Cloud technologies: key concepts and trends

Cloud technologies: key concepts and trends

The idea of cloud computing dates back to 1960, when John McCarthy suggested that one day computer computing would be performed using ‘public utilities’. It is believed that the cloud computing ideology has gained popularity since 2007 due to the rapid development of communication channels and the rapidly growing needs of users.

Cloud computing (also known as “cloud computing”) is generally understood as the provision of computer resources and capacity to the user in the form of an Internet service. Thus, computing resources are provided to the user in a “pure” form, and the user may not know which computers are processing his requests, under which operating system it happens, etc.

Clouds are often compared to mainframes, finding much in common between them. The principal difference between clouds and mainframes is that their computing power is theoretically unlimited. The second principal difference is that, simply speaking, mainframe terminals served only for interactive interaction between a user and a task running for processing.

In the cloud the terminal itself is a powerful computing device capable not only of accumulating intermediate information but also of directly controlling the global system of computational resources.

Among the previously appeared data processing technologies some so-called grid-like calculations have become widespread. This direction was initially considered as an opportunity of using free processor resources and developing a system of voluntary rent of computational power.

A number of projects have proved that this model of computation is rather effective. Today this technology is used for solving scientific and mathematical tasks where significant computational resources are required. It is known that grid computing is also used for commercial purposes.

For example, with their help, some labor-intensive tasks connected with economic forecasting, seismic data analysis, development and study of properties of vaccines and new medicines are performed.

Indeed, grid computing and clouds have many similarities in architecture and principles applied. However, the cloud computing model is now considered more promising due to the much more flexible platform for handling remote computing resources.

Currently, large clouds consist of thousands of servers hosted in data centers (DPCs). They provide resources for tens of thousands of applications that are simultaneously used by millions of users. Cloud technologies are a convenient tool for enterprises, which are too expensive to maintain their own ERP, CRM or other servers, requiring the purchase and configuration of additional equipment.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is an organizational strategy for the integration of production and operations, human resources management, financial management and asset management, focused on continuous balancing and optimization of enterprise resources through a specialized integrated application software package that provides a common model of data and processes for all areas of enterprise activities.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) a system of customer relationship management, i.e. the application software intended for automation of strategies of interaction with customers, in particular, for increase of a sales level, optimization of marketing and improvement of service to clients by preservation of the information on clients and history of relations with them, establishment and improvement of business procedures and the subsequent analysis of results.

The reasons for the growing popularity of cloud technologies are clear: the possibilities of their application are very diverse and allow to save on both service and personnel, as well as on infrastructure. Hardware can be greatly simplified when processing and storing information in remote data centers. All these problems are almost completely transferred to the service provider.

In addition, this approach allows for software standardization even if different operating systems are installed on the computers of the enterprise. Cloud technologies make it easier to provide access to company data both for clients and their own employees who are out of the office but can connect via the Internet.

It is clear that using cloud computing is much more convenient. The most important disadvantage that you can immediately notice is the complete dependence on the provider of these services. In fact, the enterprise (user) turns out to be a hostage of a service provider and Internet access provider.

Although the reliability of cloud providers is increasing, to ensure the reliability and security of data it is necessary to make a lot of efforts, for example, to have redundant channels of communication, redundant power to be able to switch to them and, of course, think about the availability of information and security.

In addition, cloud computing is completely unsuitable for enterprises related to state and military secrets. No commission will issue a certificate for such a system when working with information that is not subject to disclosure.

Modern cloud technologies are not only used in ready-made network and server equipment, but also gradually penetrate into the market of embedded cloud (embedded cloud) and become the reason for large-scale market restructuring.

The idea of connecting all kinds of devices to a global network called the Internet of Things (Internet of Things – IoT). The idea of the Internet of Things has existed for many years, but for its implementation did not have enough one link to build such a network – the cloud.

Since the number of embedded computers is increasing due to the reduction of prices for processors and the widespread spread of the Internet, the volume of transmitted data with their subsequent processing (often in real time) is also growing. Therefore, we can assume that the role of the Internet of things and cloud computing will increase in the coming years.