The new buzz – Cloud Computing

It’s almost deafening! There is so much noise these days on the hottest buzzword – Cloud Computing. Larry Ellison derided that phrase by saying – it’s all water vapor. Marc Benioff brags about it incessantly via his Facebook posts, his new book Behind The Cloud, and at his annual user’s meeting last month called DreamForce.  Jeff Bezos of Amazon is given the default title of being the “Father of the Cloud”. Why? Well, he started the AWS (Amazon Web Services) way back in 2002 and quickly followed that with AWS – S3 (Simple Shared Storage – storage offered as a service),  AWS – EC2 (Elastic Computing Cloud – CPU power offered as a service), AWS – SQS  (Queuing as a service), and AWS – SimpleDB (Database as a service).

When asked about how he beat the big iron suppliers in offering Cloud infrastructure so early, this is what he said, –  “we had enough complexity inside Amazon that we were finding we were spending too much time on fine-grained coordination between our network engineering group and our application programming group. Basically what we decided to do is to build a (set of API’s) between those two layers so that you could just do coarse-grained coordination between those two groups. Amazon is, as you know, just a web-scale application.” Very insightful. Amazon decided to monetize their excess capacity in the data center and lo and behold, came Cloud Computing.

Someone else has said – just like banks became a safe place to keep your money away from your safe-box in your grandfather’s home, the Cloud will become the default place to keep your data in the future.

The three key elements of Cloud Computing are – scalability in a programmatic way (no labor needed to configure), the way software is developed and delivered (composed), on-demand usage and metering (pay per usage). The three layers of Cloud are being termed as SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS referring to the Application (SaaS), Platform (PaaS), and Infrastructure like hardware, storage, and networking (IaaS).

Eric Schmidt said, “there will be a small number of big players and a large number of small players in the cloud computing space.” This is all following the model for electricity – “you buy electricity, you don’t buy a generator” model.

While the excitement builds, there is still debate on how to define the term without lots of ambiguity. There are 22 definitions for Cloud computing and terms like “cloud computing” and “cloud services” are all intermixed in the marketing hype. Some vendors are re-purposing their old stuff as cloud whatever. Hence Gartner Group is showing Cloud computing at the peak of their “hype cycle”. It will get sorted out as we pass the euphoria stage over the next year or so.



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