Cloud Computing Explained
What is cloud computing?
Traditional mode of internet computing involved client-server model with one node as a client requesting resources from a delivering node called server.
As simple as it may appear, it doesn't use computing resources efficiently.
What if one needs multiple tasks to be carried over and the single server can't support the same or it simply can't handle the increasing load?
Sure one can add more servers but does this really use the available resources fully?
This is where the newer and much more efficient computing model called 'cloud computing' kicks in.
The term 'cloud' itself means a vast array/network of distributed computing resources that are pooled to form an architecture that itself is highly scalable and efficient from computing perspective.
The simplest example of cloud computing are the regular emails accessed say through gmail.com
There is no single server that delivers the emails once user logs in, it is technically in a cloud(bunch of servers all over Google infrastructure that respond to the client requests and serve the emails).
Benefits of cloud computing
What is now obvious from the above simplified example is that since there is no central server, there is no central point of failure.
In the typical client-server scenario, once the main server fails the impact is visible even if the backup server if any takes over.
Compare it with cloud computing - even if a single server fails from a pool of highly available servers, there is no visible impact because
no single server really has much say in entire architecture. This means redundancy and robustness from a web master's point of view - websites
hosted on cloud computing don't have any downtime as such primarily because of the way cloud computing is supposed to work.
Other and much more tangible benefit is the way services based on cloud computing are charged. Instead of paying upfront for a single server
cost regardless of the usage, here the billing is usually on the amount of resources used within the cloud which brings down the cost substantially.
This type of model is called utility based computing, other called subscription based relies on fix charges but the choice of model really
depends on the type of business and hence the flexibility.
The architecture of cloud computing is primarily individual in nature - think of it as a bunch of blocks connected to each other with a common thread.
It is like having a separate component for each job it does well and then connecting many such components together forming a cloud.
There are the cloud components (clients and servers) which talk to each other using web services/common APIs thereby maintaining separate zones but
still being able to work in a cloud.
Cloud itself is a general term and hence the way it is used to meet specific business needs gives rise to deployment models.
Advantages of cloud computing for website hosting
Public Cloud: Think of this as a dynamic allocation of cloud computing resources and having a very large user base
(free email services like gmail.com)
Community Cloud: Higher costs and lower user base form community cloud. Say a group of companies having a shared infrastructure
(for emails/file storage).They have their own cloud but the platform essentially is shared thereby having a bit higher cost but higher priority on
cloud computing resources.
Hybrid Cloud: As the name suggests - this is a mix of public and community cloud. Services can be both shared as well as public and
in a way it leverages best of both the world(lower costs and higher priority computing).
Private Cloud: This is totally owned and regulated by the cloud owners, nothing is shared and hence very high costs and high performance.
Although this in a way negates the reason why cloud computing is better than a single client-server model.
The primary purpose of all webmasters is to ensure that the sites they host and manage have an extremely high uptime,
low operating costs and acceptable performance.
From the deployment models discussed above, it can be seen that the hybrid model offers webmasters a unique set of advantage - scalability
Say if a website is to be hosted on a public cloud and the backend database on a private cloud - this type of cloud deployment not
only offers lower costs but granular control of security since nothing is completely public and nothing totally private.
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