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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


Cloud Computing - Questions & Answers


Compiled from multiple resources that I've gone through over the last few months:

* What is Cloud computing?
  • Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices on-demand, like electricity.
* What are the key features of Cloud computing?
  • Pooled resources - Available to any subscribing users
  • Virtualization - High utilization of hardware assets
  • Elasticity - Dynamic scale without CAPEX (capital or upfront expenses)
  • Automation - Build, deploy, configure, provision, and move, all without manual intervention
  • Metered billing - Per-usage business model; pay only for what you use
* What are the benefits of Cloud computing?
  • Economic - shift of capital expenses (CAPEX) to operational expenses (OPEX), and the potential reduction in OPEX associated with operating the infrastructure.
  • Agility benefits - not having to procure and provision servers
  • Efficiency - time-to-market advantages
  • Security
* What are the different types of Cloud Services?
  • IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service  - Environment for building a native application. Users create Virtual Machines (VMs) on demand. Ex - Amazon EC2 (runs about 1 percent of the entire internet)
  • PaaS or Platform as a Service - Environment for building a managed application with an IDE with a rich class library that xecutes in a runtime container. Ex - Google’s AppEngine, Windows Azure, SalesForce AppForce & Heroku (Ruby focussed)
  • SaaS, Software as a Service - Packaged software application. Examples - Salesforce, Google Apps, Office 365, Zoho, IBM Lotus Live
* List some scenarios where Cloud computing can be utilized?
  • Low-tech example: corporate website 
  • Medium-tech example: backup and file-storage systems
  • High-tech example: new product development 
  • VMs for a Dev/Test lab
  • Disaster recovery
  • Deadline-driven, large compute problems. Ex - Washington Post
  • Large data set, high-compute scenarios. Ex - Eli Lilly
  • Online web presence and community. Ex -Virgin Atlantic
* In which scenarios is Cloud computing unfit?
  • Legacy systems
  • Applications involving real-time/mission-critical scenarios
  • Applications dealing with confidential data
* List some concerns about adopting cloud computing
  • Security
  • Performance
  • Availability
  • Hard to integrate with in-house IT
  • Not enough ability to customize
  • Worry that on-demand will cost more
  • Bringing it back in-house may be difficult
  • Regulatory requirements prohibit cloud
  • Not enough major suppliers yet
* What is a Private Cloud?
  • Cloud platform used by a single organization
* What are the benefits of SaaS for users?
  • Faster deployment
  • Usage-based pricing
  • Less financial risk
  • Reduced need for on-premises resources
  • Easier upgrades
* What are the risks of SaaS  for users?
  • Requires trusting a SaaS provider
  • Can raise legal/regulatory concerns
  • Can limit customization
  • Can be harder to integrate
  • Can have lower performance
* What are the benefits of SaaS for Software Vendors?
  • Offers potential to reach new customers
  • Can sell directly to business decision makers
  • Can provide more predicatable revenue
  • Can lower support costs
  • Provides more knowledge about how customers use the application
* What are the risks of SaaS for Software Vendors?
  • Must demonstrate real value
  • Revenue builds up more slowly
  • May lessen ability to sell customization
  • Requires significant business changes
* What are the computing paradigm shifts that led to the evolution of Cloud computing?
  • Shift from mainframes to client-server to web
  • Data center evolution through hardware & networking improvements
  • SOA - Things that humans did through browsers that interacted with a web server are now done machine-to-machine using the same web-based standard protocols
  • Virtualization - Server virtualization transforms or virtualizes the hardware resources of a computer including the CPU, RAM, hard disk, and network controller—to create a fully functional virtual machine that can run its own operating system and applications like a physical computer. 
  • SaaS - business model innovation
Resources:
The Cloud at Your Service
Pluralsight: Cloud Computing: The Big Picture

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