Cloud Computing

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CLOUD COMPUTING 20

Cloud computing is a major technological development that isanticipated to be implemented by many companies and individuals.Experts in the field of information technology predict that it willchange the IT world in the coming years. Unlike in traditionalcomputing where what the computer user does is stored in thecomputer, with cloud computing, files as well as applications are webbased. This implies that the software applications are hosted onservers, which are connected together and can be accessed through theinternet, using services made available by cloud computing providers(Miller, 2008). The technology makes it possible to access files fromany part of the world because they are kept in the “cloud”.Despite the improvements in computing brought about by cloudcomputing, there have been different reactions towards thetechnology.

In the following discussion, the paper argues for the use of cloudcomputing by individuals and companies. This is because thetechnology results in cost saving, saves battery life for mobilephone users, enhances IT management, improves data safety and itallows easy scalability.

The arrival of personal computers in the 1980s was appealing due totheir promise of freeing data and programs from a central computingpoint. Computer users were able to regulate their computingsurrounding, selecting software that could match their demands, aswell as customizing systems to meet tastes. However, with time theweaknesses apparent in personal computers became obvious. Forinstance, programs could only be run locally. However, in thedeveloping trend of cloud computing, “the locus of computation isshifting again, with functions migrating outward to distant datacenters reached through the internet” (Hayes, 2008). Hence, Hayes(2008) explains that the phrase cloud computing derives from the factthat data is stored in unseen computers, which are located all overthe world.

In traditional computing, data and programs were stored in desktops,but with cloud computing, they are hosted “in the compute cloud”(Hayes, 2008). Other factors that differentiate cloud computing withtraditional computing are that the former is user-centric,task-centric and powerful (Miller, 2008). It is user-centric becausewhen the user is connected to the technology, what is stored in thecloud becomes personal and the user holds the right to share the datawith other people. The technology is task-centric because it does notconcentrate on what the application can do instead, it focuses onwhat the user needs to be done. It is powerful because cloudcomputing connects many computers in a cloud, which results incomputing power that cannot be achieved using one desktop or personalcomputer.

Research indicates that the major drawbacks from using the technologyare that it raises security and privacy concerns (Hayes, 2008 Avram,2014). When data is stored in clouds it becomes less secure, as it ispossible for third parties to access the information. However, thebenefits of cloud computing outweigh the demerits. Hence, thisresearch explains in detail the main reasons why companies andindividuals should use the technology.

Cost Saving

Companies and individuals can save costs by using cloud computing.According to Leavitt (2009), businesses that operate their ownplatforms are compelled to purchase, in addition to maintaining theirsoftware and hardware infrastructures. Also, they have to employpersonnel to be in charge of controlling and maintenance of thesystem, which increases costs. But, with cloud computing, suchexpenses are eliminated or reduced. Miller (2008) further explainsthat companies stand to save costs because “instead of investing inlarger numbers of more powerful servers, the IT staff can use thecomputing power of the cloud to supplement or replace internalcomputing resources”. For example, organizations that have peakperiods will no longer be required to buy computing equipment to useduring peaks, considering that the equipments are not used duringoff-peak. Such peak needs are easy to manage when servers andcomputers are in the cloud.

In regard to maintenance costs, the technology mainly minimizessoftware and hardware maintenance for both small and large companies.Hardware maintenance expenses are reduced because cloud computingdoes not require an organization to have many servers (Miller, 2008).This means that less hardware is needed to perform computing tasks.Hence, no money is spent purchasing more hardware once cloudcomputing is introduced in a company. Software maintenance expensesbecome possible to manage owing to the fact that applications anddata are stored in the cloud (Miller, 2008). Conventional informationtechnology entails keeping up with technology, which keeps changing.However, with cloud computing, the service provider is responsiblefor maintaining the core technology, guaranteeing that a company hasthe most recent cloud services.

Individuals using cloud computing save costs because, one does notneed to have a highly powered and priced computer to performcomputing applications (Miller, 2008). In order for an individual toget the best computer, when using traditional computing software, onehas to pay more to purchase a computer with high processing speed andspace. This is because speed is very important in performingoperations fast, while disk space is needed for storing documents,images, videos and downloads among other items. Contrary, for peoplewho use cloud computing, they do not need to have a computer withlarge storage space or processing speed, because with the technology,the applications operate in the cloud and not on a personal computer.Hence, one saves by buying a computer that has a small hard disk andprocessing speed at a lower price.

