Enterprises strive to reduce computing costs. Many start by consolidating their IT operations and later introducing virtualization technologies. Cloud computing takes these steps to a new level and allows an organization to further reduce costs through improved utilization, reduced administration and infrastructure costs, and faster deployment cycles. The cloud is a next generation platform that provides dynamic resource pools, virtualization, and high availability.
Cloud computing describes both a platform and a type of application. A cloud computing platform dynamically provisions, configures, reconfigures, and deprovisions servers as needed. Cloud applications are applications that are extended to be accessible through the Internet. These cloud applications use large data centers and powerful servers that host Web applications and Web services.
Benefits for cloud computing :
Allow enterprises to achieve more efficient use of their IT hardware and software investments.
Cost efficient model for delivering information services, reducing IT management complexity, promoting innovation, and increasing responsiveness through real-time workload balancing.
Anatomy of a cloud :
Application Services : The application services layer hosts applications that fit the SaaS model. These are applications that run in a cloud and are provided on demand as services to users.
Platform Services :This is the layer in which we see application infrastructure emerge as a set of services. This includes but is not limited to middleware as a service, messaging as a service, integration as a service, information as a service, connectivity as a service, and so on.
Infrastructure Services : Here, we see a set of physical assets such as servers, network devices, and storage disks offered as provisioned services to consumers
Type of Clouds :
Public Clouds: These are cloud services provided by a third party (vendor). They exist beyond the company firewall, and they are fully hosted and managed by the cloud provider.
Private Clouds: These are cloud services provided within the enterprise. These clouds exist within the company firewall and they are managed by the enterprise.
Hybrid Clouds: These are a combination of public and private clouds. These clouds would typically be created by the enterprise, and management responsibilities would be split between the enterprise and public cloud provider. The hybrid cloud leverages services that are in both the public and private space.
Some of the IT roles :
Cloud Service Manager
Cloud Data Architect
Cloud Application Architect
Cloud infrastructure is not very useful without software applications that run on top of them, and cloud applications are not very valuable without access to the critical corporate data that is typically locked away in various on premise systems.
For cloud applications to offer maximum value to their users, they need to provide a simple mechanism to import or load external data, export or replicate their data for reporting or analysis purposes, and to keep their data synchronized with on premise applications.
This requires tools and platforms that can integrate the public cloud with in-house systems or private clouds of the enterprises.
Some of the leading platforms are Atmosphere, Azure Platform App Fabric, Amazon SQS and Google App Engine for Business.