ALL THE BUZZ ABOUT CLOUD COMPUTING By Nwachukwu A.

Nnaemeka
DIP. & B.ENG COMP. ENG. MCSE/MCITP, CWNA, MCDBA COMPTIA A+/N+

It’s changing. The earth, the people within it, and the technology steering it around. Even criminals have learnt new ways of doing things. Sometimes we would be tempted to ask if technology is another construct of the devil. But alas! This school of thought belongs to people that found it very hard to accept the theory behind the technology itself. Their mind is so beclouded by the spirit of antiquity. The white man only got smarter than the black man because he observes the more, and asks questions the more, but the black man only has this quest for survival, once he has his belly filled, any other event taking place anywhere is not his concern. Computers have become a demi-god of its own, it has been advancing towards the frontiers of technology like a consummating wild fire. Here in Nigeria, the ignorance rate is high, making one to assert that Nigerians detest computer appreciation. People choose to count money than talk about computers. In a world where development is by the millisecond, once you don’t catch up with it then you will be terribly backdated. It is of utmost importance that our country embrace the current trends in information technology to fast track development, the world wouldn’t see us as compliant if they feel we are lagging behind. Different generations of computing have emerged in the last four decades. The integrated circuit launched the era of micro-computing which solved the problems of slow processing speed that was experienced then. The people that were privileged to use computers then were the ones that possessed it, until it was everywhere and everybody purchased it for their own use. Then the client-server architecture was introduced in computing, this created the possibility of large computer networks belonging to organizations around the world. Things were done simultaneously and harmoniously. Clients requested for resources and servers served them. Not long after that, another innovation was witnessed, this obviously shook the world. It was the internet. It raised issues such as the one that bothers on whom had the rights and privileges of making innovations, because it seemed like it was the sole preserve of some individuals probably not Africans. Africans all the way have been enjoying and exploiting western innovations and inventions without making much effort towards contributing their own quota to the whole project. Except for some few people who in a way seem to be a little bit extra-African like the popular Philip Emeagwali, who hails from Onitsha. These are the people that Africa ought to be very proud of, it shows that we measure up with the white man just that we chose not to put in some more effort. The work he did on supercomputing is such a best seller anytime any day.

But the African clause also factored in the whole equation, if it were an American that was second runner up in the Gordon’s Bell prize, and most importantly got commendation for using the better methodology in deploying multi-networked processing which achieved a computing speed of 3Gflops, I would want to believe that American would be at the helm of affairs in companies like INTEL, AMD, or probably has to his name a contract of a certain mighty project in computing. Alas! They shoved him aside. Relegated him to the background. The internet emerged as a result of the extensive research, experiments and simulations done by many technical and non-technical elitist groups, institutes, agencies, and consortiums like the ARPA and the DOD. The real meaning is internetwork, which is the network of networks. These above named groups provided the framework and the standards on which the internet operates. The internet is the logical linking of machines across the world which utilizes the applications, files, or hyperlinked pages scattered all over them, these make up the World Wide Web. Much as people believe that the internet is somewhere in the air, it is quite an erroneous theory and hereby declared null and void. To put records straight, the internet is the linking of pages and applications on logically linked machines. The most current innovation which is actually the subject of this article is the big one called cloud computing, which is currently hyped as a mind-blowing innovation. The theories behind it are so mystical that one would want to know what the gains are upon having knowledge of it. It is called the 5th generation of computing and stands to add another value to our already automated lives. Understanding of how this system works wouldn’t be appreciated if the previous generations of computing weren’t discussed. As the name goes, cloud computing, you can get lost trying to decipher the meaning if you weren’t made to understand it immediately. You might be thinking that computers were now taken to the clouds and operated from there or maybe clouds are now the computers themselves. This belief in fact scares already scared people further away from computer usage. Let’s disambiguate things here. Cloud Computing is the internet based platform on which normal system users can access their data and applications as if locally, thereby minimizing resources used up on the client side and heaping the workload on cloud systems and servers. Phew! That is an exhaustive definition. Cloud Computing is really the future. It brings to everyone’s doorstep a very good degree of automation, seamless processing and computing, ease of work, effective cost reduction, and data security. It achieves this by hosting applications and data used by companies, firms and individuals on the cloud, the cloud here is the cluster of servers or systems where these applications reside, not really the heavenly clouds. The “cloud” there is just a term. Here the system accessing the applications and data becomes the client, and the provider which is the server becomes the clouds servers. From this analogy, we will still see a sort of advanced client-server architecture as previously described. But the differences exist, the first was within a normal private network, the second exists on the public network, the internet. Cloud computing has been in existence before but it was on a low key. The mechanism there is