The technology makes it possible for people to venture into businessat a lower cost of entry. It reduces the expenditure for individuals“trying to benefit from compute-intensive business analytics thatwere hither to available only to the largest of corporations”(Avram, 2014). This is especially the case for people operating smallbusinesses that are not widely recognized. Such computationalexercises, like business analytics, require a great amount ofcomputing power for a short period. However, cloud computing makes itpossible to perform many information technology services with minimalcomputational power. Thus, the technology opens up businessopportunities for individuals, as one is able to explore market dataat reduced costs.

Saves Battery Life for Mobile Phone Users

Cloud computing has the ability to act as an energy savingalternative for mobile phone users. Mobile phones have become a majorpart of life for many individuals. People are not only using theirphones to make calls and send messages, but they also perform manymore functions. For instance, individuals who have smart phones areable to capture images and videos during events. In addition, peoplecan connect to the internet using their phones to chat, browse, readelectronic mails, play online games, watch and send videos. Thechallenge is that these mobile functions consume a lot of energyhence, making it impossible for mobile phones to have a long batterylife. This is especially the case for individuals who desire toperform many functions using their phone on a single day. Such peopleare compelled to carry chargers or have a power bank.

Kumar and Lu (2010) explain that because “mobile systems havebecome the primary computing platform for many users, various studieshave identified longer battery lifetime as the most desired featureof such systems”. Illustrations include a research conducted onindividuals who use the iPhone 3GS, which led to the conclusion thatusers dislike the low battery life associated with the phone.Likewise, a research on mobile system users in 15 nations revealedthat the most important feature for individuals purchasing a mobilephone is long battery life (Kumar &amp Lu, 2010). As such expertshave explored the possibility of cloud computing in enhancing thebattery life of mobile systems. The objective is to ensure that usersare able to make use of the many applications available in theirdevices without worrying about the longevity of the devices batterylife.

In their study on the impact of eliminating mobile systemcomputation, Kumar and Lu (2010) concluded that, offloadingcomputation from mobile phones is not a new idea. Currently,individuals are able to assess the internet, make online purchases orpost items via the client-server model of computation. However, themodel has been incapable of reducing the energy needed for mobilephones to perform such functions. But cloud computing is differentbecause it adopts virtualization. This implies that service providersare not accountable for the management of programs that run onservers. Instead, virtualization makes it possible for cloud vendorsto operate random applications from many users on virtual machines.

As a result, cloud vendors are able to offer computing cycles. Mobilephone users depend on the cycles to minimize the amount ofcomputation they perform using their gadgets and in the process saveenergy (Kumar &amp Lu, 2010). Hence, cloud computing presents thepossibility for saving mobile systems energy via computationoffloading. Some of the mobile phone applications that benefit fromsuch offloading include image processing. In order for an individualto access a number of pictures captured using a mobile phone cameraone has to manually look through all the images to identify thedesired ones.

Research supports the use of “content-based image retrieval(CBIR)”, a service made possible by cloud computing, as analternative to manual browsing. For instance, an individual may beinterested in viewing all pictures that contain a particular person.CBIR makes it possible for the user to access the needed imagesthrough comparing all pictures and doing away with the unwantedmatches. Kumar and Lu (2010) explain that “it is energy efficientto partition CBIR between the mobile device and server depending onthe wireless bandwidth. As the bandwidth increases, offloading imageretrieval saves more energy”. In image retrieval, transmission ofimages over the wireless network leads to low energy consumption,which in turn saves battery life.

Enhances Information Technology (IT) Management

Leavitt (2009) notes “integrating multiple services and assets intoa powerful composite application is more convenient withwell-designed cloud platforms”, because it enables easierinteraction among the different infrastructure services. It ispossible to actualize such information technology management inorganizations such as educational establishments. Sultan (2010)depicts that learning institutions are constantly seeking ways ofrationalizing how they manage their resources. Bearing in mind thatadministrations are likely to reduce their investment in educationalestablishments, they will need to reduce their costs, especiallythose related to information technology management (Sultan, 2010).

