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Saturday, October 29, 2011

What is Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has become a popular buzzword, but many managers find it confusing. Those old enough to remember time share computing tend to say, “oh, it’s just like timeshare systems we had in old days,” but cloud computing is more than that. It’s w-a-a-y more than lots of users logging into a mainframe through green-screen terminals.
You can understand “cloud computing” better by focusing on just the basics. Let’s start with the physical computer. Whether it’s a laptop, desktop, or a rack-mounted server, at its heart you have the processor, memory, storage, and network connection. On that physical computer you had an operating system -- Windows, Linux, etc. - - and many applications - - email, word processing, spreadsheet, databases.
Along comes the concept of “virtualization” - - the idea that instead of just running multiple applications on a physical computer, you can create “virtual machines”, each with its own virtual collection of memory, storage and network connection, RUNNING an operating system and set of applications. Thanks to the virtualization software, each virtual machine will be able to operate as if it had its own memory, storage, and network connection (or multiple network connections, for that matter).
So virtualization gives you the ability to run multiple “virtual machines” on a single physical machine. You can, in fact, have multiple virutal machines running different operating systems (Windows, Linux, what have you) irrespective of what operating system is running on the underlying physical system. The virtualization is possible through software, for example, VMware or .
There is another element as well - - management software that enables a system administrator to easily create virtual machines and “provision” them - - allocate memory, storage, install operating system etc. on the virutal machines.
Once you have the virtualization software with the management software to easily provision virtual machines, throw in Internet connectivity and you have a cloud - - the term is used because in network diagrams, the Internet is typically depicted by a cloud. You could say “virtualization + great Internet connectivity” = cloud computing - - BECAUSE now users can access your computing resources from anywhere and make use of the capabilities.
All the other terms you hear about cloud computing - - relating to types of service such as infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, or software as a service or <insert your favorite application name> as a cloud… AND terms relating to how they are deployed (read “for whom”) such as public cloud, community cloud, or government cloud or hybrid cloud or, again, insert <your favorite qualifer> cloud (such as Joe’s cloud or Jane and Mary’s cloud) are just qualfiers... at the heart, each must be a “cloud” as I explained earlier -- use virtualization, be able to create and provision virtual machines easily, and have great Internet connectivity.

Here are some more things to help you..

I had presented a talk on cloud computing (it was about IT and Network convergence, which, when I began developing became a presentation on cloud computing) that you may find helpful Below are the slides and then I have the 30-minute video in two parts (had to split into two 15-minute parts) of my talk based on the presentation.

After you skim through the slides (there are only 15 slides :-) you can watch the videos below:
Part 1 of KISDI talk Nov 2010

Part 2 of KISDI talk Nov 2010
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