Cloud Computing Models Changing The World Information Technology Essay

The Cloud has become a new vehicle for delivering resources such as computing and storage to customers on demand. Rather than being a new technology in itself, the cloud is a new business model wrapped around new technologies such as server virtualization that take advantage of economies of scale and multi-tenancy to reduce the cost of using information technology resources. This paper discusses the business drivers in the Cloud delivery mechanism and business model, what the requirements are in this space, and how standard interfaces, coordinated between different organizations can meet the emerging needs for interoperability and portability of data between clouds.

Hence, Cloud computing is about moving services, computation and/or data-for cost and business advantage-off-site to an internal or external, location-transparent, centralized facility or contractor. By making data available in the cloud, it can be more easily and ubiquitously accessed, often at much lower cost, increasing its value by enabling opportunities for enhanced collaboration, integration, and analysis on a shared common platform.

Cloud computing describes both a platform and a type of application. A cloud-computing platform dynamically provides, configures, reconfigures, and deprovisions servers as needed. Cloud applications are applications that are extended to be accessible through the Internet. These cloud applications use large data centers and powerful servers that host Web applications and Web services.

Enterprises are increasingly making innovation their highest priority. They realize they need to seek new ideas and unlock new sources of value. Driven by the pressure to cut costs and grow- simultaneously-they realize that it’s not possible to succeed simply by doing the same things better. They know they have to do new things that produce better results.

Cloud computing enables innovation. It alleviates the need of innovators to find resources to develop, test, and make their innovations available to the user community. Innovators are free to focus on the innovation rather than the logistics of finding and managing resources.

Enterprises can choose to deploy applications on Public, Private or Hybrid clouds. Cloud Integrators can play a vital part in determining the right cloud path for each organization. Therefore, there are four types of cloud paths they are :

Cloud computing provides the facility to access shared resources and common infrastructure, offering services on demand over the network to perform operations that meet changing business needs. The end user does typically not know the location of physical resources and devices being accessed. It also provides facilities for users to develop, deploy and manage their applications ‘on the cloud’, which entails virtualization of resources that maintains and manages itself.

Cloud Computing,” to put it simply, means “Internet Computing.” The Internet is commonly visualized as clouds; hence the term “cloud computing” for computation done through the Internet. With Cloud Computing users can access database resources via the Internet from anywhere, for as long as they need, without worrying about any maintenance or management of actual resources. Besides, databases in cloud are very dynamic and scalable.

Cloud computing is unlike grid computing, utility computing, or autonomic computing. In fact, it is a very independent platform in terms of computing.

The best example of cloud computing is Google Apps, where any application can be accessed using a browser and it can be deployed on thousands of computer through the Internet.


Cloud computing is set to take over the world, or at least possibly replace Microsoft Outlook. The cloud concept is simple: It’s a way to access your data and apps from anywhere, via the Internet (or “the cloud”). Yet everyone from Gartner Group to Google has a slightly different take on cloud computing: It can be anything from storing and sharing documents on Google Docs to running your entire company operations using a remote, third-party data center. Some envision it as a way to compute without operating systems, or pesky local client programs, and with minimal hardware needs (just a basic client machine).

“The most important single characteristic of a cloud is abstraction of the hardware from the service,” says John Willis, a noted cloud-computing expert and blogger, explaining that the location of the servers is not as important as easy access to the data. “However you define it, I think cloud technology will have a footprint in every business that does IT within the next five years.”

Cloud computing increases capacity and expands computing capabilities without heavy investment in infrastructure, training or software licensing. Most importantly though it democratizes Web 2.0-application development. With the removal of two significant barriers to entry – cost and capacity access – suddenly even small, lesser-funded entrepreneurs can dream big and bring their grand Web 2.0 applications to market.

CLOUD COMPUTING has been changing how most people use the web and how they store their files. It’s the structure that runs sites like Facebook, Amazon and Twitter and the core that allows us to take advantage of services like Google Docs and Gmail. But how does it work???


Before we dig further into how does cloud computing work, first let’s understand what the term “CLOUD” refers to.  The concept of the cloud has been around for a long time in many different incarnations in the business world. It mostly means a grid of computers serving as a service-oriented architecture to deliver software and data.

