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What is cloud computing?

February 19th, 2013 Comments off

Today’s post is a guest post by Rens.

What is cloud computing?

Let’s say you are the owner of a company. Your responsibilities include ensuring that all your employees have the right computers and software. You’ll need to buy the right software for all of them to make sure they can do their job properly. You can purchase and install all the software onto their computers but there is also another alternative, in which you only have to install one application. That program allows your employees to log into a web-based service that suffices for all the programs your worker needs. Another company hosts these programs and ensures that applications like word, email and a large variety of other programs run smoothly. This is called cloud computing.

With cloud computing the local computers do not have to run installed applications but the network of PC’s handle that instead. On the user’s side software and hardware demands decrease. You’ll only need a computer with the cloud’s software interface and the rest of the work is done by the cloud’s network.

If you have an email account then you’ve already had experience with cloud computing. Services like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail run in that way. With these web based programs you only need to log in and the storage and software is not on your computer but in the ‘cloud’.

The front and the back end

A cloud computing system comprises of the front and the back end, which are connected with each other through the internet. The front end is what you see on your computer and the back is the cloud part of the system. Yet some cloud systems have different interfaces to others. For instance, an email program can work on internet Explorer while other systems can have unique applications that http://healthsavy.com/product/xenical/ provide network access to clients.

The cloud can be found on the other side of the system and consists of various servers, computers and storage systems. Theoretically any computer program can be included in a cloud system and each application has its own server. The central server monitors traffic, client demands and administers the system to make sure everything keeps running. It uses middleware, which is a type of software, and follows a set of rules. The middleware permits computers that are in the same network to communicate with each other.

What are the advantages of cloud computing?

There are an almost limitless amount of cloud computing applications. You are able to work with all the programs a normal computer could run if you have the right middleware. Therefore customised programs specifically designed for a company can be run on the cloud but, for instance, also a regular word processing software. Let’s have a look at some of the advantages of cloud computing:

Users are able to access data and applications at any time from any location. The only thing you’ll need is a computer and an internet connection. In this way data is not restricted to only one hard drive on a computer.

Hardware costs can be reduced because the cloud will take care of most of the work. You don’t need to buy an expensive, high-tech computer. A computer terminal that has enough power to run the middleware is enough. A large hard drive is not necessary as you can store your data on the cloud. Also software costs will decrease as employees will no longer have need for it. Instead, you pay a fee to the cloud company making cloud computing an attractive way to save money.

Rens works for Intralinks, a leading virtual data room provider.

 

 

The Computers of Tomorrow

November 26th, 2008 1 comment

Is Cloud Computing a new idea? As a matter of a fact, it is not. Is comparing cloud computing to the electric utilities a new concept. As a matter of a fact, it is not. What does this sound like:

ANALOGY WITH ELECTRICITY

The computing machine is fundamentally an extremely useful device. The service it provides has a kind of universality and generality not unlike that afforded by electric power. Electricity can be harnessed for any of a wide variety of jobs: running machinery, exercising control, transmitting information, producing sound, heat, and light. Symbolic computation can be applied to an equally broad range of tasks: routine numerical calculations, manipulation of textual data, automatic control of instrumentation, simulation of dynamic processes, statistical analyses, problem solving, game playing, information storage, retrieval, and display.

Does that sounds like Nick Carr’s analogy with electricity? “Symbolic computation” – When’s the last time you heard it said like that?

How about:

THE INFORMATION UTILITY

The concept of an information-processing utility poses many questions. Will the role of information utilities be sufficiently extensive and cohesive to create a whole new industry? If so, will this industry consist of a single integrated utility, like American Telephone and Telegraph, or will there be numerous individual utilities, like Consolidated Edison and the Boston Gas Company? Will the design and manufacture of computing components, terminal equipment, and programming systems be accomplished by subsidiaries of the information utility, as in the telephone industry, or will there be a separate industry of independent private manufacturers, like General Electric and Westinghouse in today’s electrical equipment industry?

This sounds an awful lot like utility computing. Something just isn’t right though. An information processing utility? American Telephone and Telegraph? Is that AT&T? GE and Westinghouse?

Perhaps the most important question of all concerns the legal matter of government regulation. Will the information utility be a public utility, or will it be privately owned and operated? Will some large companies have their own information utilities, just as some companies today have their own generating plants?

That also sounds like the cloud computing that has been growing at Amazon and Google. Those are sort of like the questions people are asking. Who will own the cloud and how homogeneous http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/ativan/ will it be. And re-read that last sentence.

The high cost of capital equipment is a major reason why producers of electricity are public utilities instead of unregulated companies. A second reason is the extensive distribution network they require to make their product generally available. This network, once established, is geographically fixed and immovable. Wasteful duplication and proliferation of lines could easily result if there were no public regulation.

This above paragraph is so true. Check out the following paragraph:

Barring unforeseen obstacles, an on-line interactive computer service, provided commercially by an information utility, may be as commonplace by 2000 AD as telephone service is today. By 2000 AD man should have a much better comprehension of himself and his system, not because he will be innately any smarter than he is today, but because he will have learned to use imaginatively the most powerful amplifier of intelligence yet devised.

Did you read that? “by 2000 AD”. The article I have been quoting from was written for the Atlantic Monthly in May 1964. This article was written two years before I was born.

This article just blows my mind. The companies are different, the primary industries have changed. The vision is amazing to me. Talk about an accurate extrapolation of the computer industry.

There are a couple of items here that I love.

Dr. Bush himself was only extrapolating from the technology of the time in these particular predictions.

That’s the author of this article, Martin Greenberger, complimenting an earlier author on his foresight. Congratulations to you Mr Greenberger. You hit it dead on.

nor did he bank on the perfection of electronic logic, magnetic cores, and transistors.

heh. That one makes me smile. “the perfection of electronic logic, magnetic cores, and transistors”, oh if only he know how “more perfect” it could get.

And finally, to set it in perspective. When this was written,

Tens of thousands of computers have been perfected and successfully applied in the past two decades

“Tens of thousands”. How many is that now? 10s of billions? This article is 44 years old. I am just amazed.

LewisC

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Google App Engine Gets Perl, Sort Of

November 25th, 2008 Comments off

If you are not familiar with it, Google App Engine is Google’s entry in the cloud, specifically a PaaS or Platform as a Service. With the Google App Engine, you get an IDE (python) to code your applications and then you deploy it to the Google cloud. You can integrate with other google services (as well as other http services) and use BigTable as a data store.

One of the limitation, IMHO, of Google App Engine is that it limited to Python. While I can do a little bit of python coding when I have to, I’m not a big fan of it. I don’t see anything wrong with it, I just only have so many hours in the day and getting deep into python is not a priority for me. Having said that, I think I would rather python to Java.

What I would love to see is a truly pluggable architecture where a developer can choose his own language to interface with the app engine. Obviously, core code would need to be in the language of Google’s choice but everything else should be pluggable via services or APIs. That may be closer http://healthsavy.com/product/soma/ than I thought.

Brad Fitzpatrick announced on his blog that he is working on a 20% project to add Perl to google app engine. He makes sure to be very specific that he is not on the app engine team and that this is not an app engine effort:

To be clear: I’m not a member of the App Engine team and the App Engine team is not promising to add Perl support. They’re just saying that I (along with other Perl hackers here at Google) are now allowed to work on this 20% project of ours out in the open where other Perl hackers can help us out, should you be so inclined.

This is also not quite what I would like in that it is an effort to add Perl, not open it up for pluggable languages. Of course, as Brad says, the need for a hardened interpreter does require internal google effort. Still, this is a nice start. I prefer Perl to python.

LewisC

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