Posts Tagged ‘Cloud Computing’

Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds

February 28, 2012

So, what is the difference between Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds?

The terms get mixed up frequentlyImage and many people I speak with still are confusing and using them inaccurately.

In its current form, cloud computing has been around for a few years now, yet many are still confused by the terminology used to describe the various types of clouds. This has not been helped by private software and hardware vendors inventing terms to attempt to appeal to corporate IT departments everywhere. As they saw cloud computing taking off, they attempted to exploit fears as to its security by offering solutions that really don’t have anything to do with the cloud except for a made-up name. Here, we’ll attempt to cut through the noise and give a basic primer as to the types of clouds and their potential uses.

Public Cloud

When most people speak of cloud computing, this is what they mean. A public cloud is formed when a provider, someone like Amazon, Google or a smaller company, makes computing resources, such as processing power, memory or storage, publicly available over the Internet. In a public cloud environment, the user pays no bandwidth or hardware costs and setup is usually quick and easy. Although the user does not pay these costs, they usually do pay for the resources they use. Think of it like paying for only the amount of electricity you use or the amount of minutes you use per month on your cell phone. Some providers also charge a subscription fee as well. If you need more resources, the cloud can instantly provide them. There’s no need to install additional hardware or software.

Public clouds typically run on open-source software to facilitate the movement of such vast amounts of data. However, as an increasing number of software companies, such as Microsoft and Oracle, have attempted to enter the cloud computing arena, they have started to provide cloud infrastructures that utilize proprietary software. This has been a sticking point with cloud computing purists, who don’t regard public clouds running proprietary software as truly public.

From its inception, the major vulnerability of the public cloud has been security. Once your data enters the cloud, it can circulate through dozens, hundreds or even thousands of systems. This is truly frightening for anyone running applications that involve highly secure data such as financial information or corporate intelligence. And this, more than anything else, is what brought on the other types of cloud computing that are in use today.

The Private Cloud

The term “private cloud” started when hardware and software companies were looking for ways to jump on the cloud computing bandwagon while maintaining usage of their existing systems. Knowing that IT departments were nervous about using public clouds due to security reasons, these companies hit upon the term “private cloud” as a buzzword to describe a computing infrastructure privately held by a corporation that had capabilities similar to a cloud but was completely internal and thus more secure.

Cloud computing enthusiasts point out that private clouds consist of privately held devices, such as storage arrays and servers, which needed to be built and configured by the organization. This mitigates most of the benefits of cloud computing. However, companies can use virtualization to simulate some of the resource allocation features of the cloud and thus save on costs. In general, a private cloud is not really a cloud at all but simply a farm of internal resources that can be used only by the organization in which they are installed.

The Hybrid Cloud

The hybrid cloud is the happy medium of cloud computing. If an organization has varying needs regarding computational resources and also has both sensitive and non-sensitive applications, it can use a hybrid cloud to get the best of both worlds. In most cases, the database servers, which generally contain sensitive information, are kept on a private cloud, and a public cloud is used for everything else. This solves the security problems of public clouds and lets an organization take advantage of all that public cloud has to offer when it comes to general computing resources.

As cloud computing is refined, the public cloud will become increasingly secure, allowing corporations to gradually transition their services to the more cost-effective alternative. Until then, however, hybrid clouds are likely to be the most common form of corporate cloud computing.

Cloud computing can be a time saver…..

April 12, 2011

Businesses and organizations of all sizes and orientation are undergoing a massive shift in how they acquire IT services and solutions. Today, provisioning new applications and services can be a complex design and integration exercise, with the business itself having to bear the risk and burden of the deployment. More and more, CIOs are looking for simplified approaches like Cloud services and managed services relationships that enable them to focus on their core business.

On average the typical IT department spends 70% of its budget on maintaining its existing infrastructure and only 30% on innovation to generate a competitive advantage for the business. The biggest challenge CIOs face is the need to react much faster to business demands and to get ahead of the curve toward using IT as a competitive differentiator.

While cloud computing adoption has been swift among startups and small-to-midsize businesses with little or no legacy IT operations, larger enterprises have been slower to adopt cloud-related services. Selecting the right providers and services is a gamble when products, pricing and performance change daily. Also, companies that have large capital investments in custom software or infrastructure can find it difficult to make a case for scrapping it all. Then there are the issues of integration, standardization, security and control.

But when the time is right, the cloud can be the way to grow, no matter the size of the enterprise. Not only can software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS) be fast and relatively cheap enablers of corporate growth, they can enable IT groups to serve the expanding enterprise more strategically. The cloud allows IT organizations to focus its efforts on improvement and innovation.

 

A Move to the Cloud will actually benefit cyber security protection

February 7, 2011

A recent study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies observed the fact that the use of cloud computing technology could actually benefit national cyber security and data protection practices.   The study, by Network World reports, explains how actual cloud computing can actually “aggregate and automate” cyber security, because it takes data protection responsibilities away from customers and businesses and gives them to service providers, which are generally more capable of dealing with cyber threats.

“The move to the cloud is not a silver bullet that will solve all cyber security problems, but it is part of a larger move to a more mature infrastructure that includes the automation of security practices and monitoring,” the report goes on to state

It goes on to say that security practices will be further enhanced if government agencies can find a way to work more effectively with cloud service providers.

