Cloud Fundamentals

This blog would be discussed the simple definition of the cloud computing, its role and IT as services. Furthermore, what organisation should be considered before moving to cloud computing?

What is a cloud?

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According to the cloud Security Alliance (CSA)- “cloud enhances collaboration, agility, scaling, and availability, and provides the potential for cost reduction through optimised and efficient computing”.

What is the cloud computing?

“Cloud computing enables ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or services provider interaction” – according to the  NIST definition of cloud.

Why use cloud computing?

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Five Major Characteristics of the Cloud:

Self-services: cloud consumers can provision and manage servers, systems, and resources through a single portal or developer API. There is also an On-Demand component which indicates that resources are always available to the customers.

Broad accessibility: Cloud services are delivered consistently. They are available and accessible through standard, heterogeneous platforms such as laptops, desktops, and mobile devices.

Shared:  Cloud resources are provided for maximum efficiency and then shared across many consumers in a multi-tenant model. This model optimises resources allocation and financial efficiency.

Elastic: Resources can scale based on usage, scaling up/down typically means that server resources allocation (CPU/RAM/Storage) can dynamically change. Scaling in/out is thought of as adding or subtracting host nodes to an application based on demand.

Measured metered: Usage is calculated based on what is consumed by the user. This is typically referred to as a” pay-as-you-go” model and is similar in concept to your basic home utilities, for instance, water and power.

Three Deployment models:

  1. Open public:

Cloud resources are typically rendered over the internet or an open network. Public cloud is typically owned and operated by commercial service providers who own and offer access to consumers, for example, AWS, Rack space, and Salesforce

 2. Hybrid

A combination of one or more public or private clouds bound together by a common fabric. This model allows consumers many options to meet their business requirement and fits the cloud to need.

3. Enterprise Private

Cloud resources built specially for an entity (group, organisation, company, and so on). Infrastructure can be hosted internally or externally and also managed internally or by a third party.

Cloud Services Delivery Methods:

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a service supply companies with computing resources as well as servers, storage, networking, and data centre space on a pay-per-use basis.

The benefits of IaaS

  • No need to invest in own hardware
  • Infrastructure scales on demand to support dynamic workloads
  • Flexible, innovative services available on demand

IaaS Examples: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metapod, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Joyent

Platform as a service (PaaS)

Platform as a service provides a cloud-based environment with everything required to maintain the complete lifecycle of building and conveying online (cloud) applications —without the cost and difficulty of buying and managing the essential hardware, software, provisioning, and hosting.

 The benefits of PaaS

  • Develop applications and grab to market faster
  • Deploy new web applications to the cloud in minutes
  • Reduce complexity with middleware as a service

   Enterprise PaaS Examples: Apprenda

Software as a service (SaaS)

Software as a service in cloud-based application system which run on remote computers that are owned and control by others and that connect to client’ computers via the Internet and, usually, a web browser

The benefits of SaaS

  • the user can sign up and rapidly start using innovative business apps
  • Apps and data are accessible from any connected computer
  • If your computer breaks, usually no data is lost as data is in the cloud
  • The service is able to dynamically scale to usage needs

SaaS Examples: Google Apps, Salesforce, Workday, Concur, Citrix GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx .

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IT as a service:

ITaaS is an operational and organisational shift to running IT like a business and optimising IT production for business consumption.

  • New technology models
  • New consumption models
  • New operational models

Before moving to cloud organisation need to consideration some factors:

Cloud is not a perfect solution and often comes with concerns and questions from the industry and consumers. Five areas where cloud providers typically have to address.

Security and Risk:  1. I f I move to the cloud, are my applications safe? Will I become a target for hackers?

  • Provider security posture
  • Governance
  • Application security
  1. Attacks that affect you, even though you aren’t the target: Users of public cloud run the risk of collateral damage, virus attacks, and services interruptions
  2. Incident response: In a cloud environment, you may not have control over how quickly incidents are handled.
  3. Visibility:
  • You may not be able to see what your provider is doing
  • You may not have visibility to your resources running in the cloud
  1. Multiple cloud vendors: Some cloud providers may actually be storing your data on a different cloud provider’s platform

Privacy:

  • Who can view my data?
  • Where does my data reside?
  • Will an unauthorised entity have access to my data?
  • How will my data be segregated?
  • How will my data be destroyed?
  • Where will it be physically located?
  • How will my data be treated during the move?

Cloud computing risks:

  • Data stored on third-party servers
  • Limited control
  • Inadequate security
  • System breaches
  • Compromised data
  • Legal problems

Compliance: 1. How do we ensure we are meeting all of our compliance and regulatory compliance policies?

  • Compliance can be an increased cost
  • Compliance may require a cloud services audit
  1. Audit and compliance risks
  • Security risks
  • Information risks
  • Billing risks
  • Contract risks

Vendor lock-in: How can we support business continuity and ensure seamless migration between cloud services?

  • Proprietary and incompatibility
  • Inefficient processes
  • Contract constraints
  • Fear of vendor lock-in is a major impediment to cloud service adoption
  • Many customers stay with a provider that doesn’t meet their needs, just to avoid a cumbersome migration process

Performance: How can I be sure I’m getting the right level of performance and services quality from the cloud?

  • Nosy neighbor
  • Provider capabilities
  • Resources disparity
  • An enterprise IT organisation acting as a cloud provider to users of its hybrids cloud need to guarantee services without the control over the performance of public cloud services in its environment.

Question: what could be the reasons that financial organisations are not interested in moving cloud computing?

Answer: a Financial organisation like banks, leasing, depository financial organisation is not keen to move cloud computing because of data security. Cloud computing service is not able provided 100 % data security, privacy and legal compliance as per financial intuition required,   and the main factor is that cloud services have provided the third party vendors so there is a risk that client transaction and financial information can be compromised with any third party and competitor or hackers.

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