Cloud Hosting Basics
With cloud hosting, you have access to unlimited computing power instantly when you need it. You put your website on a cloud server just as you would put it on a dedicated server. However, when people visit your site, the number of servers hosting your website varies with demand, whereas a dedicated server only has a limited amount of space. If you suddenly need more computing power dedicated to your website on the cloud, you scale up as much as you need to within an instant. You get the computing power you need, as you need it, from the cloud. Once your traffic drops back down, your servers are released back into the cloud. Meanwhile, your end-users are only aware that your site is never busy or down.
Cloud Based Infrastructure Technologies
Cloud Computing technologies are emerging as a common and uniform way of provisioning infrastructure services on-demand that may involve resources from multiple providers and multiple domains, including integration with the legacy services and infrastructures. In this way, clouds represent a new step in evolutionary computing and communication technologies development chain by introducing a new type of services and a new abstraction layer for the general infrastructure services virtualization (similar to utilities) and mobility. Current development of the cloud technologies demonstrate movement to developing Inter-Cloud models, architectures and integration tools that could allow integrating cloud based infrastructure services into existing enterprise and campus infrastructures, on one hand, and provide common/interoperable environment for moving existing infrastructures and infrastructure services to virtualized cloud environment. More complex and enterprise oriented use of cloud based infrastructure services will require developing new service provisioning and security models that could allow creating complex project and group oriented infrastructures provisioned on-demand and across multiple providers.
Cloud based infrastructure virtualization allows for easy upgrade and/or migration of enterprise application, including also the whole IT infrastructure segments. This brings significant cost saving comparing to traditional infrastructure development and management that requires lot of manual work. Cloud based applications operate as regular applications in particular using modern SOA Web Services platforms for services and applications integration, however their composition and integration into distributed cloud based infrastructure will require a number of functionalities and services that can be jointly defined as Inter-Cloud Architecture.
SNE cloud research are focused on the development of the Inter-Cloud Architecture (ICA) that should address problems with multi-domain heterogeneous cloud based applications integration and interoperability, including integration and interoperability with the legacy infrastructure services, and to facilitate interoperable and measurable intra-provider infrastructures and clouds federation. The proposed ICAF will keep compatibility with the existing standards in Cloud Computing, in particular, recently published NIST Cloud Computing Reference Architecture (CCRA), OGF Open Cloud Computing Interface (OCCI). The proposed architecture is intended to provide a conceptual model for developing InterCloud middleware and in this way will facilitate clouds interoperability and integration.
Some organizations may not want to deal with housing, running and maintaining an in-house cloud storage infrastructure. If this is the case, they can contract with a cloud storage service provider for the equipment used to support cloud operations. In this provisioning model, known as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), the service provider owns the equipment (storage, hardware, servers and networking components) and the client typically pays on a per-use basis.
Cloud based services you cannot live without
Cloud based services to applications, services or resources made available to users on demand via the Internet from a cloud computing provider’s servers. Companies typically utilize cloud-based computing as a way to increase capacity, enhance functionality or add additional services on demand without having to commit to potentially expensive infrastructure costs or increase training of the existing in-house support staff. It is time to think about moving part, if not all, of your business to a cloud-based infrastructure. Safety, reliability, scalability, and availability all come to mind when thinking about cloud based services. The price is right now, too, since the companies that provide these services can meet your needs at a lower cost. Private cloud, public cloud, or a mixture of the two makes sense for The Year of The Cloud. Here are some of cloud based services will help you manage your business, keep track of your employees and give your customers unbreakable service.
Dropbox – Dropbox is a backup and storage service that provides 2GB of space free for those who sign-up for the service. Two gigabytes is enough to store critical configuration files, documentation, and other important files. Dropbox supports all operating systems and mobile devices, including the iPad. You can also selectively share your files by folder.
Google Apps – Google Apps include the familiar applications such as mail, docs, instant messaging that you have likely grown used to, and they include an array of new applications that cover every aspect of online business freedom. Use Googles App Marketplace to select web-based software that handles your accounting, document management, CRM and backup/restore.
Amazon EC2 – It is perhaps one of the best known cloud based services. This service provides high-end computing power in the form of virtual machines on Amazons Xen-based virtualization platform. Use the service as a substitute for your entire computing infrastructure or for additional computing bandwidth.
QuickBooks Online – The worlds most popular small business accounting software is now available online. The online versions have the same features and capabilities as the installable desktop versions, including multiple users, payroll, invoicing and integrated online banking. Handling QuickBooks online might seem more expensive than buying your own software, but the online version includes automated backups for your data, automatic upgrades and updates, customer support, and 100 percent availability from any computer with Internet access.