Most websites and server-based applications run on particular computers or servers. What differentiates the cloud from the way those are set up is that the cloud utilizes the resources from the computers as a collective virtual computer, where the applications can run independently from particular computer or server configurations. They are basically floating around in a “cloud of resources”, making the hardware less important to how the applications work.

With broadband Internet, the need to have the software run on your computer or on a company’s site is becoming less and less essential. A lot of the software that people use nowadays are completely web-based. The cloud takes advantage of that to bring it to the next level.

For example, if you are hosting your website on a local server or from your PC, you must usually select a particular operating system (Windows/Linux/Mac), to determine what software you can run on that particular server. If your site is being hosted in the cloud, there is no need to do that. You can run Windows and Linux programs side by side.


To understand how does cloud computing work, imagine that the cloud consists of layers – mostly the back-end layers and the front-end or user-end layers. The front-end layers are the ones you see and interact with. When you access your email on Gmail for example, you are using software running on the front-end of a cloud. The same is true when you access your Facebook account. The back-end consists of the hardware and the software architecture that fuels the interface you see on the front end.

As always seen, the user-end is usually a third party application or a termination for implementing their ideas on a visual end and rest all (hardware and logical) is taken care off at the back-end.

Because the computers are set up to work together, the applications can take advantage of all that computing power as if they were running on one particular machine. Cloud computing also allows for a lot of flexibility. Depending on the demand, you can increase how much of the cloud resources you use without the need for assigning specific hardware for the job, or just reduce the amount of resources assigned to you when they are not necessary.

The Cloud makes it possible to launch Web 2.0 applications quickly and to scale up applications as much as needed when needed. The platform supports traditional JavaTM and Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (LAMP) stack-based applications as well as new architectures such as MapReduce and the Google File System, which provide a means to scale applications across thousands of servers instantly.


The transition from being very ‘personal hardware dependent’ to a world where resources are shared among the masses is creeping up on us slowly and unobtrusively. Very many people have already transitioned to using a cloud environment for most of their time in front of the computer without even realizing it.

Sure, most of us still use some version of Microsoft Office or Quickbooks that was installed on our computers, but even those kinds of software are now offering an online version that can be used instead. The possibility of being able to access your data and software wherever you need it makes this transition very appealing to most people.

Are there problems with this concept? Of course there are. If for some reason your internet goes down, your access to your data also disappears. There are security concerns with the data and the risk that companies will use proprietary formats for the files and that require that you pay for a certain service monthly or you may lose access to your own data permanently.

So choose wisely when picking a service to use with your important data and make sure it can be downloaded if needed, but also enjoy the flexibility those services provide. The wave of the future is in the clouds…

‘Dreaming big.  Now that’s what its all about.’


Ĭ Cloud Computing Models

Cloud Providers offer services that can be grouped into three categories, they are:

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Software as a Service (SaaS):

In this model, a complete application is offered to the customer, as a service on demand. A single instance of the service runs on the cloud & multiple end users are serviced. On the customers‟ side, there is no need for upfront investment in servers or software licenses, while for the provider; the costs are lowered, since only a single application needs to be hosted & maintained. Today companies such as Google, Salesforce, Microsoft, Zoho, etc offer SaaS.

Platform as a Service (Paas):

Here, a layer of software, or development environment is encapsulated & offered as a service, upon which other higher levels of service can be built. The customer has the freedom to build his own applications, which run on the provider‟s infrastructure. To meet manageability and scalability requirements of the applications, PaaS providers offer a predefined combination of OS and application servers, such as LAMP platform (Linux, Apache, MySql and PHP), restricted J2EE, Ruby etc. Google‟s App Engine,, etc are some of the popular PaaS examples.

Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas):

IaaS provides basic storage and computing capabilities as standardized services over the network. Servers, storage systems, networking equipment, data centre space etc. are pooled and made available to handle workloads. The customer would typically deploy his own software on the infrastructure. Some common examples are Amazon, GoGrid, 3 Tera, etc are some of the popular IaaS examples.

Ĭ Types Of Cloud Computing

Enterprises can choose to deploy applications on Public, Private, Community or Hybrid clouds. Cloud Integrators can play a vital part in determining the right cloud path for each organization.

