Nowadays, cloud computing has been constantly growing in popularity and thousands of companies are rebranding their non-cloud products and services. Cloud computing is considered to be the next stage in the Internet evolution as it provides the means through which everything including applications, computing power, business processes, computing infrastructure, and others can be delivered any time to any place.
Cloud computing is the result of evolution and adoption of existing technologies. It aims at cutting costs and helping the users concentrate on their core business instead of managing IT obstacles. The main cloud computing technology is virtualization as it generalizes the physical infrastructure making it available as an easy to use and manage soft component. Virtualization enables businesses to reduce costs by increasing utilization infrastructure. Minimization of user involvement leads to the speeding up of the automation process and the reduction of human errors. In addition, cloud computing provides the technologies and tools needed to build data parallel applications with the involvement of much more affordable prices contrary to the traditional techniques of parallel computing.
The cloud in cloud computing is defined as the set of networks, hardware, storage, interfaces, and services that are combined to deliver computing aspects. The four key characteristics of cloud computing are as follows: application programming interfaces, the ability to scale up and down, automatic deprovisioning and self-service provisioning, service usage billing and metering in a pay-as-you-go model.
An example of cloud computing is Gmail, Yahoo email, Hotmail, and others. The only thing needed is an internet connection that allows sending emails. The software of a server and email management on the cloud and can be managed by the provider of a cloud service. Cloud computing is usually divided into the segments of application, storage, and connectivity. Each segment has a different purpose and offers different products for individuals and organizations.
The concept of cloud computing has been implemented to varying degrees. It offers storage of online data on a remote server that can be easily accessed with the help of the Internet. Then, it is possible to access applications via the cloud. This results in the elimination of the need to install and manage the hardware-software interface and makes it easier to provide IT management and sufficient computing power for a firm. The ultimate cloud computing level is where software, server hardware, infrastructure, and operating systems are managed as a service within the cloud. Computing resources are usually distributed among one or several remote servers and computers.
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The cloud attracts businesses and individuals due to its flexibility. The participants of the cloud are:
- A provider of the cloud service responsible for IT assets and maintenance.
- The end user who is not aware of the underlying technology.
- Business management who should be responsible for the data and services governance living in a cloud. The providers of the cloud service should provide a predictable and guaranteed level of service and security to all their constituents.
There are different forms of cloud computing including community clouds, public clouds, and private clouds. Community clouds share infrastructure between several businesses. The costs are spread over few users and lead to the cost saving potential. A public cloud is established where several businesses seek to share infrastructure and have similar requirements. As a rule, it is economically attractive as it helps exploitation of the resource utilization and sharing.
The cloud computing model enables service providers to provide their computing resources for the public use. Hence, users can access various important resources including Stored data, Software, and Applications. In addition, the use of a public cloud provides users with an opportunity to emancipate from performing important tasks on their computing machines. Public clouds tend to offer a number of benefits for the users. They are as follows: easy connectivity to servers; ability to share information; efficient storage; reduced costs; computing services; information sharing; appropriate use of resources; high reliability; and availability. In general, a public cloud enables employees to become productive from remote areas.
A private cloud allows businesses to remotely access the sensitive applications of enterprises via tablet devices and smartphones. The cloud-based resources ensure high performance, user experience, and security. Users are able to access the desktop, change settings, run applications, and access data from any place when another person is sitting in front of the local PC, using its mouse and keyboard.
Cloud computing enables companies change the way they use technology to service customers, suppliers, and suppliers. Some major businesses, such as Amazon and Google, have already used most of their IT resources in the cloud. They believe that cloud computing is able to eliminate complex constraints including the traditional computing environment such as time, space, power, and cost.
The material, potential energy, time and cost savings for the cloud computing form are vast. It is found that the common desktop utilization rates are between 10-20%. Centralization of the computing power in the cloud, the use of power form the end-user processor, and utilization rates can be increased to almost 90% (Buyya, Broberg, & Goscinski, 2011). It is believed to be energy efficient. It addition, cloud computing reduces the material needs for procuring local machines and allows to use thin-client machines that are simple, small and consume less energy.
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Such programs as GoToMyPC.com and Windows Remote Desktop are the closest to true cloud computing. However, these services are intended to complement the desktop. Hence, with any new technology reliance companies may hesitate to move to a cloud service based on a thin-client. Live provision of all computational and data storage in the cloud makes companies completely reliant on their internet connection. In case of the Internet goes down, the productivity will suffer as all workstations become useless. Businesses should be very attentive outsourcing their sensitive data to the third party companies providing a cloud service. The deployment of full cloud computing can discourage the privacy issues as the data security importance can trump potential gains.
If data storage and computation is provided as a service, the business may need considerable costs to switch service providers. In addition, there are environmental impacts in computer manufacturing (aquatic and human toxicity) are considered to be important (Byung-Chul, Su-Yol Lee, & Hur, 2006). However, these environmental impacts may be reduced due to the switch to thin-clients. In case computation and data storage and computation are provided as a service, businesses require additional electricity and components of additional networks.
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Thus, the usage of cloud computing and thin-clients are considered to be the effective way to reduce the environmental computing impacts. The computer obsolescence issue may become less important as the thin-client’s performance results in the increase of additional computational resources from remote servers. It enables the equipment used in office computing live longer and be always upgraded. Computing as a service is more and more often treated as an exciting proposition that will grow as the internet bandwidth becomes faster, more reliable, and cheaper. The switch to cloud computing also promotes entrepreneurship and innovation as organizations face lower capital costs for computing and IT. Hence, the cloud provides a dematerialization path that does not rely on upgradeability and re-use.
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