In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the key characteristics of cloud computing. We’ll also be examining the various components that make up a cloud computing architecture, and the most prevalent cloud computing models in current use.
Characteristics of Cloud Computing: Elasticity
You’ll probably be familiar with physical elastic materials, which you can pull and stretch into different shapes, but which then return to their original form when you let go. Elasticity in cloud computing is the ability of a resource to grow or shrink and then return to its original supply level in line with demand.
Through the dynamic allocation of resources to applications, projects, workflows, and processes, cloud service providers can supply the exact amount of resources that an individual or enterprise needs to run something. This promotes cost efficiency, allowing users to optimize their cloud usage without wasting money on any supplied resources that they don’t actually need.
Cloud elasticity helps users avoid over-provisioning or under-provisioning of their resources. If, for example, too much storage capacity, processing power, or memory is supplied to a user, they may find themselves paying for cloud assets that they’ll never use. On the other hand, if too few resources are available, the user may not be able to run their processes correctly.
Elasticity also enables cloud users to scale their infrastructure and resources up or down in response to changing conditions. So, for example, an elastic cloud system can inject additional resources during a seasonal rush or daily peak period, then automatically scale down when the demand becomes less.
Virtualization in Cloud Computing
In computing, virtualization is the creation of a virtual (rather than a physical) version of something, such as a server, desktop, storage device, operating system, or network resources. The technique makes it possible to share a single physical instance of a resource or an application into multiple instances. It does so by assigning a logical name to a physical device and providing a pointer to that physical resource, which can be called up by multiple users when required.
Virtualization in cloud computing is what enables service providers to create millions of virtual machines and run them in many different environments for hundreds of millions of users around the world. Virtualization can be applied to several aspects of the computing environment.
Virtualization software installed directly on a server system divides one physical server into multiple servers. Within a single server, you can use virtualization to run multiple tasks (desktops, applications, etc.). Cloud computing uses server virtualization to divide each physical server in a provider’s network into multiple servers on a demand basis, and for balancing the load on the network.
In a cloud computing context, storage virtualization aggregates or groups together the physical storage from multiple network storage devices so that it looks like a single storage device. These physical data storage devices can come from different vendors or data centers, but to the end-user, the virtual “storage pool” appears to originate from a single source.
Storage virtualization may also be achieved by using software applications and is mainly done for backup and recovery purposes.
Characteristics of Cloud Computing: Hardware Virtualization
In hardware virtualization, virtual machine software installs in the hardware system, and a software management system known as a hypervisor controls and monitors processing, memory, and other hardware resources. After the virtualization process is complete, users can install different operating systems on the virtual machines and run different applications on those operating systems.
Hardware virtualization is typically implemented for server platforms, since controlling virtual machines is much easier than controlling a physical server.
Operating System Virtualization
In this process, virtual machine software installs in the operating system of the host machine, rather than directly on the hardware system. Operating system virtualization is mainly used for testing applications on different platforms and operating environments.
With desktop virtualization, cloud computing providers can give users an entire computing platform, without them having to install additional hardware. Desktop virtualization also allows users to run different operating systems on their connected devices – for example, a smartphone owner using desktop virtualization could run a Windows 10 desktop on Android.
Characteristics of Cloud Computing: Network Virtualization
Network virtualization makes it possible to create multiple individual networks from one physical local area network (LAN). For enterprise cloud users, particularly, this enables them to create a virtual private cloud – an “online” network that doesn’t connect to the public internet.
Cloud Computing Architecture
Cloud computing architecture consists of various components and sub-components that make up the structure of the system. These components may be on-premise resources, cloud resources, software components, services, and middleware, and may manifest as databases, software capabilities, applications, network resources, etc.
Front End Architecture
The front end is the client part of cloud computing, which is visible to the client, customer, or user. A front-end platform may include fat clients, thin clients, and mobile devices. Front end architecture components include the user interface and the client’s computer system, or the network that’s used for accessing the cloud system.
Back End Architecture
The cloud computing back end is the side of the system that’s used by the service provider. Back end architecture components include the various servers, computers, data storage systems, virtual machines, and programs that together make up the cloud of computing services.
In addition, the back end is responsible for providing the security mechanisms, traffic control, and protocols that connect networked computers for communication.
On the provider end, a central server administers the system, monitoring traffic and client demands. This central server follows a specific set of protocols and uses a special kind of software called middleware, which allows networked computers to communicate with each other.
With virtualization, a key element of cloud computing delivery, the hypervisor or Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM) consists of the software, hardware, and firmware that creates and runs virtual machines. The hypervisor provides each user with a platform known as a Virtual Operating Platform, which makes it possible to configure and manage the guest’s operating system to use the cloud.
Cloud management software incorporates various plans and strategies which help to increase the performance of the cloud and provides features such as on-time delivery of storage, proper security, and always-on access.
Deployment software includes all the mandatory installations and configurations needed to make the cloud accessible to the user. It’s a back-end component that implements before the provisioning of cloud resources occurs.
Characteristics of Cloud Computing: Route of Connectivity
This is a virtual route linking cloud servers, whose speed of data transfer depends on the user’s network or internet connection. Typically, the route of connectivity has configuration options allowing the user to customize the route and protocol.
Cloud Computing Models
There are usually considered to be three main cloud computing models or methods of cloud-based delivery: Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
SaaS is a method of cloud-based software delivery in which software is accessed online via a subscription, as opposed to being bought and installed on individual computers and other devices. Usually billed monthly or annually, the subscription fee typically covers the application itself, along with software licensing, support, and most other fees.
From the perspective of the enterprise, the key benefit of the SaaS delivery model is that it eliminates the need to install and run applications on in-house computers or data centers. This frees the enterprise from the time and cost burdens associated with acquiring, managing, and maintaining additional hardware to run the software, as well as the need for individual licensing, installation, and support.
As its name implies, IaaS delivers access to fundamental IT infrastructure – cloud-based compute, network, and storage resources, etc. – to clients on a pay-as-you-go basis. The model enables enterprises to avoid the cost and complexity of purchasing, managing, and maintaining these resources themselves.
PaaS is a cloud computing model in which providers host and deliver the hardware and software tools needed for application development to users over the internet. The model makes it possible for developers to build an entire application in a web browser from anywhere in the world, facilitating remote working and long-distance collaboration.
Characteristics of Cloud Computing
Characteristics of Cloud Computing: Elasticity. Elasticity in cloud computing is the ability of a resource to grow or shrink and then return to its original supply level in line with demand. Virtualization in Cloud Computing: In computing, virtualization is the creation of a virtual (rather than a physical) version of something, such as a server, desktop, storage device, operating system, or network resources. Characteristics of Cloud Computing: Route of Connectivity: This is a virtual route linking cloud servers, whose speed of data transfer depends on the user’s network or internet connection. Cloud Computing Models: There are usually considered to be three main cloud computing models or methods of cloud-based delivery: Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).