Cloud Computing can be classified into 4 types on the basis of location where the cloud is hosted:

Public Cloud

ƒ  Public clouds are owned and operated by third parties; they deliver superior economies of scale to customers, as the infrastructure costs are spread among a mix of users, giving each individual client an attractive low-cost, “Pay-as-you-go” model. All customers share the same infrastructure pool with limited configuration, security protections, and availability variances. These are managed and supported by the cloud provider. One of the advantages of a Public cloud is that they may be larger than an enterprises cloud, thus providing the ability to scale seamlessly, on demand.

ƒ  Also, the infrastructure is hosted at the vendor’s premises. The customer has no visibility over the location of the cloud computing infrastructure. The computing infrastructure is shared between organizations.

Private Cloud

ƒ  Private clouds are built exclusively for a single enterprise. They aim to address concerns on data security and offer greater control, which is typically lacking in a public cloud. There are two variations to a private cloud:

-> On-premise Private Cloud: On-premise private clouds, also known as internal clouds are hosted within one’s own data center. This model provides a more standardized process and protection, but is limited in aspects of size and scalability. IT departments would also need to incur the capital and operational costs for the physical resources. This is best suited for applications, which require complete control and configurability of the infrastructure and security.

-> Externally hosted Private Cloud: This type of private cloud is hosted externally with a cloud provider, where the provider facilitates an exclusive cloud environment with full guarantee of privacy. This is best suited for enterprises that don’t prefer a public cloud due to sharing of physical resources.

ƒ  All in all, private cloud architecture is dedicated to the customer and is not shared with other organizations. They are expensive and are considered more secure than Public Clouds. Private clouds may be externally hosted ones as well as in premise-hosted clouds.

Hybrid Cloud

ƒ  Hybrid Clouds combine both public and private cloud models. With a Hybrid Cloud, service providers can utilize 3rd party Cloud Providers in a full or partial manner thus increasing the flexibility of computing. The Hybrid cloud environment is capable of providing on-demand, externally provisioned scale. The ability to augment a private cloud with the resources of a public cloud can be used to manage any unexpected surges in workload.

ƒ  In technical terms, Organizations host some critical, secure applications in private clouds. The not so critical applications are hosted in the public cloud. The combination is known as Hybrid Cloud. Cloud bursting is the term used to define a system where the organization uses its own infrastructure for normal usage, but cloud is used for peak loads.

Community Cloud

ƒ  The cloud infrastructure is shared between the organizations of the same community.

ƒ For example, all the government agencies in a city can share the same cloud but not the non government agencies.


Difference Between Cloud Computing And Other Computing Techniques.

Ĭ Cloud Computing Vs Grid (distributed) Computing

Grid computing has been used in environments where users make few but large allocation requests. For example, a lab may have a 1000 node cluster and users make allocations for all 1000, or 500, or 200, etc. So only a few of these allocations can be serviced at a time and others need to be scheduled for when resources are released. This results in sophisticated batch job scheduling algorithms of parallel computations.


Cloud computing really, is about lots of small allocation requests. The Amazon EC2 accounts are limited to 20 servers each by default and lots and lots of users allocate up to 20 servers out of the pool of many thousands of servers at Amazon. The allocations are real-time and in fact there is no provision for queuing allocations until someone else releases resources. This is a completely different resource allocation paradigm, a completely different usage pattern, and all this results in completely different method of using compute resources.


In grid computing, a single big task is split into multiple smaller tasks, which are further distributed to different computing machines. Upon completion of these smaller tasks, they are sent back to the primary machine which in return offers a single output.


Whereas a cloud computing architecture is intended to enable users to use difference services without the need for investment in the underlying architecture. Though, grid too offers similar facility for computing power, but cloud computing isn’t restricted to just that. With a cloud users can avail various services such as website hosting etc.

Grid computing is where more than one computer coordinates to solve a problem together. Often used for problems involving a lot of number crunching, which can be easily parallelizable.


Cloud computing is where an application doesn’t access resources it requires directly, rather it accesses them through something like a service. So instead of talking to a specific hard drive for storage, and a specific CPU for computation, etc. it talks to some service that provides these resources. The service then maps any requests for resources to its physical resources, in order to provide for the application. Usually the service has access to a large amount of physical resources, and can dynamically allocate them as they are needed.


With grid computing, your company gets power and flexibility. Grid computing, however, occurs when the processing power of an application or service is distributed across multiple systems. This is usually done in order to increase processing capacity or improve system resiliency.