According to Intel Corporation (2010), cloud computing is atechnology that makes it possible to centralize schoolinfrastructures. It takes advantage of server abilities to regulateschool IT allocation depending on demand. In addition, the technologyis able to integrate learning as well as teaching platforms (IntelCorporation, 2010). Servers are capable of providing the softwareapplications, access to the internet, and operating systems as asingle platform instead of having them installed and handled ondifferent platforms. In addition, teachers are able to benefit fromenhanced flexibility following IT management through cloud computing(Intel Corporation, 2010). The instructors are able to choosefrom an array of available applications, the ones that are bestsuited for their students at any time. Such a service is madepossible by the diversity of software served through the cloud.

The technology “also makes possible new classes of applications anddelivers services that were not possible before” (Avram 2014). Anexample is mobile applications, which are capable of responding inreal time to data provided by either human users or sensors that arenot human. Another illustration is “parallel batch processing”,an application that makes it possible for users to benefit from greatlevels of processing power to assess data terabytes, for a shortperiod (Avram, 2014). Also, cloud computing facilitates businessanalytics, which companies employ to comprehend customer needs, andtheir purchasing habits from a large volume of data available online.

Improved Data Safety

When individuals are using personal computers, they store their datain folders created on the device. There is no effective way to backup the data, apart from transferring it to another device, such as aflash disk, external memory or another computer. Supposing that theinformation is only stored in the computer’s hard disk, once thecomputer crashes all the information is lost. A virus attack on anexternal storage device poses the risk of losing all stored data. Itis also possible that the information stored in the personal computercan be accessed by unauthorized people. For instance, if someoneborrows one’s laptop, they could decide to go through the videos,images and other data stored in the computer.

On the contrary, Miller (2008) notes that with cloud computing, datais stored in the cloud. This means that the information is safe andis not easily lost. Supposing that a computer crashes, because theinformation is already in cloud it cannot be lost or destroyed. Thetechnology allows for the automatic duplication of all data storedsuch that data is never lost. Also, it is not possible for thirdparties to access one’s information when stored through cloudcomputing. This is because unless the data owner allows others toaccess the information, it cannot be seen by others.

Wall (2016) notes that cloud computing service providers use diversesecurity approaches to ensure that their clients’ data is safe. Onesuch method is encryption. Data is encrypted while in transit as wellas when resting on cloud servers (Wall, 2016). In addition, clientshave the freedom to decide whether to regulate their personalencryption keys, or they can create rules applying to people who cansee their information. As a result, it becomes impossible even forthose working for a service provider company, to read customersinformation. Another method is sharding, which refers to splittingevery data file to chunks (Wall, 2016). The chunks are encryptedseparately and kept in different locations. This way, even if a thirdpart manages to break into another person’s information stored inthe cloud, they are only able to get unsystematic blocks.

Allows Easy Scalability

Armbrust et al. (2010) identified three cloud computing propertiesthat make the technology scalable, which are short-term use, thetechnology does not require upfront charges and offers endlesscapacity upon demand. Cloud computing eradicates the “need forcomputing users to plan far ahead for provisioning due to theappearance of infinite computing resources available on demand,quickly enough to follow load surges”. Since the technologyeliminates the need for up-front charges for users, companies areable to operate using available hardware and increase their resourceonly when need arises. As such, computer applications are able tofunction as expected despite changes in software or hardware size.

Avram (2014) notes that the objective of cloud computing is to ensurethat users are capable of scaling their resources either up or downdynamically. This is made possible via application programinterfaces, which are dependent on client load. Thus, the technologymakes it simpler for companies to scale the services they offer,depending on their customer’s demands. Because the computingresources are handled via software, it is possible for them to bedeployed as fast as need emerges. Such scalability ensures thatcompanies are able to increase or reduce their computing resourceswhen needed. This means that organizations are not compelled to payfor resources they are not using.

Blaisdell (2012) expounds on Avram’s (2014) point by noting thatcloud computing is mainly attributed to its ability to ensurescalable information technology resources using the internet,contrary to locally operating the resources. The technology makes itpossible for an organization to respond fast to its business needs,and at the same time enhancing operational effectiveness. As aresult, it becomes possible for a company to improve its informationtechnology requirements as needed. For instance, service providersmake it possible for cloud users to enhance their existing resourcesto contain changing business needs. This means that a business isable to grow without incurring costly changes to the informationtechnology structures already available.

