The term ‘cloud’ is a commonly used in terms of a large cluster of objects, appearing visually at a distance. This cluster of objects can be a set of things pertaining to a given context, but its details aren’t inspected further.
Cloud computing is a computing infrastructure and software model for enabling ubiquitous access to shared pools of configurable resources which can be rapidly provisioned with minimal management effort, often over the Internet. Cloud computing allows users, and enterprises, with various computing capabilities to store and process data in either a privately owned cloud, or on a third-party server located in a data center in order to make technology recourses more efficient and reliable. Cloud computing relies on the sharing of resources to achieve coherence and economy of scale, similar to a utility.
The word cloud was used as a metaphor for the Internet and a standardized cloud-like shape was used to denote a network on telephony schematics. Later it was used to depict the Internet in computer network diagrams.
A cloud provider is a company that offers some component of cloud computing.
Cloud providers are sometimes referred to as cloud service providers or CSPs.
There are a number of things to think about when you evaluate cloud providers. The cost will usually be based on a per-use utility model but there are a number of variations to consider. The physical location of the servers may also be a factor for sensitive data.
Reliability is crucial if your data must be accessible. However, it’s important to understand the fine print in that agreement because some providers discount outages of less than ten minutes, which may be too long for some businesses.
Amazon was the first major cloud provider, with the 2006 offering of Amazon Simple Storage Service Amazon S3. Other cloud providers include Apple, Cisco, Citrix, IBM, Joyent, Google, Microsoft, Rackspace, Salesforce.com and Verizon/Terremark.
The definition of cloud computing identifies five essential characteristics.
On-Demand Self-Service – A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with the service provider.
Resource Pooling – The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand.
Broad Network Access – Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by a variety thin or thick client platforms.
Rapid Elasticity – Capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released, in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly outward and inward that is adequate with demand. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear unlimited and can be appropriated in any quantity at any time.
Measured service- Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service.