Salesforce.com –This is no longer simply a cloud-based CRM management package but a suite of applications. The suite consists of Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Chatter, Jigsaw, Force.com, Heroku, Database.com, and Remedyforce. Salesforce.com enables your company to deliver fully-equipped and mobile sales.
Top Cloud Computing Service Providers
Just say the words public cloud and those in IT likely think of Amazon Web Services. And that was certainly the case in the Modern Infrastructure Impact Awards, with Amazon Web Services public cloud winning the Best Cloud Computing Service Providers category. Since AWS entered the public cloud arena, it has continued to gain momentum, first with startups and one-off development projects, then gaining more widespread acceptance within the enterprise. As the cloud market continues to grow, enterprises are faced with several choices for cloud service providers. How do IT pros decide which cloud platform to deploy? And how do cloud computing service providers differentiate themselves in a sea of options? Often, it comes down to cost.
Cost is another area where AWS has been leading the industry with multiple instance price reductions throughout this year alone. And IT teams have taken notice. Despite stiff pricing competition among cloud providers, AWS stands out in other areas. The cloud giant currently offers enterprises a wide array of cloud-based services. Service types include compute and networking; storage and content delivery; databases; deployment and management; and application services. And within each of these categories, AWS offers a range of services. AWS also offers online documentation, training and a yearly conference to help customers navigate the ever-changing waters of public cloud computing.
Other cloud computing service providers finalists included:
- Bluelock Virtual Datacenters and cloud services
- Dell Cloud Dedicated Service
- Google Cloud Engine
- IBM SmartCloud
- Joyent Manta Storage Service
- Microsoft Windows Azure Infrastructure Services
- Rackspace Hybrid Cloud
- Stratogent Corp
- Verizon Terremark Enterprise Cloud
The promise of cloud computing is that it can be like a ray of sunshine for a business that needs to increase information technology capacity or capabilities quickly without being bogged down by the expense of buying new infrastructure, licensing software, and training staff. These days, businesses can find a pot of savings at the end of the rainbow by paying for IT services including infrastructure, software, security, and even collaboration platforms on a subscription or a pay-per-usage basis. That means small and mid-sized businesses need to do some homework before plunging into a cloud computing agreement with a vendor. When it comes to choosing a cloud computing vendor, however, there are thousands of options. And finding the right one can be as tricky as predicting the weather. There is a wide landscape of services out there, and you want to fundamentally stay true to how you run IT today in terms of availability, security, performance, and overall business suitability
Concerns associated with cloud data security
The issue of cloud data security is always debatable. While online data storage services claim your data is encrypted, there are no guarantees. With recent revelations that the federal government taps into the files of Internet search engines, email and cloud service providers, any myth about data privacy on the Internet has been busted. Experts say there is simply no way to ever be completely sure your data will remain secure once you have moved it to the cloud. While providers of email, chat, social network and cloud services often claim even in their service agreements that the data they store is encrypted and private, most often they not you are the ones who hold the keys. That means a rogue employee or any government legally requesting encryption keys can decrypt and see your data.
Even when service providers say only customers can generate and maintain their own encryption keys, there is no way to be sure others will not be able to gain access. For instance, Apples SMS/MMS-like communications platform, iMessage, claims both voice and text are encrypted and cannot be heard or seen by third parties. But because the product is not open source, there is no way for us to know how it works. Freedom of Information Act requests by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) revealed earlier last year that the U.S. government claims the right to read personal online data without warrants. That does not leave people with much trust concerning cloud data security.
To fully secure their data in the cloud, enterprise IT teams should never solely rely on their cloud provider. Instead, that responsibility should always be shared. To ensure a shared responsibility model for cloud or an approach by which both the cloud provider and its customers are accountable for certain aspects of cloud data security enterprises must clearly define their own responsibilities, along with those of the cloud provider. A distinct line should be drawn that indicates which party is accountable not only for certain aspects of data security, but the security of applications, virtual machines, interfaces, service configurations and more in the cloud.
Most major cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), detail their shared responsibility models on their websites. AWS, for its part, says its customers are responsible for security in the cloud, which includes the security of data, applications, operating systems, and network and firewall configurations.
Common Cloud development services and tools
Cloud Development Services deliver an industrialized approach to application development through integration of process, tools, platform and people. Our approach helps organizations realize faster cloud enablement, as well as faster enterprise, mobile and Salesforce.com application development. These new tools, skills and processes reduce time to market for new applications by 20 percent and the overall cost of delivery by 30 percent. New applications also realize higher quality through integration and the reuse of standardized methodologies and assets. Cloud application development services are often presented along with certain benefits, such as reducing risk for IT implementation or decreasing time-to-market for applications. Businesses continue to use a variety of cloud application development services in order to get online with cloud applications that support their core operations.
