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Cloud Computing

Cloud computing a fresh approach to the IT ecosystem

Cloud computing has emerged at an inflexion point in the industry and our lives, where information technology (IT) is all prevalent and is no longer the panacea for all industry ills. The acceptance of cloud computing as a mainstream technology is gaining momentum rapidly because of a strong alignment between clouds computing and the demands of an enterprise. It is interesting to note that we have all been touched by cloud computing in some way or the other, irrespective of whether or not we are aware of it. Every time we access emails through applications like Gmail and Yahoo, view content on YouTube and Flikr, or post on Facebook, we are making use of cloud computing.

The term cloud is analogical to Internet. The term Cloud Computing is based on cloud drawings used in the past to represent telephone networks and later to depict internet in. Cloud computing is network based computing where virtual shared servers provide software, infrastructure, platform, devices and other resources and hosting to customers on a pay-as-you-use basis. All information that a digitized system has to offer is provided as a service in the cloud computing model. Users can access these services available on the Internet cloud without having any previous know-how on managing the resources involved. Thus, users can concentrate more on their core business processes rather

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than spending time and gaining knowledge on resources needed to manage their business processes. Hence, Cloud computing is defined as a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources viz., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services, that can rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

Characteristics of cloud computing:

On-demand self-service: A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed- automatically without requiring human interaction with each services provider. Broad network access: Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by client platforms (e.g., mobile phones, laptops, and PDAs). Resource pooling: The providers computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. Rapid elasticity: Capabilities can be rapidly and elastically provisioned, in some cases automatically, to quickly scale out and rapidly released to quickly scale in. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear unlimited and can be purchased in any quantity at any time. Measured service: Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). The provider and consumer can monitor, control, and report resource usage, thus providing transparency of the utilized service.
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Cloud Architecture:
Cloud computing architecture consists of mainly two components (somewhat same as Client-Server architecture), the front end and the back end. The front end comprises the clients device and some applications are needed for accessing the cloud computing system. Back end refers to the cloud itself which may encompass various computer machines, data storage systems and servers. The whole system is administered via a central server that is also used for monitoring clients demand and traffic ensuring smooth functioning of the system. A special type of software called Middleware is used to allow computers that are connected on the network to communicate with each other. Cloud computing system also provides data redundancy, i.e., making copy of its client data to restore the service which may arise due to breakdown.

Cloud service models:

There are four types of cloud service models (or nature of relationship between cloud client and provider) - public, private, community and hybrid- have different sets of costs and benefits.

1 Public cloud service model:

This type of model is probably what many people would consider the archetypal model of cloud computing. In the public cloud model, a provider sells cloud services to multiple unrelated clients, or tenants. They leave back-end maintenance and operations to the cloud provider. This arrangement is very costeffective. However, the trust factor, in fundamental cloud security
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challenges is most problematic in this model. e.g., Amazon, Google Apps, Window Azure.

2 Private cloud service model:

A private cloud can be operated by the same organization that uses it, or a dedicated provider can operate the cloud on the organizations behalf. A private cloud, when managed properly, is the most secure type of cloud service model because it is directly controlled by its client. Private clouds also make more efficient use of physical IT. For organizations with less sensitive assets, putting everything in a private cloud may create unnecessary costs, inefficiencies, and redundancy. e.g., eBay.

3 Community cloud service model:

A community cloud is somewhere on the continuum between the public and private service models, and it enjoys some of the benefits of both. Like a public cloud, community clouds serve multiple tenants. The difference is that the tenants are not strangers but related entities that share common characteristics and needs. Unlike public clouds, community clouds are built and operated on the clients terms: they can be constructed to facilitate compliance with standards that all clients use. Of all the cloud models, the community cloud is most similar to time-sharing in terms of the level of trust between all stakeholders. This type of cloud also offers many of the economic advantages of the public cloud because it eliminates a considerable amount of redundant effort and cost.

4 Hybrid cloud service model:

The last type of service model is a hybrid cloud, which combines two or more of the service models described above. An organization could, for example, keep sensitive proprietary data in its own private cloud and collaborate on projects with industry partners in a community cloud. For users belonging to the organization, these two clouds would, in effect, be seamlessly integrated through a single sign-on system. The problem with hybrid
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clouds is that they share vulnerabilities in the systems least secure areas and present new vulnerabilities. For instance, if it is easy for a user to switch between clouds on his or her desktop computer, it is also easy for that user to make a mistake and expose sensitive data.

Cloud computing models:

Cloud computing providers offer their services according to three fundamental models: Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). These three models differ in the amount of control that client have over their information, and conversely, how much client expect from the provider.

1 Software as a Service:
In this model, cloud providers install and operate application software in the cloud and cloud users access the software from cloud clients. The cloud users do not manage the cloud infrastructure and platform on which the application is running. This eliminates the need to install and run the application on the cloud user's own computers simplifying maintenance and support. What makes a cloud application different from other applications is its elasticity (data store). This can be achieved by cloning tasks onto multiple virtual machines at run-time to meet the changing work demand. To accommodate a large number of cloud users, cloud applications can be multitenant, that is, any machine serves more than one cloud user organization. In a SaaS agreement, clients have the least control over the cloud. Highest-profile examples are, Google's Gmail and Apps, instant messaging from AOL, Yahoo and Google, and VoIP from Vonage and Skype.

