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Transforming IT with Cloud Computing

A Technical Paper by:

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Neha Singh

JSS Academy of Technical Education, Noida

Cloud computing is the set of disciplines, technologies, and business models used to deliver IT capabilities (software, platforms, hardware) as an on-demand, scalable, elastic service. Cloud computing is internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand, like electricity. It refers to both the applications delivered as services over the Internet and the hardware and systems software in the datacenters that provide those services. It describes a new supplement, consumption and delivery model for IT services based on the Internet, and it typically involves the provision of dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources as a service over the Interne. It is a byproduct and consequence of the ease-of-access to remote computing sites provided by the Internet. Cloud Computing, the long-held dream of computing as a utility, has the potential to transform a large part of the IT industry, making software even more attractive as a service and shaping the way IT hardware is designed and purchased. Developers with innovative ideas for new Internet services no longer require the large capital outlays in hardware to deploy their service or the human expense to operate it. They need not be concerned about over provisioning for a service whose popularity does not meet their predictions, thus wasting costly resources, or underprovisioning for one that becomes wildly popular, thus missing potential customers and revenue. Moreover, companies with large batch-oriented tasks can get results as quickly as their programs can scale, since using 1000 servers for one hour costs no more than using one server for 1000 hours. This elasticity of resources, without paying a premium for large scale, is unprecedented in the history of IT.

What is a cloud?
The term cloud is used as a metaphor for the Internet, based on the cloud drawing used in the past to represent the telephone network, and later to depict the Internet in computer network diagrams as an abstraction of the underlying infrastructure it represents. Typical cloud computing providers deliver common business applications online which are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on servers.

A technical definition of a cloud is "a computing capability that provides an abstraction between the computing resource and its underlying technical architecture (e.g., servers, storage, networks), enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction." This definition states that clouds have five essential characteristics: On-demand: Consumers have the ability to use cloud services as needs arise Self-service: Increases IT agility to match the pace of business Scalable: Cloud service appears infinitely scalable to consumers Elastic: Consumers can rapidly provision and de-provision IT services Measured service: Vendors charge consumers based on the amount of resources used Virtualized and dynamic: Virtualization creates a dynamic environment for quick resource provisioning and better resource management

Deployment Models
Public Cloud: Public cloud or external cloud describes cloud computing in the traditional mainstream sense, whereby resources are dynamically provisioned on a fine-grained, self-service basis over the Internet, via web applications web services, from an off-site third-party provider who shares resources and bills on a fine-grained utility computing basis. It is an IT capability as a service that provides offer to consumers via the public Internet. Community Cloud: A community cloud may be established where several organizations have similar requirements and seek to share infrastructure so as to realize some of the benefits of cloud computing. With the costs spread over fewer users than a public cloud (but more than a single tenant) this option is more expensive but may offer a higher level of privacy, security and/or policy compliance. Examples of community cloud include Googles "Gov Cloud". Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud environment consisting of multiple internal and/or external providers "will be typical for most enterprises". By integrating multiple cloud services users may be able to ease the transition to public cloud services while avoiding issues such as PCI compliance. Another perspective on deploying a web application in the cloud is using Hybrid Web Hosting, where the hosting infrastructure is a mix between Cloud Hosting for the web server, and Managed dedicated server for the database server. It is an IT capability spread between internal and external clouds. Private Cloud: Private cloud and internal cloud are used to describe offerings that emulate cloud computing on private networks. These products claim to "deliver some benefits of cloud computing without the pitfalls", capitalizing on data security, corporate governance, and reliability concerns. They have been criticized on the basis that users "still have to buy, build, and manage them" and as such do not benefit from lower up-front capital costs and less hands-on management, essentially "[lacking] the economic model that makes cloud computing such an intriguing concept". It is an IT capability as a services that provides offer to a select group of individuals.

Cloud Architecture Cloud Architecture

Cloud architecture, the systems architecture of the software systems involved in the delivery of cloud computing, typically involves multiple cloud components communicating with each other over application programming interfaces, usually web services.

Cloud computing describes services being provided at any traditional layer from hardware to application. Cloud service providers tend to offer services that can be grouped into three categories: software as a service, platform as a service, and infrastructure as a service. Software as a service (SaaS) Software as a service features a complete application offered as a service on demand. A single instance of the software runs on the cloud and services multiple end users or client organizations. The most widely known example of SaaS is, though many other examples have come to market, including the Google Apps offering of basic business services including email and word processing. Although preceded the definition of cloud computing by a few years, it now operates by leveraging its companion, which can be defined as a platform as a service. Platform as a service (PaaS) Platform as a service encapsulates a layer of software and provides it as a service that can be used to build higher-level services. There are at least two perspectives on PaaS depending on the perspective of the producer or consumer of the services: Someone producing PaaS might produce a platform by integrating an OS, middleware, application software, and even a development environment that is then provided to a customer as a service. Someone using PaaS would see an encapsulated service that is presented to them through an API. The customer interacts with the platform through the API, and the platform does what is necessary to manage and scale itself to provide a given level of service. Virtual appliances can be classified as instances of PaaS. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) Infrastructure as a service delivers basic storage and compute capabilities as standardized services over the network. Servers, storage systems, switches, routers and other systems are pooled and made available to handle workloads that range from application components to high-performance computing applications.

