Cloud Computing – A paradigm shift in computing
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Think of cloud computing and it brings a question in my mind, what does “Cloud” stands for in this context? In verbal sense I can say cloud is something that prohibits me to see through the sky, that hides the vastness and complexity of sky behind it and that encompasses various layers within itself. In that very sense I can define cloud computing as, a paradigm shift in world of computing whereby details are abstracted from the users (developers or end users) who no longer need knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the technology infrastructure “in the cloud” that supports them.
It is a way to increase capacity or add capabilities as and when required, without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT’s existing capabilities.
Broadly, we can divide the cloud services into Cloud Infrastructure Services and Cloud Application Services. Using Cloud Infrastructure Services, one can hire the ready to use infrastructure for deployment and the team can just concentrate on the application development. Such service also gives option to pay per usage, hence you just pay for the duration your application is in use, no need to invest huge amount of money in setting up servers, database and other hardware resources to host the application. Some of the Cloud Infrastructure Providers are Microsoft’s Azure Services Platform, Google AppEngine, Amazon Web Services etc. While Cloud Application Services allows developers to use common application services available in the cloud, while enabling them to unlock value-added features available from individual providers. For example Salesforce.com’s CRM application, makes available a variety of services that can be used to integrate its functions with your applications.
All of us are taking advantage of this new revolution in one way or the other and has been known to us in different forms e.g. SaaS (Software as a Service), Platform as a Service, Utility Computing, Managed Services, Infrastructure as a Service etc. But whatever it is called, the next generation of computing is ready to rock the IT world.