2 Platform as a Service:
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A PaaS system goes a level above the Software as a Service setup. A PaaS provider gives subscribers access to the components that they require to develop and operate applications over the internet. In the PaaS model, cloud providers deliver a computing platform and/or solution stack typically including operating system, programming language execution environment, database, and web server. Application developers can develop and run their software solutions on a cloud platform without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software layers. Well known providers would include Microsoft's Azure, Salesforce's, Google Maps, ADP Payroll processing, and US Postal Service offerings.

3 Infrastructure as a Service:
In this most basic cloud service model, cloud providers offer computers as physical or more often as virtual machines, raw (block) storage, firewalls , load balancers, and networks. IaaS providers supply these resources on demand from their large pools installed in data centers. To deploy their applications, cloud users then install operating system images on the machines as well as their application software. In this model, it is the cloud user who is responsible for patching and maintaining the operating systems and application software. Cloud providers typically bill IaaS services on a utility computing basis, that is, cost will reflect the amount of resources allocated and consumed. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is a platform through which businesses can avail equipment in the form of hardware, servers, storage space etc. at pay-per-use service. The cloud provider has less control in an IaaS system than with an SaaS agreement. Vendors would include (Elastic Compute Cloud [EC2] and Simple Storage), IBM and other traditional IT vendors.
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Challenges in the cloud security:

The service provider is responsible for maintaining, upgrading, and securing the hardware and software (where applicable) on which the service runs. Ideally, this setup allows users to stop worrying about the security of their information assets by leaving them in more competent hands. However, cloud computing presents a variety of information assurance (IA) challenges. One salient feature of this model was trust and this trust, or lack thereof, is a factor in all five of the fundamental cloud security challenges. These challenges all involve uncertainties about the providers standard of care and how the provider will treat the client (and the clients data) in the event of a problem. Data protection: o Where do data physically reside, and does the datas location have legal ramifications? o Are data safely protected (i.e., by encryption) while stationary or in motion within and across the cloud? o How is availability of data assured in the cloud? o Does the provider take measures to ensure that deleted data is not recoverable? Security control: o What security controls does the cloud provider need to implement, and how? o How assurance levels are effectively and efficiently managed in the cloud? Compliance: o Is the cloud complying with all the necessary guidance? o Can the provider substantiate claims that security controls are implemented sufficiently? Multi-tenancy:
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o Are my assets vulnerable if another client is exploited by an attack? o How does the cloud provider keep different clients data separated and inaccessible from other clients? o If a forensic/electronic discovery procedure is conducted on one clients data, how will the provider protect the confidentiality of other clients data? Security governance: o Who owns/accesses/deletes/replicates data in the cloud? o How can the client ensure policy enforcement? o How can the client measure and track service/network performance?

Cloud computing market size

According to study conducted by Forbes, the global market for enterprise cloud-based services will grow from $12.1 billion in 2010 to $35.6 billion in 2015. The year-on-year growth rate will be 43% in 2011, but will decrease to 13% over the next five years. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) will account for 70% of revenue in 2010, while 30% will be related to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).

Top 10 cloud computing service providing companies in India

Cloud computing in India could be a billion dollar market, smelling this prospect more and more companies are starting to provide cloud computing based services to Indian website owners and business houses. Here, there is a list of top 10 cloud computing providers in India looking to match and compete against world class

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cloud venders such as Microsoft,, Google or Amazon etc. Infosys Technologies Organizations choose this company to take its cloud computing services effectively and selectively. Large numbers of organizations are already associated with the company which is based in Bangalore. Reliance DataCenter based on the Microsoft platform for Enterprises and SMBs is offering its Reliance Cloud Computing Services under the banner of small division of Reliance Communications. RDC is getting popularity all over India because it has the potential of delivering largest cloud infrastructure. Synage the company is based in Mumbai, India is offering DeskAway as the flagship products of the company. Its service name is SaaS which is delivered all over the world over the internet. It is available on zero installation charges, but you have to pay monthly or yearly subscription charges. Netmagic Solutions does not have the potential of competing with other providers but it is determined to become a big provider in future with collaboration with established giants providing cloud services. Wipro Technologies is preferred because it has adopted new and very common trends in open standards and software engineering. The company is offering its services as Wipro w-SaaS. SynapseIndia is the place where clients are not supposed to have to set up their own server. It is a cloud hosted service which allows clients to access their own server in short time period. TCS is the place where client can get end to end IT solution to any problem, for example, clients have business software, bandwidth, network and different types of hardware. It is offering IaaS+aaS.

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OrangeScape is known to have made different complex business solutions applications in several industries. Numbers of world class clients are associated with the company. Wolf Frameworks browser based on demand platform provides reasonable cloud services. The company was founded in 2006 and since then has been delivering software and services for different applications. Zenith InfoTech one of the best Indian companies offering IaaS is known for its high ambitions in IT and long list of clients. This company is expecting more clients in few years.

To summarize, the cloud provides many options for the everyday computer user as well as large and small businesses. It opens up the world of computing to a broader range of uses and increases the ease of use by giving access through any internet connection. However, with this increased ease also come drawbacks. Client has less control over who has access to information and little to no knowledge of where it is stored. The cloud is a big target for malicious individuals and may have disadvantages because it can be accessed through an unsecured internet connection.

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