Cloud computing is a concept that is not new, today cloud computing is very different from when it got started. Earlier cloud computing was limited to IT industry only. Whereas now using a Gmail or wearing a smartwatch or using smart electronics in home, all are enabled with cloud computing. So everyone is using cloud computing without even knowing it. Still today the question is “What cloud computing actually is?” as many people still not aware of the basic concept.
Public Cloud Drives were the biggest buzz not so long ago. IT giants were providing best options to backup all the personal files with many options to edit & share files securely. Cloud Drives almost removed the big ugly attachments from our personal emails. Many startups also pitched into the same idea and later on providing free file storage was a market with-in-a blink of eyes.
The SkyDrive inventor Microsoft currently possesses the beauty of cloud with Windows Azure and OneDrive. Where Windows Azure deals with every part of cloud IaaS, PaaS & SaaS specializing for every class of companies and developers, in other words exclusively for business players and geeks. But OneDrive the new name of SkyDrive is exclusively for consumers or end users.
Currently Microsoft offers 15GB of cloud storage with every Hotmail / Windows Live / Outlook accounts but any user can buy more storage up to 1 TB at $6.99 per month including Office 365.
Imagine if Microsoft start offering actually unlimited space on OneDrive for free of cost with each Outlook / Hotmail / Windows Live account. Then world will surely start migrating only to OneDrive whether it is business or personal use. There are so many features and services such as file syncing, mobility, creating and editing documents, playing music and videos etc. that matter a lot to the user with file storage. With this Microsoft is already dealing very positively as they are providing interoperable apps across devices and Office Web Apps are really awesome to create and share documents, presentations and spreadsheets on-the-go. So, people will start backing-up their music, videos and entertainment files on OneDrive only. Even though Microsoft can implement OneDrive as an OS for future PCs and mobile / tablet devices, in which there will be no HDD or SSD you just log in and start working straight away in the cloud mode. Then imagine future will have no piracy, increased security, no bothering of data loss in case of device theft or stealing or damage.
For business also there will be a massive return on investment as they won’t be buying heavy licenses for media apps, office productivity suite and sharing among the team will be much easier then every before. Accounting will be just a matter of few clicks. That can totally convert the face of every business unit with a great transformation. So, I can’t wait to see this future where working and entertainment will be merged together for everyone.
But does this mean massive Gmail, Amazon Cloud Drive & DropBox users will migrate to Outlook and OneDrive? There is no straight answer in regard to it. But surely that can give a big diversion among all the cloud providers. Cloud Vendors will also go for OneDrive only to provide corporates the 0% downtime cloud storage.
Well, Microsoft already claims 400 Million active users / accounts, but does this actually means that there are currently 400 Million active OneDrive users too? Well, that can be an assumption. But for sure Microsoft is one of the leading consumer based cloud storage provider and this kind of offering can change the whole cloud game. Competition will be then depends only on the basis features, services and fast performance.
Amazon is scattering themselves to challenge Microsoft, Google, DropBox and other cloud providers. Recently, Amazon launched Cloud Drive mobile apps for iOS and Android(not announcement for Windows Phone as of now). Microsoft OneDrive, GoogleDrive and DropBox are already competing in Mobile Application arena. But, with this new competitor the show will be more interesting now.
File Preview – Android
File Browser – iOS
In this new application users can view and share files & folders, read & preview documents or PDFs and photos, play music and videos. Even though Amazon has merged their music& photospecific apps in this one to give users an absolute solution in a single pane.
Amazon Cloud Drive is quite a new player but the offerings form Amazon can bag-in the customers from other giants. Amazon Cloud Drive offers $60 (USD) per year for unlimited cloud storage, which is the cheapest unlimited storage deal. Amazon also offers $12 (USD) per year plan for unlimited photo storage and 5 GB for the rest of the files.
Now the competition to grab users will increase gradually with mobile application. But features and services wise Amazon is still not competitive. For instance, still today there is no proper file syncing client/app for Cloud Drive. As users upload their files manually via a web based drag-n-drop interface, which is a non-starter feature. Usually users want to create, upload and share anytime, anywhere.
These new mobile apps are also limited as there is no editing, no new upload and no way to move files. Users can still upload and sync photos from their Amazon photo-specific app, but edit, create and sync document is the most widely used feature for other competitors which is still no possible with mobile or tablets now for Amazon.
So with new updates for the Amazon Cloud Drive app there are possibility to introduce editing, syncing and creating of documents, spreadsheets and other productivity files. But Cloud Drive app can be a long lasting solider for Amazon as mobility gives flexibility to take on thing just under your thumb.
Cloud or virtualization, which is right for my business? These questions always parts of consideration while adopting a solution form them. Even though many IT Managers or CIO are a little skeptical about the difference between both, because Cloud is more like Virtualization’s extended version. But if you have 100% virtualized infrastructure it doesn’t mean that you are having a Private Cloud infrastructure. Both technologies are almost similar and not interchangeable. But, the significant difference between both can affect your business decision.
Virtualization vs Cloud:
What is Virtualization?
Virtualization is a layer to create different and dedicated resources on the same physical infrastructure. Through virtualization you can run multiple software applications and operating systems at the same time on same hardware. You require a hypervisor above the physical infrastructure to create, run and manage different Virtual Machines. You can configure each VM as per your requirement of application, OS, environment, physical resources etc. There are many big players that provide hypervisor like VMware, Microsoft, Oracle, HP etc.
Virtualization makes servers, storage, workstations and other systems independent from physical infrastructure. Virtualization is the core fundamental that powers the cloud computing.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud the buzzword which gives more flexibility of computing in other words you can call Cloud Computing as “a type of Internet-based computing”. But also require hardware, software, hypervisor etc. while building.
