Cloud computing is the new IT trend that is grabbing the industry magazine headlines, and although it is being positively embraced by many users, some are needlessly worried about security issues.
Bringing together the three major trends of virtualisation, utility computing and software as a service (SaaS), cloud computing is still regarded with a degree of suspicion by some. However, as both the US and UK governments utilise the technology they at least have no doubts over its use.
It is the combination of the three component parts of cloud computing that make it particularly appealing to users as they need little or no knowledge of the technology needed to operate it. First used to describe large ATM networks in the early 1990s, when used in the computing context ‘Cloud’ is describing the internet and the way that resources are used across its entirety. It involves the provision of services to users who don’t have to worry about any of the technical issues surrounding the service.
Because resources can be pulled from across the internet it means that cloud computing solutions are entirely scalable and peak loads are easily accommodated. That allows users to go about their business without having to worry about allocation of CPU, storage or network bandwidth.
The shared hosting infrastructure model in regular use today is limited by the physical constraints of the available hardware, usually at one bottleneck point, such as single server. However, cloud hosting has no such restrictions as it utilises the processing power of a series of servers in real time. A user of cloud hosting simply purchases as much processing capacity as they require from a resource that is virtually inexhaustible and therefore provides a seamless service regardless of peaks and troughs in visitor numbers.
Intelligent systems simply ensure that load-balancing is applied across a series of servers, adding or removing them from the cluster as required providing an invisible transition for customers. The technology underpinning the infrastructure enables small and medium–sized enterprises to utilise web hosting architecture in a way that was only available a large corporate IT department a few years ago.
Cloud technology is now utilised by major corporations and governments throughout the world. It is certainly no fad, and despite myths about its lack of security is almost as robust as any traditional system; it is dependent upon the quality of the software and operator. There are also varying types of cloud, such as an on-premise cloud or a virtual private cloud, which are as secure as the system operator wishes them to be as it is in a private environment. However you would be constrained to your pre-configured environment.