Cloud Computation

Introduction

Cloud Computation is the on-demand availability of computing storage and power, without direct management by users.  During the Covid-19 pandemic, working at home or a remote location is more and more popular.  Remote Work is forecast to boost in future, many industry and work will change down the track.

Cloud Computation offers many organisations and individuals an opportunity to modify their business operating mode.

Not everyone is an IT specialist, even though everyone has a laptop or smartphone these days. Cloud Computation allows users to take benefit from technologies, without necessary expertise with IT skill.  In the business perspective, cloud computation cut costs and help business users focus on business operation, instead of being impeded by IT obstacles.  In other words, cloud computation minimises users’ involvement in IT setup and maintenance.

The primary enabling technology is visualisation.  In term of visualisation, users don’t need to invest hardware physically. Instead, Cloud Computation Vendors provides users with devices/computers and the virtual devices/computers perform jobs in a remote location.  

Cloud Computation in Early Days

In the 1960s, RJE (Remote Job Entry) initialises the concepts of time-sharing.  Remote workstations send data processing tasks to mainframe computers via networks and receive the task outcome from the mainframe computers. (The mainframe computers are referred to as data centres.)  Instead of submitting a command line, remote workstations send through a complete job stream. At this stage, cloud computation represents any computation tasks which are performed in the mainstream computers/devices.

In the 1990s, telecommunication companies start offer VPN services, which extends boundary to cover all servers as well as networks.  

In the 2000s, Amazon, Google, NASA, introduce their cloud computation service, respectively.

In this post, we are going to explore the Cloud Computation's Service Model and Deployment Method.

Service Model In The Market

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

IaaS provides cloud computation by abstracting underlying network infrastructure like computing file, resources, locations, data management, etc.  Providers supply this service from the equipment in data centres, which are located in a remote location. Everything is service based on Service-Oriented Architecture theory.  

  • Clients access IaaS as guests, instead of the system admin.
  • IaaS service providers manage admin tasks (Underlying tasks)
  • IaaS provides clients with space where they can deploy and run operating system and applications without managing underlying cloud infrastructure.  
  • Clients can manage the operating system, storage, deploy and manage application
  • Clients may have control (Service providers manage control access level) of networking components

Example of IaaS

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Cisco MetapodGoogle
  • Compute Engine (GCE)

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS vendors provide application developers with a development environment.  

  • Vendors offer operating system, development IDE, database and webserver
  • Vendors allocate underly computer and resources to developers
  • Vendors manage or control the network, servers, operating system
  • Developers can configure setting for the application-host environment
  • Developers develop and run the software on a cloud platform provided by vendors

Example of PaaS

  • Windows Azure
  • Heroku
  • Force.com
  • Google App Engine
  • Apache Stratos

Software as a Service (Saas)

SaaS enables clients to use vendor’s applications running on a cloud infrastructure via a web browser, email or terminal interface.  SaaS may allow clients to limited access to the web-based application’s configuration.

  • Clients have access to application and databases
  • Clients don’t need to install or run applications on their device
  • Vendors manage the underlying infrastructure and platforms
  • Vendors install and operate the app in the remote Cloud, such as network, servers, operating system, storage, etc

Example of SaaS

  • Google Docs
  • Microsoft Office Online

Mobile “backend” as a service (MBaaS)

Web/App developers link their developed applications to cloud storage or cloud computing services


Other Service Model

There are other service models as well, such as Serverless Computing and Function as a Service (FaaS).


Cloud Computing Type – Deployment Method

Private Cloud

It is a cloud infrastructure operated by a single organisation. (The third-party service provider might manage it)  

  • Organisation/business owner needs to provide data-centre, which can be capital intensive.  The capital may include space, hardware, software, etc.
  • The hardware and software might need to be updated or replaced periodically. The update or replace may increase organisation’s business operation expense
  • The security issue is a significant concern in the private Cloud, regardless internally and externally

Public Cloud

Public cloud service is deployed and delivered via the network, as the data centre is probably located in a remote location.  

  • Public Cloud is available for public access
  • Public Cloud can be accessed by the open internet connection or direct connect services
  • Service providers manage internal security
  • External security can be a concern when communication is effected over a non-trusted network

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid Cloud is a composition of a public cloud and a private environment.

  • Within Hybrid Cloud service, isolation and boundaries can be modified.  As a result, private and public access authorisation can be adjusted accordingly
  • Isolation and boundaries modification is depended on company’s computing resource demand
  • Varied use cases availability.  Hybrid Cloud enables clients to isolate sensitive information from public access
  • Hybrid Cloud enables clients to use public cloud computation capacity to meet temporary private cloud computation need

Security

Many companies’ data and information are stored in a remote cloud location.  Hackers theoretically gain access to these data via cloud penetration.  Security is critical these days, as data breaches are happening daily.  

Main Security Vulnerabilities

  • Insecure Interface
  • Insecure APIs
  • Data Loss and Leakage
  • Hardware Failure

Security Approach

  • Data encryption enables process and store data within the Cloud to prevent unauthorised access
  • ID management system enable content access control, which is based on user profile and authorisation

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