Developing applications has traditionally been a manually intensive activity that has often been outpaced by the rate of change in the business. With the increasing demand of business change, development teams can find themselves falling further behind the curve. Organizations are widely aware of the benefits that new technology can bring, but their internal development teams just dont have the experience or skills needed to take advantage of new opportunities.
Cloud computing is at an early stage of its development. This can be seen by observing the large number of small and start-up companies offering cloud development services. In a more established industry, the smaller players eventually fall by the wayside as larger companies take center stage. That said, cloud services development services and tools are offered by a variety of companies, both large and small. The most basic offerings provide cloud-based hosting for applications developed from scratch. The more fully featured offerings include development tools and pre-built applications that developers can use as the building blocks for their own unique web-based applications.
With so many business processes moving to the cloud, more and different types of applications are needed. Vendors offer cloud development services to assist companies and organizations in developing robust cloud technologies, either by developing brand-new applications or by moving them from legacy systems. As a result, cloud application development services can include services related to consulting, development, migration, integration or testing. Cloud application development service vendors may help determine a choice of cloud platform, for instance, private, public or hybrid, or help a client figure out how to move functionality from outdated legacy systems to the cloud.
Examples of Cloud Hosted Solutions
Cloud hosted solutions provide hosting for websites on virtual servers which pull their computing resource from extensive underlying networks of physical web servers. It follows the utility model of computing in that it is available as a service rather than a product and is therefore comparable with traditional utilities such as electricity and gas. Broadly speaking the client can tap into their service as much as they need, depending on the demands of their website, and they will only pay for what they use. It exists as an alternative to hosting websites on single servers either dedicated or shared servers and can be considered as an extension of the concept of clustered hosting where websites are hosted on multiple servers. With cloud hosting however, the network of servers that are used is vast and often pulled from different data centers in different locations.
Practical examples of cloud hosted solutions can fall under both the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) classifications. Under IaaS offerings the client is simply provided with the virtualised hardware resource on which they can install their own choice of software environment before building their web application. On a PaaS service however, the client is also provided with this software environment, for instance, as a solution stack such as operating system, database support, web server software, and programming support, on which they can go straight to installing and developing their web application. Businesses with complex IT infrastructures and experienced IT professionals may wish to opt for the more customizable IaaS model but others may prefer the ease of a PaaS option.
The more obvious examples of cloud hosted solutions involve the use of public cloud models, that is hosting websites on virtual servers which pull resource from the same pool as other publicly available virtual servers and use the same public networks to transmit the data; data which is physically stored on the underlying shared servers which form the cloud resource. These public clouds will include some security measures to ensure that data is kept private and would suffice for most website installations. However, where security and privacy is more of a concern, businesses can turn towards cloud hosting in private clouds as an alternative, which is clouds which use ring-fenced resources servers and networks whether located on site or with the cloud provider.
Top cloud infrastructure as a service vendors
Amazon Web Services got the cloud infrastructure ball rolling years ago, offering cloud Infrastructure as a Service and killing the need for servers and, in-turn, data to be on-site. With that, dubbed Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon set the table and in just a few years thousands of companies have clamored for a seat. Retailers looking for a home for their expansive retail software solutions have made Amazon the go-to host in this industry and other industries are taking notice. While everyone does the infrastructure component a bit differently, the mission is clear: Cut costs, reduce space constraints, lower management overhead and offer scalable compute capacity on-demand at a figurative, and sometimes literal, flick of a switch. Here some of the best cloud infrastructure as a service vendors that are making the infrastructure game their own and altering the way IT is consumed.
- Amazon Web Services has become the one to beat in the cloud game, and Amazon EC2, its compute capacity play, set the standard for spinning up and taking down cloud capacity quickly and affordably with a pay-as-you-go model.
- BlueLock comes at the cloud from a different way, offering cloud computing and managed services backed by VMware vCloud Datacenter Services. Its data centers are secure and SAS-70 Type II certified, so users know their cloud data is untouchable.
- While Datapipe leverages Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure as a service, it makes its cloud computing plays unique by adding managed services on top of Amazon EC2 to include monitoring, patching, change management, deployment and more, giving users tools to manage their cloud infrastructure.
- HP BladeSystem Matrix play lays the foundation for the private cloud and provisions infrastructure and apps while cutting ownership costs up to an estimated 56 percent.
- NaviSite evolved from hosting to offering Managed Cloud Services for on-demand provisioning of IT services like apps, messaging, servers, storage and networks for enterprises. NaviSite promises usage-based billing, unrivaled SLAs and top-notch support.