Grid Computing

Cloud ComputingWith cloud computing, your company gets cost-savings and convenience. This is where you get access to the resources of an independent 3rd party over the internet. In other words, they are remotely hosted applications.

Life Before And After Cloud Computing.

ƒ  Before Cloud Computing

Traditional business applications-like those from SAP, Microsoft, and Oracle-have always been too complicated and expensive. They need a data center with office space, power, cooling, bandwidth, networks, servers, and storage. A complicated software stack. And a team of experts to install, configure, and run them. They need development, testing, staging, production, and failover (means for ensuring high availability of some critical resource) environments.

When you multiply these headaches across dozens or hundreds of applications, it’s easy to see why the biggest companies with the best IT departments aren’t getting the applications they need. Small businesses don’t stand a chance.

Imagine a world without bridges.  It would be pretty hard to get from point A to point B reliably and without interruption!  The Cloud Computing is the to the Bridge solution that increases interoperability between your on-premise datacenters and off-premise clouds.  This interoperability increases your flexibility, enabling more choice around what applications you can move to the cloud.  Since the Cloud Bridge solution supports multiple virtualization environments, you also have more choice in cloud providers, enabling you to drive down costs.  In short, Cloud Computing is the big bridge to fill the big gap between your datacenter or the application.

ƒ  After Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a better way to run your business. Instead of running your applications yourself, they run on a shared data center. When you use any application that runs in the cloud, you just log in, customize it, and start using it. That’s the power of cloud computing.

Businesses are running all kinds of applications in the cloud these days, like CRM(Customer Relationship Management), HR(Human Resources), accounting, and custom-built applications. Cloud-based applications can be up and running in a few days, which is unheard of with traditional business software. They cost less, because you don’t need to need to pay for all the people, products, and facilities to run them. And, it turns out they’re more scalable, more secure, and more reliable than most applications. Plus, upgrades are taken care of for you, so your applications get security and performance enhancements and new features-automatically.

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The way you pay for cloud-based applications is also different. Forget about buying servers and software. When your apps run in the cloud, you don’t buy anything. It’s all rolled up into a predictable monthly subscription, so you only pay for what you actually use.

Cloud applications don’t eat up your valuable IT resources, so your CFO(Chief Financial Officer) will love it. This lets you focus on deploying more applications, new projects, and innovation.

The Nature of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing builds on established trends for driving the cost out of the delivery of services while increasing the speed and agility with which services are deployed. It shortens the time from designing an application architecture to actual deployment. Cloud computing integrates virtualization, on-demand deployment, Internet delivery of services, and open source software.

The on-demand, self-service, pay-by-use model

The on-demand nature of cloud computing helps to support the performance and capacity aspects of service-level objectives. The self-service nature of cloud computing allows organizations to create flexible environments that expand and contract based on the workload and target performance parameters. And the pay-by-use nature of cloud computing may take the form of equipment renting that guarantee a minimum level of service from a cloud provider so billing is based on resource consumption: CPU hours used, volumes of data moved, or gigabytes of data stored.

Growth and Further scope Of Cloud Computing.

ƒ¨ Cloud computing is being touted as the future of the web. Everything from your Word documents to pictures, music has been moving to the cloud. In Google Apps, the company has a strong competing product to Microsoft Office. So, how big is all of this going to be. Here are some statistics from a Gartner study

Value of Cloud computing services through the years

2008 : $46.41 billion

2009 : $56.30 billion

2013 : $150.1 billion (projected)

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Cloud Computing.

Cloud computing is fast evolving from a futuristic technology into a commercially viable alternative for companies in search of a cost-effective storage and server solution. In fact, Gartner Inc. predicts that by 2012, 80 percent of Fortune 1000 enterprises will pay for some cloud-computing service, while 30 percent of them will pay for cloud-computing infrastructure. While the technology has its fair share of drawbacks (such as privacy and security concerns), an undeniable silver lining is currently turning skeptics into enthusiasts. Here some of the advantages of cloud computing:


Scalability: IT departments that anticipate an enormous uptick in user load need not scramble to secure additional hardware and software with cloud computing. Instead, an organization can add and subtract capacity as its network load dictates. Better yet, because cloud computing follows a utility model in which service costs are based on consumption, companies pay for only what they use.

