on collaborating, rethinking, reinventing, and otherwise priming an enterprise to respond with risk management acumen, overall agility, scalability, extensibility, and maintainability. It is this power of IBM SmartCloud that makes it a driver of social business and general collaboration internal and external to the enterprise. It is the spirit of cooperate-collaborate in the context of amiable competition.
Here are a few articles that can help increase your understanding:
"Optimizing cloud infrastructures" provides insight into many of the systems and resources required to function in the cloud today, from service management and operations to big data and IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator.
Visit Cloud Computing Central to keep up with the new trends, technologies, and best practices being introduced in the cloud space.
"Manage open source development software in the cloud" addresses many of the issues related to development in the cloud and the value of open source technologies.
"Agile DevOps: Continuous software delivery in the cloud" discusses the advantages and use of the continuous delivery platform.
Learn more about open source advantage and why IBM plans for all cloud services and software to be based on open standards.