What makes Cloud Computing work?

Aopen / Ax34-u
May 13, 2011 at 19:39:15
Specs: Windows XP, AMD FX-55/2GB DDR400
I've been trying to understand Cloud computing from a technical perspective in it's most basic form. It took some good time and research just to find the benefits of cloud computing and what it can offer for the user/customer in it's most basic form. However, finding out how it actually works in a sense of hardware seems impossible, despite that they discourage thinking it as hardware. But, it DOES have to do something with hardware or it wouldn't exist, right?

So, my question is this: What makes Cloud Computing work? What is going on in cloud computing, and what hardware is involved?

Jeff in 7 ways...

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May 13, 2011 at 21:01:57
Cloud computing is marketing. It is a new name for old concepts.

It is off site disk storage. Nothing more. Nothing less EXCEPT now you can via Microsoft, and other, use web based applications.

One step closer to renting software than leasing it. I say leasing because you never really own software unless you personally create it.

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May 14, 2011 at 03:54:05
You allready understand that computing only works in a combination of hard- and software.
Same as your computer can only function in a way you can use.
No software means the hardware doesn't function and vice versa.
Cloud computing isn't much different except for the fact we don't own it.

To keep it very basic
The cloud is the internet. Why they call it cloud?
Like a cloud is created and expanding when water packs up in the air, by connecting a lot of servers together we create a larger internet.
We can access and use it for free but we can't alter the software and hardware.
When you don't have a connection it's as usefull to you as an actual cloud.

Good example is computing.net!
It's a forum that runs on forumsoftware which is installed on (more than) one server.
By connecting these servers to the internet we can access them and use them to exchange info.
So the answer to your question is a megabunch of servers that makes the Cloud Computing work.

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May 14, 2011 at 04:50:00
The cloud is the internet. Why they call it cloud?

That is not true. As Wanders says, the principals behind cloud computing have been around for a very long time only before is it was called distributed processing. Distributed processing existed long before the Internet. All the Internet has done is to make it easier and cheaper to implement. along with a fancy name.

It is called cloud computing because in network diagrams, off-site networks are depicted as a cloud to avoid unnecessary detail.

To compare computing.net to cloud computing is really misunderstanding the concept.


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May 14, 2011 at 05:03:59
To keep it very basic
The cloud is the internet

I'm sorry but, I have to agree with Stuart in that the above statement is incorrect.

The internet is a worldwide network. One accesses "the cloud" through the internet.

For lack of a better analogy, the internet is like the highways in any country that join cities together. The highways aren't "the city" but allow one to travel between them. Only in the case of the internet, it's global, not national.

Wanderer and Stuart have the right of it.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***

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May 14, 2011 at 05:57:45
So, based on the entries here and my research, it is just a site that accesses files from a remote server? Like, you access your files by going to a system that has access rights to the file server instead of having the files stored directly to the system, or the site for that matter where the file server is restricted by any other connection.

The site is basically an interface to access those files in which the only benefit would be if many, many people had to access this file server.

However, I'm still confused to its real benefits when it comes to bandwidth.

Jeff in 7 ways...

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May 14, 2011 at 08:50:45
A small correction. When I mentioned distributed processing in my earlier post, I should have said centralised processing. Distributed processing came a bit later when desktops began to have the same processing power as main frames and it was not necessary to centralise processing on an expensive main frames.

Cloud computing is going back to the centralised processing concept, seen by some as a retrograde step. For those organisation that need centralised processing, they can set it up for themselves. Cloud computing is of little benefit to individuals and it is just an attempt to get people to pay for something they don't need just because it has a fancy name and is different. As far as I can see it is an attempt to make people dependant on something that they can just as well do for themselves. The Cloud is just a meaningless abstract phrase that encompasses the concept of centralised processing.

All bandwidth does is allow more data to be moved about in a shorter space of time.


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May 14, 2011 at 10:37:02
I think a good pointer to what Cloud Computing is all about is the introduction of Google's Chromebook Cloud-based laptops - a quick Google search will find loads of hits, but essentially they are nothing more than web-browsers. All of your data is stored elsewhere and you are using hardware and software at a remote location. As far as the end-user's hardware is concerned it means that you only need a very basic 'dumb terminal' (for want of a better phrase) which lets you access a browser, and a reliable internet connection (that's one of the big ones in my opinion). It does mean that the software you are using, apart from your browser, is always automatically kept up to date with the latest version (maybe not a good thing in everyone's eyes?) and your hardware does not need updating on a regular basis. For this convenience you do, however, pay an ongoing cost in the rental/lease of the software and data storage facilities.

So to answer the final bit of your question, A reliable internet connection makes the Cloud work (if the internet fails you're stuffed), Cloud computing is as has been described above, and for the consumer little hardware is required.

Actually I disagree with Stuart saying that it is of little benefit to individuals. When you consider what a very large percentage of computer users actually use their computers for, we are already in an era of Cloud Computing - Facebook, Twitter etc. have seen to that. I use my smartphone as I would suspect many Cloud users would, but I also keep my home computer as my main tool, also posting stuff on-line to be available to myself and colleagues using what passes as the cloud at the moment.

So having the Cloud as an extension of current technology is fine, but it will be difficult, if not impossible in our lifetime, to have it as a replacement.

"I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us..." Pink Floyd

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May 14, 2011 at 21:17:22
The problem I have with the whole concept of cloud computing is security.

You are trusting all of your data with someone else.

It is far worse than centralized computing [good catch StewartS], which was self contained. Cloud computing has not boundries. Your data could be anywhere in the world.

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