Easy Implementation: Without the need to purchase hardware, software licenses or implementation services, a company can get its cloud-computing arrangement off the ground in record time – and for a fraction of the cost of an on-premise solution.

Skilled Practitioners: When a particular technology becomes popular, it’s not uncommon for a whole slew of vendors to jump on the bandwagon. In the case of cloud computing, however, vendors have typically been reputable enough to offer customers reliable service and large enough to deliver huge datacenters with endless amounts of storage and computing capacity. These vendors include industry stalwarts such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, Yahoo! Inc. and Inc, etc.

Frees Up Internal Resources: By placing storage and server needs in the hands of an outsourcer, a company essentially shifts the burden placed on its in-house IT team to a third-party provider. The result: In-house IT departments can focus on business-critical tasks without having to incur additional costs in manpower and training.

Quality of Service: Network outages can send an IT department scrambling for answers. But in the case of cloud computing, it’s up to a company’s selected vendor to offer 24/7 customer support and an immediate response to emergency situations. That’s not to suggest that outages don’t occur. In February 2008,’s S3 cloud-computing service experienced a brief outage that affected a number of companies. Fortunately, service was restored within three hours.

ƒ  According to Jonathan Koomey, who is a consulting professor for Stanford University and a project scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, there are four primary reasons why cloud computing (at least philosophically speaking) should be a more power-efficient approach than an in-house data center. This is the order in which Koomey lists them.

Workload diversity: Because you will have many different sorts of users making use of the cloud resources – different applications, different feature set preferences and different usage volumes – this will improve hardware utilization and therefore make better use of power that you’re using anyway to keep a server up and running.

Economies of economies of scale: There are certain fixed costs associated with setting up any physical data center. According to Koomey, implementing technical and organization changes is cheaper per computation for larger organizations than for IT small shops. And because you will have more people using the infrastructure, again, you can spread those costs more efficiently.

Power-management flexibility: Koomey postulates that it’s easier to manage virtual servers than physical servers from a power perspective. If hardware fails, the load can automatically be deployed elsewhere. Likewise, in theory, you could move all virtual loads to certain servers when loads are light and power-down or idle those that aren’t being used

You can pick the most efficient site possible: So, for example, if you are a business based in a state that uses primarily coal-powered electricity, do you really want to site your data center there? “If you have a data center in a place that is all coal-powered, this is a big business risk,” Koomey says. In a future where there might actually be a tax on the carbon your company produces, that would certainly be a risk indeed.


ƒ  One of its few major issues is that cloud computing relies totally on network connections. If the network goes down, you’re done using the computer until it is back up. If the network gets bogged down, then your computing will be slower.

ƒ  The other major downfall is that it doesn’t use a hard drive. While it is a benefit, it is also a negative. Some applications or hardware might require having a hard drive attached to the computer; these might be hard to get working properly with the hard drive on a remote server.

ƒ  The last big issue is peripherals. Getting printers to work is hit or miss. The more popular printers will give you little trouble when you try to get them working properly. The little printers that aren’t as common, such as label printers, can face issues with the mini PC that each user has.

ƒ  In most big businesses, few people have personal printers; most printers are networked, so it’s not a big issue to a majority of users. Things such as scanners use software to work with the PC, however, and if your virtual hard drive doesn’t have the software, when you log onto the cloud computer at a desk, you won’t be able to use the scanner until you install the software.

Some Of The Disadvantages Are Listed Below

Security: No control over the business assets (data!). The main assets in every company are its data files with valuable customer information. A proper security model for cloud computing is not yet developed. Security, privacy and compliancy is still difficult for cloud solutions. Especially for public cloud services. Physical location of hardware and software is unknown. Site inspections and audits are hard. Availability. Constant connectivity is required. Failure to compliance. E.g. HIPAA, SOX, PCI, SAS 70 and audits. Risk of data loss due to improper backups or system failures in the virtualized environment.

Dependency (Lost On Control): Quality problems with Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP) No influence on maintenance levels and fix frequency when using cloud services from a CSP. No or little insight in CSP contingency procedures. Especially backup, restore and disaster recovery. No easy migration to an other CSP. Measurement of resource usage and end user activities lies in the hands of the CSP. Tied to the financial health of another Company.

