Your Chief Technology Officer (CTO) would like to know about your cloud computing strategy – and wants to know it tomorrow. This article explores some options for organizations that want to leverage the power and prospects of cloud computing, focusing on open source technologies. Learn about some of the vendors, like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM ®, Mosso, and Salesforce. Take a look on how strong or weak each platform is and the various types of technology and open sources and proprietary technologies which are supported on each platform.
Open source Cloud computing: more than the market hype?
If you have worked in the field of technology during this time, you may be thinking that: “I have heard about all of these before, right? Is cloud computing just one more technology which is exaggerated” – the latest silver bullet is expected to solve all your problems? Or is it more than that? The answer is “Yes” and “Yes”. Do not deny the hype surrounding cloud computing. This article discusses some of the options available in cloud computing environment. Many manufacturers are trying to cash in thanks to this hype. However, there are real benefits and clarities to cloud computing – whether it is exaggerated or not.
There are some aspects of cloud computing needing to take precautions before entering the cloud. In this article, let’s learn about the benefits and challenges of cloud computing.
About open source cloud computing
The various types of cloud
Cloud computing is defined as the development and usage of computer technology in Internet environment. That’s a very general description and recommended types of services can be classified as cloud computing. A large group of cloud services proposed are variations of SaaS (Software as a Service). Examples of SaaS are: Web applications such as Zoho (word processing, spreadsheet), Salesforce (CRM-Customer Relationship Management), SlideRocket (presentations) or Web services such as Google Search, Yahoo! weather (weather forecast of Yahoo) or PayPal. They are all great examples of cloud computing, but they are not useful for any businesses trying to use cloud computing. However, these services can complement other types of cloud computing.
The kind of cloud that you might be looking for is an infrastructure probably known as PaaS (Platform as a Service). Some of the most common examples of PaaS is the type of stored data of different clouds, such as unstructured data with a simple storage service of Amazon (S3: Simple Storage Service) or Services to open file IBM’s broad (SOFS: Scale out File Services). Both services are distributed file systems. S3 is capable of accessing via a Web service interface, while SOFS potentially accesses through the file protocol like NFS and FTP. Amazon also provides data storage structure with its SimpleDB service. SimpleDB allows structured data to be stored and queried via a web service interface.
Computing cloud is certainly more than just storage and that’s the place where the cloud computing platform enters. The platform gives you a way to get the code and implement it on a cloud platform. Of course, this can be combined with cloud storages and cloud Web services. There is certain that all platforms have advantages and disadvantages as follows.
Why do you want to run your code on a cloud platform instead of on your own computer? There are some practical reasons, simply. You do not have to buy and install on all these computers. If that is the only aspect of the cloud, it will not be much different than a storage host service. The main advantages of cloud computing is its ability to quickly enable and disable applications (“spin up”) and develop flexibility of your computing capacity when needed. At least, any cloud computing platforms can continuously provide computing resources as growing demand. Some platforms also provide the general foundation for development which ais common in computing on demand.
In short, cloud computing enables your organization to quickly deploy applications and develop them to meet the needs of businesses. That sounds nice, but there are some challenges related to cloud computing that you should know.
It’s easy to focus solely on the benefits of cloud computing, but there is a downside: One of the most obvious problems with the cloud is that data provided for your apps is situated in the cloud, along with your application. Your data can be very sensitive, such as personally identifiable information about your customers or the financial instruments and transaction records. You can also have non-sensitive data but it is valuable, such as general information about your users and how they use your app. With critical information being stored in the cloud, you have to understand that platform is safe or not.
“Who is accessing your data in the cloud” is not the only matter to worry about. The integrity of the data is more important. Breakdowns of machines have to be predicted, so it is important that your data should be backed up and restored in case of damage. A platform provides backup and data recovery, or at least makes it possible for customers who need this? The reliability of your application is clearly significant. What kind of service agreement is a concrete platform offer? These questions and other important questions are explored as this article considers several available platforms.
There are many cloud platforms to choose. List here are not sufficient, but should give you an idea of the more popular choices and the fundamental differences between them. We will pay special attention to the programming language and open source technologies supported on every platform and how each platform handles some thorny problems of cloud computing. To help divert such a large list, we classify them loosely under the basic platforms and specialized platforms.
The basic platform is the minimum recommendation – only hardware (virtual) probably has an operating system. They tend to be more flexible, so they have fewer restrictions.
Dedicated platforms supply several types of services and programming environment on a fundamental basis. Dedicated platforms are usually simpler and often provide some unique services.
The basic platforms
If you want to get complete freedom to configure your system in the cloud, you may need a basic foundation. You can define some specifications of hardware, such as processor type, maybe a certain speed, with a certain amount of memory, and so on. From there, you are free to create out anything you need. This section discusses four providers: Amazon, IBM, Joyent, and Mosso.
