Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 1st Apr 2009 10:02 UTC, submitted by inkslinger
Microsoft The technology world is all aflame about "cloud computing", and how businesses are supposed to move all of their stuff into the cloud, or die. Or something. In my eyes, "cloud" is simply a different name for the internet, and cloud computing is simply a different and fancier name for what most internet users have been doing for ages.
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You're right, you don't get it
by ctwise on Wed 1st Apr 2009 10:44 UTC
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Like every other technology on the web, cloud computing is built on top of existing technologies. It's the logical extension of virtualization. What is cloud computing? It's the abstraction of computing resources. It's divorcing the physical hardware from the running of the software.

Here's an example use case. You have a corporate IT group. When you need to run a new application you request one or more servers from the group. You define the business case for your servers, specify memory and disk requirements and so forth. You wait six months for budget approval, purchasing, installation and validation. You then receive access to your servers.

Now your corporate IT group has converted to an internal cloud computing infrastructure. They have purchased large numbers of identical servers. They have a SAN with a large amount of storage. You need a new server. You define the business case, specify some parameters (you want a firewall, etc.) and submit the request. You wait 15 minutes while the IT group uses the cloud console to allocate new instances. In their next planning meeting the IT group determines that instance growth rate will require new server purchases at the next purchase cycle.

Here's another one. You're a QA manager at a small Internet company. Your new application has reached the point it requires load testing. You don't have the physical machines it will take to slam the application with load. You setup an account on the Amazon cloud and spool up hundreds of load testing instances. You run the load test and shut down the instances. You write a small check.

The only "new" thing in cloud computing is pushing the virtualization abstraction out further then it was. You lose sight of the physical hardware completely. The cloud administrators see it. You, as a computing consumer, don't. As far as you're concerned, the computing and storage resources are infinite. In practice you get more efficient use of resources and can support more servers then with raw virtualization.

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