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Performance Support

Cloud Orientation: Introduction to Cloud Computing

Remember those good old days of terminals and mainframes, when computers were as large as my New York City apartment and you sent them commands on large keyboards connected with telephone like keyboard cords and ugly monitors sporting green on black text - remember those days? Me neither, because by the time got into technology, we had personal computers, smaller, cheaper, and more efficient machines, which thanks to ad!ances in technology, brought the processing power of those large closet si"ed computers onto or next to your desk# $nd as years went by, we became really good at making these computers smaller and smaller# %!entually connecting them together and configuring them to share information and processing power# %!entually we created complex networks like this one, which connected these smaller computers !ia an international network called the nternet# &his magical nternet was always represented by the symbol of a cloud# &hus began Cloud Computing, which at its core is something we'!e been doing in technology, e!er since those mainframe in terminal days, letting larger, stronger machines do all the hard work, so our smaller less powerful ones can focus on other things# (nlike those mainframe in terminal days howe!er, the technology has got better and cheaper# $nd thanks to the ubi)uity of the nternet, it*s a!ailable to a lot more folks including small businesses and indi!iduals# n other words, Cloud Computing could be called how learned to stop worrying about buying super expensi!e e)uipment and lo!e letting other companies do all part of work for me# $s an example of a really basic Cloud ser!ice almost e!eryone has used, let*s look at +eb email# You sign up for an email address from an online company such as ,oogle, Yahoo, or -otmail and because the computer is housing the email software, called ser!ers are attached to the nternet, you can access them from any computer in the world with nternet access and a +eb browser# You don*t ha!e to worry about upgrading the ,oogle, Yahoo, or -otmail computers when they go out of date, nor do you ha!e to worry about backing up all of your email in case a hard dri!e crashes, nor do you ha!e to write a software program that allows you to access e!erything, rather you go to a website, type in a username and password, do your thing, and log off# .et me repeat that - you don*t ha!e to worry about upgrading hardware, or where the hardware is located, or backing up your data, or securing it, you can /ust worry about checking your email - this is the power of Cloud Computing# Cloud Computing comes in three ma/or fla!ors, 0oftware as a 0er!ice, 1latform as a 0er!ice, and nfrastructure as a 0er!ice# &he example /ust described, +eb email, is an example of 0oftware as a 0er!ice - this means the software is ser!ed up from a pool of ser!ers located somewhere in the world and all you worry about is accessing that software !ia a interface, such as a +eb browser# Most of the ser!ices you probably associate with Cloud Computing, such as ,oogle $pps, 2rop 3ox, %!ernote, 0kydri!e, and 1re"i are considered 0oftware as a 0er!ice# Your computer isn*t responsible for processing information from the software, /ust accessing the front end of it# 1latform as a 0er!ice is mostly geared towards de!elopers and those who need to deploy software onto a specific platform# &he ,oogle $pp %ngine, for example, allows de!elopers to create their own programs that run on a ,oogle designed platform - test them and then deploy them# t*s a bit complicated to explain, but for de!elopers this streamlines their work considerably# nfrastructure as a 0er!ice is usually for a larger companies or those that want a lot more freedom in what types of software and ser!ices they need# Rather than log into a specific platform or accessing a piece of software - infrastructure pro!iders, like $ma"on*s %lastic Computing Cloud or %C4 pro!ide a -ardware and nfrastructure for a company or indi!idual to do with whate!er they like# 5or instance, hosting that company*s webpage or hosting their internal exchange or mail ser!er# 0ince the Cloud ser!ice pays all the hardware costs, the o!erhead is extremely low and the cost is also based solely on use, so if a lot of people !isit the site one month, you pay a lot# f no one !isits you pay a lot less# +hen the hardware goes out of date or breaks - $ma"on deals with fixing it, not you#
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&he examples '!e mentioned all in!ol!ed third party ser!ices and while it is possible for larger companies to create their own pri!ate or hybrid cloud solutions - all in all Cloud computing means centrali"ing and sometimes outsourcing your infrastructure, platforms, and9or software to another company, so you can spend less time worrying about computers and more time focusing on your business and clients#

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