Conclusion

Cloud computing refers to a technological development wherebyeverything is web based. In traditional computing, users store theirinformation on the computer, while in cloud computing data is storedon servers managed by cloud providers using the internet. Thetechnology is beneficial to both companies and individuals.Organizations are able to save money spent in maintaining andoperating software and hardware infrastructure. Individuals savemoney as they do not have to invest a lot of money in buyingcomputers that require large storage space and processing speed.Cloud computing, through computation offloading, saves the batterylife for mobile phone users accessing different phone applications.Companies are able to manage their IT infrastructure easily, there isimproved data safety as information is stored in the cloud, andenhanced scalability is achieved as companies can scale up or downtheir technology resources at ease via cloud computing.

Annotated Bibliography

Armbrust, M., Fox, A., Griffith, R., Joseph, A. D., Katz., R.,Konwinski, A., Lee, G…&amp Zaharia, M. (2010). A view of cloudcomputing. Communications of the ACM, 53(4), 50-58.

The source analyzes cloud computing as a technology that it expectedto hugely impact the field of information technology, by makingsoftware more attractive as it becomes a service, and how cloudcomputing will change the purchase and design of IT hardware. Theauthors define the technology as a service made available over theinternet and describe some of the types of cloud computing. Inaddition, the source analyzes in depth the opportunities andchallenges that are associated with the technology, which includedata lock-in, service availability, data confidentiality, performanceand scalability. The article is a peer reviewed academic journal,which is published by “Communications of the ACM”, which is amonthly “Journal of the Association for Computing Machinery”. Ithas been written by competent authors, as they comprise ofindividuals that are knowledgeable in the field of computing. Thearticle is current because it was published within the past sixyears. This source is relevant to my thesis statement and supportsthe research paper because it expounds on the issue of scalability.The article explains why cloud computing enables easy scalability fororganizations, by expounding on cloud computing properties, whichmake the technology scalable.

Avram, M. (2014). Advantages and challenges of adopting cloudcomputing from an enterprise perspective. Science Direct,529-534.

The article introduces cloud computing as a new model, which can beused to host as well as deliver services using the internet. Thesource explains that the technology is going to change the field ofinformation technology, in specific how services are scaled,maintained, created, implemented and paid for. In addition, theauthor discusses the advantages and disadvantages of implementingcloud computing for businesses. The article is peer reviewed and isan online journal, which has been retrieved from Science Direct. Theauthor has studied business informatics, and is hence knowledgeableon the topic of cloud computing. The source is current as it waspublished in the past two years. The article is relevant to theresearch paper because it supports three points in my thesis. Theauthor explains how cloud computing results in cost saving by makingit possible for individuals to open and operate businesses at lowentry costs as individuals are able to conduct business analytics atlow expenses enhances IT management by introducing new computingapplications that make it possible to deliver IT services, which werenot possible prior to the technology being developed and allows easyscalability by making it simple for companies to scale theirservices.

Blaisdell, R. (2012). Cloud computing enables business scalabilityand flexibility. Enterprise . Retrieved from:https://www.rickscloud.com/cloud-computing-enables-business-scalability-and-flexibility/

The main argument presented by the source is on how cloud computingresults in flexibility as well as scalability for business. Thesource describes the technology as a service that makes it possiblefor business to host and operate their resources online. Also, thearticle delves more on why business owners should consider usingcloud computing. The article is credible because it has been writtenby a cloud computing expert, and it has been retrieved from acomputing website created by the author. The source is current as itwas published in the past four years. The article is applicable tothe research paper’s thesis because it supports the point onscalability. This source informs that scalability is one of the majoradvantages of cloud computing, because it makes it possible forcompanies to increase or decrease their information technologyrequirements when need arises. As such, the author explains that itbecomes possible to handle business demands without having to incurexpensive costs in changing IT structures. The source also informsthat scalability is important in ensuring that companies can managetheir data centers, as cloud computing makes it possible to allocateIT resources effectively.

Hayes, B. (2008). Cloud computing. Communications of the ACM,51(7), 9-11.

