The Cloud… Explained

24 January, 2013 | Della Wyler | Uncategorized

In the IT world, “The Cloud” is not a visible mass of frozen crystals made up of water or various chemicals suspended in a limitless sky. Perhaps the only commonality is “limitless”. Cloud computing is internet based computing in which large groups of remote servers are networked to allow for limitless sharing for data processing, centralized data storage, and online access to computer services or resources. “The cloud” allows users to store data on the web and access it anywhere, at any time, from any device. It gained popularity among businesses because it allows for scalability, it’s instant, and it saves money!

Why Cloud?

The cloud actually has nothing to do with the weather or storms. The symbol of the Cloud came from the early days of network design. Some networks hooked to other networks or the internet. To illustrate this connection as part of the design, engineers needed a way to indicate that there was a network but also indicate that they weren’t trying to describe it because it was more than what they knew. They landed on the cloud symbol as a metaphor for the internet.

Cloud Computing Service Levels

There are many types of cloud computing but the three main types include:

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) – This is the base layer, the infrastructure, and includes data-center space, and servers, as well as network hardware equipment such as routers/switches and software for businesses. In this model, all the hardware is outsourced or hosted elsewhere, but the cloud user is still responsible for patching and maintaining the operating systems and the application software. Scalability is a plus here! The user does not need to purchase more hardware or network when space is limited, and they need more computing power. They simply get additional power from the Cloud instantly without having to purchase more expensive equipment. Users are charged accordingly from the service provider or host. One can compare it to be charged for Utilities such as electricity or water. You pay as you use, but are not charged for non-usage.
PaaS (Platform as a Service) – In the PaaS model, cloud providers deliver a computing platform typically including operating system, programming language execution environment, database, and web server. So here the provider basically provides all the infrastructure to the user and the user builds and hosts its platform. 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.
SaaS (Software as a Service) – This is the highest level of Cloud service and is made up of applications that can only be accessed online. If you need to download the software on a computer to use it, verses accessing it through the internet, it’s not SaaS. The best and easiest example of this is email (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail). One of the appealing features of SaaS is that users are not responsible for obtaining licenses, managing software, updates, saving, or backing-up the data. It is the responsibility of the provider (ex. Google or Yahoo). The downside is the lack of control over these applications.
Moving to the Cloud

Cloud users believe the Cloud can create a competitive advantage over other businesses. According to a Harvard Business Review Analytic Service Report, users found these were the top benefits on moving to the Cloud:

Increased business agility 44%
Flexible capacity 41%
Faster adoption of new technology 36%
Lower fixed costs (shift from capex to opex) 33%
Lower up-front costs to develop/deploy IT systems 31%
And these are the top advantages:

Lets us experiment more easily and at low cost 64%
Enables deeper collaboration with business partners 61%
Frees up IT resources to work on more strategic things 60%
Is a source of competitive advantage for early adopters 57%
Lowers the cost of doing business 55%
Lowers overall IT costs 55%

Training for cloud

Many people and successful businesses are taking advantage of “The Cloud”, and looking to hire qualified personnel to handle their growing Cloud needs. As the Cloud continues to evolve the demand for professionals with the right skills increases. Perhaps the reason for mainstream deployment of the Cloud is not lack of knowledge but the lack of qualified IT professionals. The good news… Cloud training is available! Some of the classes offered include:

Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012
Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012
Cloud Architect (EMCCA) Expert
Cloud Architect (EMCCA) Specialist
Cloud Computing Security Knowledge(Basic)
Cloud Computing Security Knowledge (Plus)
CompTIA Cloud Essentials
RedHat Cloud Architect
Vmware vCloud: Architecting the Vmware Cloud
VMware vCloud: Deploy and Manage [V1.5]
VMware vCloud: Design Best Practices
The best time to build your resume is now while demand is high and the number of qualified professionals is low, so register today!