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Cloud computing – Architecture, Uses and Concerns

cloud_computingIn the middle of this sweltering summers when everyone is looking up to the sky for rain clouds, I though writing about a different kind of cloud. A cloud which might in someways impact the behavior of the rain clouds. Wondering how? You will be able to understand that by the time you reach the end of this article.

Many of you might have already heard about cloud computing. Cloud computing is something which have been there for quite sometime now. But the significance of cloud computing has gained significant proportion in the last few years. So, it is apt to discuss the finer nuances of the topic.

What is cloud computing?

Lets say you have a company of your own. Assume that you have 10 employees to start with. You need computers for each one of them and not only that you also need hardware and software to be installed so that your workforce is able to do their jobs. Now imagine your company growing from 10 to 100 to 1000 to 10000. So you would need to install hardware and software for all these people do make them do their job. Doesn’t that sound scary? Yes it surely does! And with the added requirement of license fulfillment for the softwares, things can become really nightmarish for you. But things are changing and a new wave of technological innovation is emerging to help you out of this suffocating scenario. Its called cloud computing!
Cloud computing enables you to load one application instead of installing a suite of software for each computer. Through this application users can log into a web-based service which will then enable them to access all the programs needed to do their job. These programs are run on remote machines operated by some other company. Its called cloud computing as the data and applications exist in a “cloud” of Web servers.

So here goes some of the advantages of cloud computing apart from the one mentioned above:

    1. The workload is shifted from the local computers to the network of computers that make up the cloud.
    2. Hardware and software demand on the user’s side decreases.
    3. Only thing that the user’s computer needs to run is the cloud computing system’s interface software.

An example of a cloud computing that you might have already come across is the web based email services like Yahoo, Gmail etc. The only thing that you need to do in these cases to use them is to simply log into the web email accounts from your computer.

Architecture of Cloud Computing: ccarch

Lets understand what goes into the cloud computing system. For understanding it in that regard let us divide cloud computing system into two section:

  • Front end
    • The front end as the name suggest is the part that the user sees i.e. the front end includes the client’s computer and the application that he uses to hook up to the cloud computing system.
    • User interface differs for different cloud computing systems. Like a web based email programs leverage existing web browsers like Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox etc. Other cloud computing systems might have their own interface for the user.
  • Back end -
    • On the rear side of things we have various computers, servers and data storage system that gives shape to the cloud in the cloud computing system.
    • Cloud computing system can incorporate any program that you can imagine and typically it have programs ranging from data processing to video games.
    • Each application again have its own dedicated server. This is paramount to handle the load.

Another important component of the cloud computing system architecture is the central server which primarily plays a role of traffic controller. It monitors the client requests and demands and manage the traffic to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
The storage devices also play a very important role in the architecture of cloud computing. Generally a huge storage requirement is there and the system should have almost twice of the required storage space in order to ensure proper back ups.

Where we can use cloud computing?

cloud-computing benefitsCloud computing throws up endless possibilities when it comes to application of the system is concerned. With the right kind of architecture cloud computing can actually execute any sort of program. Lets look at some of the key reasons why one should opt for it:

  • Ease of data access: Data can be accessed at any time from anyplace if you are connected to the internet. You don’t need to rely on your hard drives or other internal networks.
  • Cost of hardware would reduce: The only thing that you need to access the cloud computing system is your computer terminal. You don’t need to worry about other hardware costs.
  • Reduce expense on buying software for multiple computers in the organization. Organization wide access to a all the programs is possible through one application interface.
  • Companies don’t need to worry about the servers and digital storage devices. And in addition to that they don’t need to worry about the physical space required to house these devices.
  • Less maintenance cost. Since you do not have hardware in plenty you save on maintenance cost.

Concerns in Cloud Computing:Business on a laptop

The concerns in cloud computing system are primarily that of security and privacy. It might require sharing of important data with another company and this can restrain the company executives to go for cloud computing. However, it would depend on the reputation of the company offering the cloud computing system whether they are able to allay fears around security and privacy.

Cloud computing has the potential to dismantle the existing structure of many industries like the business of computer repairs and maintenance. However the cloud computing system can eventually have a very significant impact on making this world a greener place to live, as rain clouds does, by minimizing the use of hardware and thus having an indirect impact on the climatic conditions. So, in current context cloud computing not only seems to provide a better alternative of resource management but also a greener alternative and that is important!

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8 Responses

  1. Good Job. Keep Going :-)

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  2. Thanks to everyone for all the praises!! True it is the way ahead and much more sustainable……….

  3. Well articulated, this explains the cloud concept in a very precise and lucid way.
    Cloud computing sure is the next big thing; with biggies like Amazon and Google leading by example, the rest of the world cant afford to be far behind.
    And as the earlier posts have mentioned, your highlighting the “Green” perspective was really refreshing!

  4. an extermely well-written article that is interesting to read, easy to understand and informative even for the technology challenged. No need to refer to any thing else.

  5. Amazing! piece of writing. I read about cloud computing in ET on 25 June Thrusday Lucknow edition in the interview of Prof. Pritwis Mukherjee of IIT KGP. It arose my curiosity about cloud computing.

    This article satiated by hunger and curiosity.I like the way the article starts with the mentioning of raining clouds and then ends with a message to GO GREEN.

    Bravo…keep going

  6. Very nicely written article………. as I had already worked on this type of System but never knew that it was called Cloud computing…………
    dude the pics are really good

  7. Go greeeeeeeeeeeeen!!!!!!!!!! ya tht is what is most important.. I liked the way you ended.. The concept of cloud computing is really cool.. as this will enable lesser e-waste and better management.. The future is cloud computing.. It would be interesting to see how everything shapes up in future.. Very nice article..