The source evaluates cloud computing in detail by defining thetechnology as a way of storing data in the cloud. The author focuseson differentiating computation using personal computers and the typeof computation achieved through cloud computing. An interestingfactor introduced by the article is how the author compares cloudcomputing to the formation of service bureaus as well as time-sharingsystems created 50 years ago. The article is a peer reviewed academicjournal, which is published by “Communications of the ACM”, amonthly “Journal of the Association for Computing Machinery”. Itis credible because the author is an expert in the field oftechnology. However, the article is not very current as it waspublished in 2008. The source is relevant for the research paper asit provides information that has been used to introduce cloudcomputing, prior to discussing the advantages of the technology. Theauthor points out the differentiating factors between traditionalcomputing and cloud computing. The factors include the fact that thelatter is user-centric, task-centric and powerful, and data is storedin the cloud. While traditional computing restricts data storage tothe desktop being used, cloud computing allows data to be stored inunseen computers, globally.

Intel Corporation. (2010). Schools, IT and cloud computing:The agility for 21st century elearning, 1-3. Retrieved from: http://www.intel.com/content/dam/doc/case-study/cloud-computing-education-21st-century-e-learning-study.pdf

The source begins by introducing cloud computing as a major solutionfor learning institutions, since the technology has the ability tochange how schools manage their information technology resources. Thearticle then defines the technology according to the descriptionprovided by “The National Institute of Standards and Technology”.The source then introduces two fundamental types of cloud computinginfrastructures, which are internal as well as external. Internalcloud computing applies to cloud servers used within a school ITstructure to enhance scalability. On the other hand, external cloudcomputing involves cloud services sold to a school. The source hasbeen written by Intel Corporation, an organization thatspecializes in computing. It has been retrieved online from thecorporation’s website and is current. This article supports mythird point on why companies and individuals should use cloudcomputing. The point relates to how the technology improvesinformation technology management, specifically in learninginstitutions. The article explains that by implementing cloudcomputing, schools are able to provide all their softwareapplications online to teachers and students the technology makes itpossible for learning institutions to centralize their ITinfrastructures and enhances teaching flexibility by enhancingaccess to a wide array of applications that support curriculum.

Kumar, K., &amp Lu, Y. (2010). Cloud computing for mobile users: Canoffloading computation save energy? IEEE Computer Society,51-56.

The source specifically focuses on the use of cloud computing bymobile phone users. The authors explain that with the advancements oftechnology, new mobile phones have been invented, which are able toperform computing functions. However, many phones do not save energy,which means that individuals performing different applications usingthe gadgets have to deal with the challenge of low battery. Thearticle is credible because it is a periodical published by the “IEEEComputer Society”. The publisher specializes in computer as well asinformation technology professional writing. It is current because itwas published within the last six years. This source is applicable tothe research paper as it supports the second point in my thesis onthe use of cloud computing by individuals to save the energy used bymobile systems. The authors conduct a research on the possibility ofimproving the battery life of mobile phones for users. The sourceconcludes that by offloading computation, a service made possible bycloud computing, it is possible to save the energy used when usingphones to upload images, retrieve data or browse, and in the processincrease battery life.

Leavitt, N. (2009). Is cloud computing really ready for prime time?Technology News, 15-20.

The source explains that although a number of issues relating tosecurity and privacy of data stored via cloud computing have beenhighlighted as the main drawbacks of the technology, the technologyhas a bright future. The article defines cloud computing as a trendthat is reshaping information technology for companies andindividuals. The source also evaluates how to implement cloudcomputing, the advantages and disadvantages, in the processquestioning whether people and organizations are ready to use thetechnology. It is a credible periodical retrieved from the “IEEEComputer Society”, which writes on technology news. Although thearticle is not current as current as the other sources since it waspublished in 2009. The source significantly supports the first andthird points in my thesis. As such, it is applicable to the researchpaper because the author explains how companies and individuals saveon costs that would be needed to maintain and operate software whenusing local computing, because with cloud computing the maintenanceand operation of software is unnecessary. The source further notesthat the technology enhances IT management by designing cloudplatforms.

Miller, M. (2008).&nbspCloudcomputing: Web-based applications that change the way you work and collaborate online. NewYork: Que publishing.