So, how’s virtualization different from cloud?
Virtualization is the base of cloud computing and helps to deliver the value for cloud computing. Biggest confusion occurs when virtualization and cloud work together to provide different services, mostly the case in Private Cloud infrastructure.
Through virtualization you can enable the Cloud Computing if you are offering 100% virtualization infrastructure with:
On demand services
Broad network access
With all these 5 elements and 100% virtualization your organisation achieve the Private Cloud infrastructure. Some of the expert companies also mentions that cloud computing can also achieve without virtualization with the help of certain hardware, operating system and even application cluster can offer cloud services but those are quite complicated and costly. Even though require a lot of time consuming work just for limited set of features.
How do you know if your business needs Virtualization Model or Cloud Model?
With virtualization companies can maintain and secure their infrastructure because of following benefits:
Maximize resources: Virtualization saves a lot of hardware resources and you can get more value from a single server. Maximum time with traditional way of computing most of the servers are under-utilised but with virtualization allows to use the 100% power of them.
Multiple systems: Virtualization enables you to create different VMs to run multiple types of applications and multiple operating systems for those applications on the same physical hardware.
IT budget integration: With virtualization administration and maintenance of resources is easy for your infrastructure and saves a lot for IT operations.
So companies that need greater control for integration and security & financially work more in capital expenditure model should adopt Virtualization model.
Whereas, those companies should adopt cloud, which work on operational expenditure model and have less IT staff and very few security concerns should. Cloud basically leverage you with:
Outsourced IT: The daily IT administration tasks, care or maintenance, and support system move away from the company to service provider. This will free up your internal IT resources and advances your business quickly.
Quick Setup: A startup that adopts cloud from start their work become easy as cloud services is quick and easy. Servers, appliances and application licenses go away when you such kind of service. Even though no need to take care of updates to do the compatibility. Every issue is now on the head of service provider.
Pay-per-use: All the SaaS (Software as a Service) based application available today with this model of paying of what you actually use. You can customize the services and pay the service provider of what and how much quantity you are using, no extra cost.
Scalability: By using cloud you have the facility to use it from anywhere and it off loads a whole big amount of IT capacity to the service provider. This increases the scalability of your working environment.
Public Cloud the power of accessing files from anywhere and on any device brings more scalability & effectiveness among employees or peers at very low cost. Public Cloud services include services like file sharing, e-mail, server hosting, and online office applications. Public Cloud services are basically for those who don’t really require a high level of infrastructure. But this doesn’t stop SMEs and big enterprises to use Public Cloud for their professional or official use. In fact some of the organizations are using public cloud services to make their daily operations more efficient.
Maximum CIOs says that security and controlling of public cloud is a big concern for them. Security factor is actually different for each company. For example a Government organization who handles individual’s documentation may have different sets of security protocols from Petroleum Company. So the decision of outsourcing the IT services to cloud provider is very crucial for a CIO. Because what works for an organization may not necessarily work the same for another. While considering the public cloud services the potential benefits are important but it is almost important to keep security objectives in mind. But Public Cloud may provide some of the secure and scalable benefits, such as:
Department wise: CIO can easily avail public cloud services as per the department’s need. As public cloud / hybrid cloud services are offered as the way you use them and how much you use them. So easy to get ownership department wise.
Platform: Cloud computing is much more different from the traditional way of computing. Cloud as a platform enables a lot of automation and ease in your work. CIOs need to worry about managing the configuration control, security patches, system maintenance & fault management etc.
Resources Availability: With ultimate recovery and backups procedures cloud will never let your application down. Due to no geographical restriction, it becomes more robust. So, it’s more reliable where you want 0% downtime.
Mobility: Public cloud structure is actually designed in a way that you can use it from anywhere and on any device. You can log in from a smartphone and from your office PC too
These benefits also requires more monitoring and controlling for your data. As CIO is unaware from where he is accessing his file or where the image or backup of a VM is lying. There are a few recommended activates which you can perform with your public / hybrid:
CIOs should refer or check SLAs first before adopting public cloud. Even though Public Cloud SLAs have many term which are non-negotiable, leads to very less visibility and increase more security constraints.
To enhance the security, control and backup there are few third party tools available. Which CIOs can deploy in their hybrid/public cloud to get everything in single pane solution.
Cloud Computing technology which was adopted by a lots of companies like IBM, Microsoft etc. and gives them the better way of working through it’s style. For all of them today the cloud is still a “HotTopic” to discuss on. So all the cloud likers, join us in the un-conference @ CloudCamp in Noida on 12th February, 2011 for the whole day.
On 22nd September, 2009 it was Windows Azure – BootCamp at Microsoft, Gurgaon. The event was rocking & very informative. Got to learn lot of the new things & specially the Cloud Computing. The cool stuffs of Windows Azure are awsesome & it was quite intresting that go to know about the contest of Windows Azure on http://www.thecloudapp.com/ the grand prize of this contest is a Windows 7 LapTop.
Both the speakers Sudhir Mody & Vikram Rajkondawar were awesome and delivered all the that information which we needed.
The Azure Services Platform is designed to help developers quickly and easily create, deploy, manage, and distribute web services and applications on the Internet. Windows Azure is an operating system for the cloud that serves as the development, run-time, and control environment for the Azure Services Platform. Windows Azure provides developers on-demand compute and storage to host, scale, and manage web applications on the internet through Microsoft data centers.
Windows Azure is elastic, flexible, and interoperable. With Windows Azure developers can achieve high levels of service availability and application interoperability while maintaining freedom of choice.
The Windows Azure SDK provides developers with the tools and APIs needed to develop, deploy, and manage scalable services in Windows Azure.