this, once you’ve accessed an online application using a web browser like Internet explorer or Mozilla Firefox such as using an email service on a website, then you’ve experienced Cloud computing. Cloud Computing, as explained previously stores large volume of applications and data on the cloud for organizations or anybody that subscribed for it, from their remote offices, they connect to these data and applications by using a web browser or an application that can connect to the applications and data on the cloud. This is cost-effective if you look at it thoroughly, in that you as a company or individual now save money in application licensing, just like here in Nigeria, most companies and corporations spend huge amount of money paying software vendors for licensing of the applications used on machines within their work environment. You can take a look at a profit-oriented company like Microsoft which has application licensing not just for one purchase of the application, but for all the machines the application is going to use, thereby you spend heavy amount of money paying licensing fees. But cloud computing has made it so simple that you can have one suite of applications hosted on a cloud server, and have simultaneous connections to that server. This means that for an establishment that utilizes one suite of applications on many machines, they wouldn’t need to pay for licensing on all of the machines anymore, the licensing payload is now on the server that hosts the application, thereby cutting cost because machines are connecting to the same server and accessing the same single application suite. Wow! This sounds so refreshing. Aha! Yes, I know many people would be smiling now and thinking of how to put back their money into their pockets. No, not so fast please. Just because I said you don’t need to pay heavily for licensing doesn’t mean it is been delivered with bush meat served with it. You have to pay your providers for this service! Yes, you have to. Data can still be secured or endangered while using cloud computing. It’s a two-way thing in the sense that, data within your immediate private network can be attacked by individuals or malicious programs, then making use of the cloud solution can take it away from the hands of these deadly freaks, on the other hand, attacks can be made to the cloud, just like it’s a normal thing to witness internet-based hacks and attacks, still endangering your data. But cloud computing minimizes the risks propagated by these hacks, because whomever wants to cause damage would find it hard locating you on the cloud. Here in Nigeria, many corporations and organizations would be jostling to get hold of these cloud-based services because of the wonderful tidings that comes with it. The first and major problem we might encounter in trying to imitate the whites once more is the problem of link speed, here in Nigeria internet connection is not such a luxury, in fact its like getting an American Visa to an extent. when you have fast reliable connection, it means you have paid a huge amount, and cloud computing makes use of a reliable connection speed to deliver these goodies to you. Data is been transmitted by the best scripting technology known as AJAX, which is Advanced JavaScript. This is an extensive client-server scripting that delivers immediate result to you without you knowing you were on a web application, as AJAX has been witnessed on other web sites like facebook so it equally works in a cloud-based scenario, where you don’t need to refresh pages before you get served, everything looks so like you are working on your normal local machine! This is true value for what you are paying for. But as a country, we have to see a way of bridging the gap created by slow link speed, which is the only thing that will have to hamper our smooth transition to the

usage of cloud-based services. We have to really do something about the national carriers, get good fibre-optic cable run to avail ourselves of the best internet service in the country to support our cloud project. In conclusion, cloud computing will be of immense help to the IT environment in Nigeria, all we need do is beef up our current link speed resources and enjoy all of the benefits of cloud computing, IT is all about automation, and automation speeds up the rate of doing things and subsequently your income rate. Lets embrace Cloud Computing.