Cloud Benefits for IT

In order to benefit the most from cloud computing, developers must be able to refactor their applications so that they can best use the architectural and deployment paradigms that cloud computing supports. Some of the benefits are as follows: Simplifies and Optimizes IT Reduce complexity by abstracting infrastructure Enables IT to offload non-essential IT processes; refocuses staff on driving core business value Allows IT organizations to defer capital costs Cloud services enable act as a release value for data centers that are power and space constrained, deferring new data center construction Converts capital expenses into operational expenses On demand, self-service models increase IT agility Using the cloud, IT organizations can quickly provision IT resources whenever business demands, especially for short-term IT resource needs Reduces run time and response time For applications that use the cloud essentially for running batch jobs, cloud computing makes it straightforward to use 1000 servers to accomplish a task in 1/1000 the time that a single server would require. For applications that need to offer good response time to their customers, refactoring applications so that any CPU-intensive tasks are farmed out to worker virtual machines can help to optimize response time while scaling on demand to meet customer demands. Cloud computing vendors employ highly skilled IT professionals Cloud computing business models require providers to hire, train, and retain highly skilled employees to ensure service quality As cloud computing trust increases, IT organizations will use cloud services as a disaster recovery option Rather than using a co-location facility or a new data center, IT organizations will backup data to the cloud Public and externally facing private clouds can more easily support a mobile workforce Ubiquitous access to external IT services better support mobile workforce than internally hosted IT services accessed via VPN

Drawbacks and Concerns

Some of the concerns relating to the field of cloud computing are as follows: Privacy The Cloud model has been criticized by privacy advocates for the greater ease in which the companies hosting the Cloud services control, and thus, can monitor at will, lawfully or unlawfully, the communication and data stored between the user and the host company. Compliance In order to obtain compliance with regulations, users may have to adopt community or hybrid deployment modes which are typically more expensive and may offer restricted benefits. Security The relative security of cloud computing services is a contentious issue which may be delaying its adoption. Some argue that customer data is more secure when managed internally, while others argue that cloud providers have a strong incentive to maintain trust and as such employ a higher level of security. Sustainability Although cloud computing is often assumed to be a form of "green computing", there is as of yet no published study to substantiate this assumption.

Why cloud computing to transform IT?

A new era is here. Information technology is changing rapidly, and now forms an invisible layer that increasingly touches every aspect of our lives. Power grids, traffic control, healthcare, water supplies, food and energy, along with most of the world's financial transactions, now depend on information technology. An emerging IT delivery modelcloud computingcan significantly reduce IT costs & complexities while improving workload optimization and service delivery. Cloud computing is massively scalable, provides a superior user experience, and is characterized by new, internet-driven economics.

Business needs are straining IT Business dependency on IT continues to grow Business and IT are becoming one As business dependency grows, so do the IT resources necessary to run the business Many organizations have built massive, overly complex, underutilized, rigid IT infrastructure Why we are seeing some IT initiatives Data center consolidation, application rationalization, virtualization These efforts arent enough to stem the tide; revealing some harsh realities IT is too expensive, rigid, and complex Owning and operating IT is an expensive, and time consuming proposition Many data centers are out of power/ space Complex infrastructures decrease the ability to respond to business needs Install new applications, provision additional capacity, and secure their environment Limits business agility and growth Business units are forced to go outside their IT organizations to meet their needs IT organizations have more work than personnel can reasonably manage

Many data centers house extraneous, infrastructure that has nothing to do with the organizations core business From a hardware point of view, three aspects are new in Cloud Computing: 1. The illusion of infinite computing resources available on demand, thereby eliminating the need for Cloud Computing users to plan far ahead for provisioning; 2. The elimination of an up-front commitment by Cloud users, thereby allowing companies to start small and increase hardware resources only when there is an increase in their needs; and 3. The ability to pay for use of computing resources on a short-term basis as needed (e.g., processors by the hour and storage by the day) and release them as needed, thereby rewarding conservation by letting machines and storage go when they are no longer useful.

A variety of factors might influence these companies to become Cloud Computing providers: Make a lot of money. Although 10 cents per server-hour seems low, Very large datacenters (tens of thousands of computers) can purchase hardware, network bandwidth, and power for 1=5 to 1=7 the prices offered to a medium-sized (hundreds or thousands of computers) datacenter. Further, the fixed costs of software development and deployment can be amortized over many more machines. Others estimate the price advantage as a factor of 3 to 5 [37, 10]. Thus, a sufficiently large company could leverage these economies of scale to offer a service well below the costs of a medium-sized company and still make a tidy profit.