- When Verizon acquired Terremark, it vowed to let the business run as it had. That was smart. Terremark is a cloud infrastructure as service darling leveraging top-notch data centers to give governments and enterprises agility, scale and savings with its Enterprise Cloud offering.
- CA came out of its corner swinging for a knockout punch. With acquisitions over the past two years totaling more than $1 billion in cloud buys, CA has amassed a cloud army ready to battle all comers.
Most Popular Cloud Platforms
Cloud platform development is on the rise. As cloud computing grows and expands its reach, there are more Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) providers that present computing solutions for cloud development. The services provided by these PaaS cloud development platforms offer turnkey applications to allow companies to implement specific cloud-related strategies. These cloud platforms facilitate and present a user-friendly application program interface (API). There are numerous PaaS offerings available. Cloud developers now have a multitude of platforms on which they can address various computing issues and concerns.
Popular Cloud Platforms
ActiveState – ActiveState presents a platform that is able to target a multiplicity of Web languages. At present, ActiveState is believed to be used by more than two million developers. The platforms presented by ActiveState provides developers with tools that will allow them to develop cloud solutions for applications that use dynamic and multiple web language.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) – Amazon Web Services is virtually a full suite of application and infrastructure services that produce the capability for cloud developers to run nearly any computing function from within the cloud. It has the capability to run data based projects, enterprise applications, mobile applications social games and more. It boasts a user-friendly interface and fewer restrictions to moving across clouds.
Force.com – Force.com is a cloud development platform designed by Saleforce.com and is branded as a social enterprise platform. Through this platform cloud developers can build apps that have social and mobile functionality as well as facilitate business processes, data search and reporting. Force.com allows data to be automatically backed up. It allows applications to be run within Saleforce.com’s data center.
Google App Engine – This cloud development platform empowers developers to design, develop and run Web-based applications on Google’s infrastructure. It offers what is known as dynamic web serving, sorting and storage. It also boasts automation in the area of load balancing and scaling. This platform also supports the development of Java applications and languages. What is known as the Dev environment allows cloud developers to access and use Google App Engine-only local computing devices.
Microsoft Windows Azure – Azure allows cloud developers to deploy specific applications through a network of data managed by Microsoft Data Centers. Developers also have the capability to host Apache servers. Azure offers structured query language (SQL) database services along with storage capabilities, business analytics, ISM and content delivery.
CloudBees – This cloud development platform facilitates the ability to build Java-based applications, as well as run and manage those applications from the cloud. This process can be done expeditiously and with ease.
Comparing different cloud providers VMs
You have done your homework and determined you need to extend your data center to the public cloud. You have researched the technology and determined the criteria you will use to make your purchasing decision. Now, it is time to choose the public cloud provider to host your virtual machines. But which provider offers the services and support that best matches your environment and needs? This article compares four leading public cloud providers which are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, Microsoft and Rackspace.
VM migration support – AWS offers the most seamless VM migration path of all the major cloud providers, although Microsoft is not far behind. AWS provides a graphical interface called the AWS Management Portal for vCenter which allows virtualization administrators to manage their Amazon-based resources through VMware vCenter. The portal also makes it possible to migrate VMware VMs to the public cloud.
Custom image support – Cloud providers generally allow VMs to be built from predefined images, but these generic OS images do not always meet an organizations needs. As such, a cloud provider should allow custom virtual machine images to be created and used. AWS provides Amazon EC2 API tools which can be used to import VM images into the Amazon cloud.
Image library – Rackspace offers a broad selection of server operating systems. It provides nearly a dozen different Linux variants, including Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS. In addition, Rackspace offers Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2012. Windows Server images can be preloaded with SQL Server or with SharePoint.
Autoscaling – Rackspace provides an autoscale feature that expands or shrinks your cloud according to a set of user-defined rules. These rules can include a schedule allowing workloads to scale up just prior to an expected demand spike, and scale down when the event passes.
Network connectivity – AWS offers something it calls Enhanced Networking. This service is available for Windows and Linux VMs, and offers higher-performance networking than what is delivered out of the box. Enhanced Networking is specifically designed to provide low latency and low jitter, and is enabled by default for Amazon Machine Images based on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Linux HVM.
Storage choices – Amazon EC2 includes basic storage for VMs, but the service is really designed to connect to Amazons Elastic Block Store (EBS) service, which is designed to be scalable, flexible and fault tolerant. For instance, storage can be provisioned as general purpose, with solid-state disk (SSD) and hard disk drive (HDD) options available, or Provisioned IOPS.