The source provides all information pertaining to cloud computing.The author begins by defining cloud computing as a web-basedapplication that alters how people work online. The source thenevaluates the challenges and gains derived from implementing thetechnology. The source is a textbook that is accessible online. It iscredible because the author is an expert in the field of computingand has in depth knowledge about the technology. The book was writtenin 2008 and contains information that is very relevant for theresearch paper. The source supports the first and third point in mythesis. The first point is on cost saving and the source explainsthat cloud computing ensures that companies and individuals saveinformation technology costs by reducing the software and hardwaremaintenance expenses. This means that by using cloud computing, moneyis not spent buying new hardware or software to meet increasingdemand. The third point is on increased data security, which isachieved because data is stored in the cloud. The source comparestraditional computing to cloud computing in elaborating on thispoint. The author explains that in the former, a computer user riskslosing information saved in the hard disk, when the computer crashes.However, when data is in the cloud, it cannot be lost even when acomputer crashes.

Sultan, N. (2010). Cloud computing for education: A new dawn?International Journal of Information Management, 30(2),109-116.

The source commences by introducing the possibility of implementingcloud computing in educational establishments. The author explainsthat budget cuts from government are likely to target schools, whichmeans that the institutions will have less money to spend. Hence,they need to implement ways of managing costs, especially expensesrelated to information technology. The article is a peer reviewedjournal published by the “International Journal of InformationManagement”. It is credible because the author is knowledgeable inthe field of information management. The source is current as it waspublished in 2010. The article supports the third point in my thesison how cloud computing results in improved information technologymanagement. The author explains that learning institutions can usethe technology to rationalize their IT resource management. This isbecause it is a computing model that avails the flexibility as wellas cost saving needed by schools. Educational establishments that usecloud computing will be able to reduce the hardware and softwaredemands and in turn save on IT costs.

Wall, M. (2016). Can we trust cloud providers to keep our data safe?BBC News. Retrieved from:http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36151754

The source questions the level of security provided by cloud serviceproviders. The article explains that although storing informationremotely promises to reduce information technology expenses, thesecurity concerns cannot be ignored. The source evaluates thesecurity measures that have been taken by cloud providers. Thearticle has been retrieved from the BBC website. It is credible as ithas been written by a technology writer. In addition, the article iscurrent as it was published in 2016. The source supports the fourthpoint in my thesis and is hence useful in this research paper. Theauthor explains that many individuals and companies are concernedabout how secure the data they store in the cloud is. As a result,cloud providers use different security methods, the most common beingencryptions and sharding. Encryption allows individuals to restrictwho can access their information. Sharding is the splitting of datainto chunks that are also encrypted, which makes it hard for a thirdparty to access systematic data from cloud users.

References

Armbrust, M., Fox, A., Griffith, R., Joseph, A. D., Katz., R.,Konwinski, A., Lee, G…&amp Zaharia, M. (2010). A view of cloudcomputing. Communications of the ACM, 53(4), 50-58.

Avram, M. (2014). Advantages and challenges of adopting cloudcomputing from an enterprise perspective. Science Direct,529-534.

Blaisdell, R. (2012). Cloud computing enables business scalabilityand flexibility. Enterprise . Retrieved from:https://www.rickscloud.com/cloud-computing-enables-business-scalability-and-flexibility/

Hayes, B. (2008). Cloud computing. News, 51(7), 9-11.

Intel Corporation. (2010). Schools, IT and cloud computing:The agility for 21st century elearning, 1-3. Retrieved from: http://www.intel.com/content/dam/doc/case-study/cloud-computing-education-21st-century-e-learning-study.pdf

Kumar, K., &amp Lu, Y. (2010). Cloud computing for mobile users: Canoffloading computation save energy? IEEE Computer Society,51-56.

Leavitt, N. (2009). Is cloud computing really ready for prime time?Technology News, 15-20.

Miller, M. (2008).&nbspCloudcomputing: Web-based applications that change the way you work and collaborate online. NewYork: Que publishing.

Sultan, N. (2010). Cloud computing for education: A new dawn?International Journal of Information Management, 30(2),109-116.

Wall, M. (2016). Can we trust cloud providers to keep our data safe?BBC News. Retrieved from:http://www.bbc.com/news/business-36151754

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