Both cloud computing and Cyber security are expected to play larger roles in government in 2011. In December, the Office of Management and Budget issued a memo to federal agencies urging them to adopt a “cloud-first approach” to IT solutions.

Corporate America heading “To the Cloud”….as they say…with Skytap

January 4, 2011

Skytap, the leading provider of self-service cloud automation solutions, just announced an oversubscribed $10 million Series C round of funding led by OpenView Venture Partners with participation from existing investors Ignition Partners, Madrona Venture Group and Washington Research Foundation. The investment will be used to scale sales and marketing, and accelerate innovation of the company’s flagship cloud automation platform. Scott Maxwell, senior managing director of OpenView Venture Partners, will join Skytap’s board of directors.

Since its launch in 2006, Skytap has broadened its portfolio of cloud solutions and built a comprehensive cloud automation platform. Based on the breadth of its offerings and rapid customer adoption, Skytap has experienced both usage growth and year over year revenue growth of more than 300 percent.

Along with this funding and the company’s rapidly growing customer roster, Skytap has received numerous accolades based on the superiority of its cloud automation technology. Recent awards include: SD Times 100, Red Herring 100, AlwaysOn OnDemand Top 100, SearchCloudComputing Top 10 Cloud Computing Startups and the 2010 Best of VMworld finalist.

Skytap has built one of the strongest partner networks in the cloud industry enabling Fortune 1000 enterprise customers and government and defense agencies to accelerate their transition to the cloud. Earlier this year, Skytap was selected by Google as a cloud partner for the Google Apps Marketplace launch, and global IT leader CSC selected Skytap to power its prestigious CloudLab offering.

Can a remote employee work as security as one at Headquarters?

October 28, 2010

Cisco’s Jason Lackey certainly thinks so. In his blog post yesterday he has described a scenario where a mobile worker can work as securely as one at HQ.

Today, while we have seen that there is plenty of meat in Borderless Networks in the office, Borderless Networks has plenty of meat on the road as well. Bob, our enterprise worker, travels a lot, doing trade shows and customer visits and dispensing Kool-Aid of various types. When he knows he is going to have to do some heavy lifting with PowerPoint he is sure to take a laptop running AnyConnect, a secure VPN client that works with the Cisco ASA firewall back at HQ to give secure, encrypted remote access. Even if he is in a coffee shop using public Wi-Fi, he knows that his data is safe because everything is going back through that encrypted tunnel. But it is more than just connectivity that we are talking about here because traffic goes through a Cisco IronPort web security appliance, filtering spyware, trojans and the like. And, just like when he is in the office, TrustSec ensures that he has access to what he needs and can’t touch the things he doesn’t. Security is deeply integrated into the network itself, not just an afterthought or add-on appliance.

In today’s environment, security should be the number one priority of CIO’s, CSO’s, and CTO’s.  Mobile users are now one of the largest growing segments of the IT user groups. Mobile phones and more people working from home are necessitating the need for remote security solutions that are as robust as those at Head quarters.

My question to Microsoft (re a new competion with Google)

October 28, 2010

Microsoft–once again–finds itself at a crossroads with the departure of its Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie.

In his memorandum/post today, Ozzie predicts a “Post-PC” world where Cloud Computing and Continuous Services will drive the marketplace.

The question is will Microsoft be able to transform quickly enough to compete with Google?

Going Green in the Data Center

November 9, 2009

In the last several blogs I wrote about the prevalence of outsourcing to reduce cost within the Enterprise. I would like to take a brief look into another method of cost reduction which is gaining momentumand that is the “Green Data Center through Virtualization” and “Cloud Computing.”

IT is in the middle of a fundamental transition from the rigid traditional data centers toward a more responsive model where needs are met far faster and more efficiently. Over the past several years, many IT departments have committed to virtualization as a solution to the spiraling energy costs and inflexibility plaguing corporate data centers. By running applications on virtual servers and consolidating underutilized hardware, data centers can get maximum value from their equipment. By utilizing the existing servers in the Data Center in a virtualized environment the cost of energy utilized to run, cool and operate the data center can be impacted. 

While virtualization helps companies reduce energy costs and improve agility there is another step that can be taken (with care) by introducing cloud computing infrastructure solutions in to the environment. Cloud Computing is a form of computing in which all applications, information and resources are managed in a virtual environment. The term cloud computing and specifically the use of the word “cloud,” means to represent the nature and structure of a cloud. Cloud computing involves virtual hosted environments allowing users to connect to the services being hosted over the internet.

With that said, cloud computing is not for everyone, but is does pose an interesting solution to going Green with in the data center.

Rather than increasing the number of servers and storage in the data center even within a virtualized environment, a new cloud computing model will allow companies to get out of the computing infrastructure business–where appropriate–retaining only the portion that is essential to the enterprise. As the cloud environment becomes more mature and secure, purchase decisions will be framed by asking: Should we be really be doing this ourselves, or can someone else do it better and at lower cost?  Essentially it is another type of outsourcing.

In the end, the best way to think about this is probably to view it as being yet another type of application deployment architecture. If the challenges that cloud computing is facing today, such as security, can be overcome then CIOs have another tool to reduce overall IT costs and contribute to the “Green Data Center” Concept.