Elastic Computing Cloud – Amazon
EC2 is one of the first and most common computing cloud platforms. An AMI is necessary for you to start using EC2. An AMI is a sufficient machine image, which has an operation system and applications … There are plenty of popular AMI available from Amazon and EC2 community. If you do not find out an AMI suitable for your demand, Amazon will provide devices for you to create your private AMI so that you can be private or share with community.
EC2 is equipped with virtualization software – Xen open source. With EC2, you can run virtually any types of software you want. Any programming languages you want are available: Java ™ programming language, PHP, Python, and so on. It is possible for users to run the proprietary software via EC2, but the flexible feature of EC2 makes software open source very attractive. It is not necessary for you to be concerned about licensing when you use bigger entities or more.
Amazon offers a wide range of infrastructure services associated with EC2, you may use these services to deal with issues such as reliability and data backup. Amazon’s S3 service is an excellent option to back up your data. It is almost a model you make it yourself. Governance and access to the Amazon cloud is done only through its Web services with duplicate authentication requests.
Blue cloud of IBM
When Amazon firstly entered the field of computing cloud, a lot of people were surprised. Yet, as IBM entered this field, there is not a single person surprised. Blue cloud of IBM was introduced at the end of 2008. Customers can choose from x86 hardware which is more common or from hardware-based POWER® which is more advanced. Blue Cloud uses IBM Tivoli® software for the automated system to provide different capacities (CPU / RAM / disk), allowing your organization to have the opportunity to use huge computing power – but only pay for it when necessary. IBM is also a pioneer in the field of “private cloud”, bringing the benefits of cloud computing to internal applications, inside the firewall.
Joyent might not be a familiar name that everyone knows like Amazon or IBM, but it has quickly acquired an impressive reputation as a provider of computing platform for Web-based initiatives. Joyent Accelerator gives you the flexibility of hosting providers on traditional servers, but has computing solutions on demand for cloud computing. With it, you can quickly run a complete entity with PHP, Java or Ruby on Rails preconfigured and ready to use. You choose how much computing power is as required.
Mosso, a subsidiary of famous storage vendor – The Cloud servers Rackspace, there are a few other suggestions in the cloud. Cloud Sites (Web Pages cloud) of Mosso chooses the path between fundamentals and dedicated platforms. There are two basic configurations available in Cloud Sites. This is the classic LAMP installations. Other configuration is a windows web server with IIS and SQL Server database. You choose and pay rent configure bandwidth, storage and CPU speed when needed.
The Specialized platforms
Azure of Microsoft
Microsoft Azure platform was announced in the fourth quarter of 2008. This platform is tied to Microsoft’s operating system; the operating system is a specialized branch of Windows. It includes a “hypervisor layer” to provide the individual machines. Azure platform is designed to run any application. Of course, all .NET-based applications based on server would be a natural choice to move to the cloud. Microsoft has started offering products based on their servers, such as Exchange, running in the cloud on Azure.
Azure is one of the best proprietary cloud platforms, but there are some obvious appeals if you were using Microsoft’s proprietary technology. You are restricted to Microsoft’s proprietary technology, such as .NET languages and a database based on SQL server. You can use many Window technologies to protect access and manage any applications running on Azure.
App Engine of Google
App Engine was run in the second quarter of 2008 by Google. It is a bit different from many cloud computing basics. There is no hardware supplied on it; you just need to deploy applications on it but do not have to pay fee. However, the usage of App Engine will be restricted and you can purchase the right of use CPU, storage and bandwidth when needed.
Google App Engine provides a powerful development environment that only supports Python. It provides many services in Python. The user management is integrated in Google. For example, users logging in to your application also have the authorizations as when they used to log in to Google Mail. There is a data repository API for storing structured data. The storage and retrieval of data from the repository is similar to using a relational database, but they are completely owned monopoly of Google. It is based on the file system exclusively distributed by Google, GFS.
Specialized cloud computing platforms are available from Salesforce, already famous for revolutionizing software customer relationship management (CRM) using a SaaS model. Salesforce cloud computing is used for application management of their customer relationships. This is similar to the Facebook applications, where applications run continuously as part of the main Salesforce applications.
For enterprise applications, especially applications unique to a particular business, Force.com Web page can be an attractive option. Salesforce is quite limited in the options of technology and open source programming. However, Salesforce provides proprietary technology with high scalability.
In conclusion, the purpose of this article is to study some important benefits of cloud computing. You have to learn about a various diversity of cloud computing platforms and their similarities and differences. This information will help you choose the type of platform that meets all the demands of your organization.