Cost And Flexibility: Special customization not possible. Possible lower rate of business IT innovation. The technological innovation pace is dictated by CSP. Cost: Hidden cost (e.g. compliancy regulations, backup, restore, disaster recovery and problem solving.) Opaque cost structure due to highly flexible usage of cloud services; Cost advantages is as hard to get when using outsourcing for IT services in a traditional way. Risks of higher future charges are real.

Requires a constant Internet connection: Cloud computing is impossible if you can’t connect to the Internet. Since you use the Internet to connect to both your applications and documents, if you don’t have an Internet connection you can’t access anything, even your own documents. A dead Internet connection means no work, period-and, in areas where Internet connections are few or inherently unreliable, this could be a deal-breaker. When you’re offline, cloud computing simply doesn’t work.

Doesn’t work well with low-speed connections: Similarly, a low-speed Internet connection, such as that found with dial-up services, makes cloud computing painful at best and often impossible. Web-based apps require a lot of bandwidth to download, as do large documents. If you’re laboring with a low-speed dial-up connection, it might take seemingly forever just to change from page to page in a document, let alone to launch a feature-rich cloud service. In other words, cloud computing isn’t for the broadband-impaired.

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Can be slow: Even on a fast connection, web-based applications can sometimes be slower than accessing a similar software program on your desktop PC. Everything about the program, from the interface to the current document, has to be sent back and forth from your computer to the computers in the cloud. If the cloud servers happen to be backed up at that moment, or if the Internet is having a slow day, you won’t get the instantaneous access you might expect from desktop apps.

Features might be limited: This situation is bound to change, but today many web-based applications simply aren’t as full-featured as their desktop-based brethren. For example, you can do a lot more with Microsoft PowerPoint than with Google Presentation’s web-based offering. The basics are similar, but the cloud application lacks many of PowerPoint’s advanced features. If you’re a power user, you might not want to leap into cloud computing just yet.

Stored data might not be secure: With cloud computing, all your data is stored on the cloud. How secure is the cloud? Can unauthorized users gain access to your confidential data? Cloud computing companies say that data is secure, but it’s too early in the game to be completely sure of that. Only time will tell if your data is secure in the cloud.

Stored data can be lost: Theoretically, data stored in the cloud is unusually safe, replicated across multiple machines. But on the off chance that your data goes missing, you have no physical or local backup. (Unless you methodically download all your cloud documents to your own desktop-which few users do.) Put simply, relying on the cloud puts you at risk if the cloud lets you down.



There are plenty of concerns, surrounding cloud computing and its attendant security risks. What a lot companies fail to understand, however, is that many vendors rely on strict privacy policies, as well on sophisticated security measures, such as proven cryptographic methods to authenticate users. What’s more, companies can choose to encrypt data before even storing it on a third-party provider’s servers. As a result, many cloud-computing vendors offer greater data security and confidentiality than companies that choose to store their data in the house.

‘JUST TO KNOW FACTS’ And Various Aspects Of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing infrastructures can allow enterprises to achieve more efficient use of their IT hardware and software investments. They do this by breaking down the physical barriers inherent in isolated systems, and automating the management of the group of systems as a single entity. Cloud computing is an example of an ultimately virtualized system, and a natural evolution for data centers that employ automated systems management, workload balancing, and virtualization technologies.

A cloud infrastructure can be a cost efficient model for delivering information services, reducing IT management complexity, promoting innovation, and increasing responsiveness through real- time workload balancing.

The Cloud makes it possible to launch Web 2.0 applications quickly and to scale up applications as much as needed when needed. The platform supports traditional JavaTM and Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (LAMP) stack-based applications as well as new architectures such as MapReduce and the Google File System, which provide a means to scale applications across thousands of servers instantly.

Large amounts of computer resource, in the form of Xen virtual machines, can be provisioned and made available for new applications within minutes instead of days or weeks. Developers can gain access to these resources through a portal and put them to use immediately. Several products are available that provide virtual machine capabilities, including proprietary ones such as VMware, and open source alternatives, such as XEN. This paper describes the use of XEN virtualization.

Many customers are interested in cloud infrastructures to serve as platforms for innovation, particularly in countries that want to foster the development of a highly skilled, high-tech work force. They want to provide startups and research organizations with an environment for idea exchange, and the ability to rapidly develop and deploy new product prototypes.