Leverage existing investment. Adding Cloud Computing services on top of existing infrastructure provides a new revenue stream at (ideally) low incremental cost, helping to amortize the large investments of datacenters. Defend a franchise. As conventional server and enterprise applications embrace Cloud Computing, vendors with an established franchise in those applications would be motivated to provide a cloud option of their own. For example, Microsoft Azure provides an immediate path for migrating existing customers of Microsoft enterprise applications to a cloud environment. Attack an incumbent. A company with the requisite datacenter and software resources might want to establish a beachhead in this space before a single 800 pound gorilla emerges. Google AppEngine provides an alternative path to cloud deployment whose appeal lies in its automation of many of the scalability and load balancing features that developers might otherwise have to build for themselves. Leverage customer relationships. IT service organizations such as IBM Global Services have extensive customer relationships through their service offerings. Providing a branded Cloud Computing offering gives those customers an anxiety-free migration path that preserves both parties investments in the customer relationship. Become a platform. Facebooks initiative to enable plug-in applications is a great fit for cloud computing, as we will see, and indeed one infrastructure provider for Facebook plug-in applications is Joyent, a cloud provider. Yet Facebooks motivation was to make their social-networking application a new development platform.

New Application Opportunities

While we have yet to see fundamentally new types of applications enabled by Cloud Computing, we believe that several important classes of existing applications will become even more compelling with Cloud Computing and contribute further to its momentum. We examine what kinds of applications represent particularly good opportunities and drivers for Cloud Computing.that will help in transforming IT: Mobile interactive applications Tim OReilly believes that the future belongs to services that respond in real time to information provided either by their users or by nonhuman sensors.. Such services will be attracted to the cloud not only because they must be highly available, but also because these services generally rely on large data sets that are most conveniently hosted in large datacenters. This is especially the case for services that combine two or more data sources or other services, e.g., mashups. While not all mobile devices enjoy connectivity to the cloud 100% of the time, the challenge of disconnected operation has been addressed successfully in specific application domains, so we do not see this as a significant obstacle to the appeal of mobile applications. Parallel batch processing Although thus far we have concentrated on using Cloud Computing for interactive SaaS, Cloud Computing presents a unique opportunity for batch-processing and analytics jobs that analyze terabytes of data and can take hours to finish. If there is enough data parallelism in the application, users can take advantage of the clouds new cost associativity: using hundreds of computers for a short time costs the same as using a few computers for a long time. For example, Peter Harkins, a Senior Engineer at The Washington Post, used 200 EC2 instances (1,407 server hours) to convert 17,481 pages of Hillary Clintons travel documents into a form more friendly to use on the WWW within nine hours after they were released [3]. Programming abstractions such as Googles MapReduce and its open-source counterpart Hadoop allow programmers to express such tasks while hiding the operational complexity of choreographing parallel execution across hundreds of Cloud Computing servers. Indeed, Cloudera is pursuing commercial opportunities in this space.

The rise of analytics A special case of compute-intensive batch processing is business analytics. While the large database industry was originally dominated by transaction processing, that demand is leveling off. A growing share of computing resources is now spent on understanding customers, supply chains, buying habits, ranking, and so on. Hence, while online transaction volumes will continue to grow slowly, decision support is growing rapidly, shifting the resource balance in database processing from transactions to business analytics. Extension of compute-intensive desktop applications The latest versions of the mathematics software packages Matlab and Mathematica are capable of using Cloud Computing to perform expensive evaluations. Other desktop applications might similarly benet from seamless extension into the cloud. Again, a reasonable test is comparing the cost of computing in the Cloud plus the cost of moving data in and out of the Cloud to the time savings from using the Cloud. Symbolic mathematics involves a great deal of computing per unit of data, making it a domain worth investigating. An interesting alternative model might be to keep the data in the cloud and rely on having sufficient bandwidth to enable suitable visualization and a responsive GUI back to the human user. Offline image rendering or 3D animation might be a similar example: given a compact description of the objects in a 3D scene and the characteristics of the lighting sources, rendering the image is an embarrassingly parallel task with a high computation-to-bytes ratio. Earthbound applications Some applications that would otherwise be good candidates for the clouds elasticity and parallelism may be thwarted by data movement costs, the fundamental latency limits of getting into and out of the cloud, or both. For example, while the analytics associated with making long-term financial decisions are appropriate for the Cloud, stock trading that requires microsecond precision is not. Until the cost (and possibly latency) of wide area data transfer decrease such applications may be less obvious candidates for the cloud.

Cloud computing is all the rage. "It's become the phrase du jour," says Gartner senior analyst Ben Pring, echoing many of his peers. Cloud computing comes into focus only when you think about what IT always needs: a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT's existing capabilities. Cloud computing is at an early stage, with a motley crew of providers large and small delivering a slew of cloud-based services, from full-blown applications to storage services to spam filtering. Yes, utility-style infrastructure providers are part of the mix, but so are SaaS providers such as Today, for the most part, IT must plug into cloud-based services individually, but cloud computing aggregators and integrators are already emerging.

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