Cloud computing is the development and use of Internet-based computing (the “cloud”) computing power. The concept is a paradigm shift, through which users no longer need to have knowledge, experience or control over the technological infrastructure that is “in the cloud”, the same that supports their activities.
This concept typically involves the provision of easily scalable and almost always virtualized resources, treated as Internet services.
What Is Cloud Computing?
The term “cloud” (cloud) is used as a metaphor for the Internet, based on how the Internet is represented in computer network diagrams and as an abstraction of the underlying infrastructure that it hides.
Cloud computing providers provide online business applications, which can be accessed from Internet browsers (Firefox, IE, Opera, Chrome, Safari, etc.), while software and data are stored on servers.
These applications are broadly divided into the following categories: Software as a Service (SaaS), Utility Computing, Web Services, Platform as a Service (PaaS), Managed Service Providers (MSP), Service Commerce and Internet Integration.
Cloud computing can be confused with:
“a form of distributed computing, through which a ‘super virtual computer’ composed of a group of computers that are connected to the network freely, work together to perform very complex tasks”
Autonomous computing – “self-managing computer systems”.
Indeed, many cloud computing implementations depend on “computer networks” of autonomous characteristics, the same ones that are invoked as services.
However, cloud computing is inclined to expand beyond computational networks (grids) and services. Some successful architectures in the “cloud” have a very little infrastructure or the same is not centralized and even do not even have billing systems, such as peer-to-peer networks such as Bit Torrent and Skype.
The layers of cloud computing
There are several layers that make up the concept of “Cloud Computing”. However, to have a clear and simple explanation; we will concentrate on the three most important layers.
Software as a Service (SaaS) enhances the concept of cloud computing in software architecture, often eliminating the need to install and run the application on the end-user’s computer, eliminating the burden of software maintenance, operating costs and technical support.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) delivers a computing platform and/or a set of service-like solutions, which typically use cloud infrastructure and support software or applications in the cloud. It facilitates application deployment without the cost and complexity of purchasing and managing the underlying hardware and software layers.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), is the delivery of computing infrastructure as a service, usually in a platform virtualization environment.
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