In fact, HiPODS has been hosting IBM’s innovation portal on a virtualized cloud infrastructure in our Silicon Valley Lab for nearly two years. We have over seventy active innovations at a time, with each innovation lasting on average six months. 50% of those innovations are Web 2.0 projects (search, collaboration, and social networking) and 27% turn into products or solutions. Our success with the innovation portal is documented in the August 20 Business Week cover story on global collaboration.

Usage scenarios

Cloud computing can play a significant role in a variety of areas including internal pilots, innovations, virtual worlds, e-business, social networks, and search. Here we summarize several basic but important usage scenarios that highlight the breadth and depth of impact that cloud computing can have on an enterprise.

Internal innovation

Innovators request resources online through a simple Web interface. They specify a desired start and end dates for their pilot. A cloud resource administrator approves or rejects the request. Upon approval, the cloud provisions the servers. The innovator has the resources available for use within a few minutes or an hour depending on what type of resource was requested.

Virtual worlds

Virtual worlds require significant amounts of computing power, especially as those virtual spaces become large or as more and more users log in. Massively multiplayer online games (MMPOG) are a good example of significantly large virtual worlds. Several commercial virtual worlds have as many as nine million registered users and hundreds and thousands of servers supporting these environments.

A company that hosts a virtual world could have real time monitors showing the utilization level of the current infrastructure or the average response time of the clients in any given ‘realm’ of the virtual world. Realms are arbitrary areas within a virtual world that support a specific subset of people or subset of the world. The company discovers that realm A has an significant increase in use and the response times are declining, whereas realms S and Z have decreased in use. The company initiates a cloud rebalance request to deprovision five servers each from realms S and Z and provision ten servers to Realm A. After a couple of minutes the ten servers are relocated without interruption to any users in any of the realms and the response time for realm A has returned to acceptable levels. The company has achieved significant cost savings by reusing underutilized equipment, maintained high customer satisfaction, avoided help desk calls from users and completed in minutes what would previously have taken days or weeks to accomplish.


In e-business, scalability can be achieved by making new servers available as needed. For example, during a peak shopping season, more virtual servers can be made available that can cater to high shopper demand. In another example a company may experience high workloads on weekends or evenings as opposed to early mornings and weekdays. If a company has a significantly large cloud, they could schedule computer resources to be provisioned each evening, weekend, or during a peak season. There are more opportunities to achieve efficiencies as the cloud grows. Another aspect of this scenario involves employing business policies to decide what applications receive higher priorities and thus more computing resources. Revenue generating applications may be rated higher than research and development or innovation pilots. For several months IBM has been running a cloud infrastructure that adjusts computer resources appropriately and automatically according to business policies.

Personal hobbies

Innovation is no longer a concept developed and owned by companies and businesses. It is becoming popular at the individual level, and more individuals are coming up with innovations. These individuals could be requesting servers from a cloud to work on their innovations.

Cloud provisioning and management

Automated provisioning

The core functionality of a cloud is its ability to automatically provision servers for innovators and to enable innovators, administrators, and others to use that function with a Web-based interface. The role-based interface abstracts out the complexity of IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager, Remote Deployment Manager, Network Installation Manager, business process execution language (BPEL), and Web services.

Typically, a pilot team needs four to twelve weeks to identify, procure, and build a pilot infrastructure and additional time to build a security compliant software stack so that developers can begin building or deploying applications and code. The cloud provides a framework and offering that reduces that boarding process to aproximately one hour.

We accomplish this through a role-based Web portal that allows innovators to fill out a form defining their hardware platform, CPU, memory, storage, operating system, middleware, and team members and associated roles. This process takes about five minutes. After submitting the request through the portal, a cloud administrator is notified and logs in to approve, modify, and/or reject the request. If approved, the system begins a process involving Web services, Tivoli Provisioning Manager, and optionaly IBM Tivoli Security Compliance Manager, BPEL, IBM® Enterprise Workload Manager, and Remote Deployment Manger/Cluster Systems Managerment/Network Installation Manager to build the server(s). This process is fully automatic and completes in about an hour.

The value of having a fully auomated provisioning process that is security compliant and automatically customized to innovators’ needs is manifested in reduced time to introduce technologies and innovations, cost savings in labor for designing, procuring, and building hardware and software platforms, and cost avoidance in higher use and reuse of existing resources.

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