Nadella to infuse cloud computing in India

New Delhi: Microsoft chief Satya Nadella is in the national capital and this is his first visit to India. On Monday he visited Hyderabad and had a detailed conversation with the employees at the company’s India Development Centre (IDC).

Nadella is here to speak on cloud computing and introducing it in India. The terms “cloud computing” and “working in the cloud” refer to performing computer tasks using services delivered entirely over the Internet. Cloud computing is a movement away from applications needing to be installed on an individual’s computer towards the applications being hosted online.

The “cloud” refers to the Internet and was inspired by technical flow charts and diagrams, which tend to use a cloud symbol to represent the Internet.

Cloud computing is internet-based computing in which large groups of remote servers are networked to allow sharing of data-processing tasks, centralised data storage, and online access to computer services or resources.

How Cloud Computing Works

The goal of cloud computing is to apply traditional supercomputing, or high-performance computing power, normally used by military and research facilities, to perform tens of trillions of computations per second, in consumer-oriented applications such as financial portfolios, to deliver personalized information, to provide data storage or to power large, immersive computer games.

To do this cloud computing uses networks of large groups of servers typically running low-cost consumer PC technology with specialised connections to spread data-processing chores across them. This shared IT infrastructure contains large pools of systems that are linked together. Often, virtualisation techniques are used to maximise the power of cloud computing.

In a cloud computing system, there’s a significant workload shift. Local computers no longer have to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to running applications. The network of computers that make up the cloud handles them instead. Hardware and software demands on the user’s side decrease. The only thing the user’s computer needs to be able to run is the cloud computing system’s interface software, which can be as simple as a Web browser, and the cloud’s network takes care of the rest.

There’s a good chance you’ve already used some form of cloud computing. If you have an e-mail account with a Web-based e-mail service like Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail or Gmail, then you’ve had some experience with cloud computing. Instead of running an e-mail program on your computer, you log in to a Web e-mail account remotely. The software and storage for your account doesn’t exist on your computer – it’s on the service’s computer cloud.

Cloud Clients

Users access cloud computing using networked client devices, such as desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Some of these devices – cloud clients – rely on cloud computing for all or a majority of their applications so as to be essentially useless without it.

Examples are thin clients and the browser-based Chromebook. Many cloud applications do not require specific software on the client and instead use a web browser to interact with the cloud application. With Ajax and HTML5 these Web user interfaces can achieve a similar, or even better, look and feel to native applications.

Some cloud applications, however, support specific client software dedicated to these applications (e.g., virtual desktop clients and most email clients). Some legacy applications (line of business applications that until now have been prevalent in thin client computing) are delivered via a screen-sharing technology.

Types: Private Cloud

A private cloud is a particular model of cloud computing that involves a distinct and secure cloud based environment in which only the specified client can operate. As with other cloud models, private clouds will provide computing power as a service within a virtualised environment using an underlying pool of physical computing resource. However, under the private cloud model, the cloud (the pool of resource) is only accessible by a single organisation providing that organisation with greater control and privacy.

Public Cloud

The most recognisable model of cloud computing to many consumers is the public cloud model, under which cloud services are provided in a virtualised environment, constructed using pooled shared physical resources, and accessible over a public network such as the internet. To some extent they can be defined in contrast to private clouds which ring-fence the pool of underlying computing resources, creating a distinct cloud platform to which only a single organisation has access. Public clouds, however, provide services to multiple clients using the same shared infrastructure.

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment in which an organisation provides and manages some resources in-house and has others provided externally.

Hybrid cloud is a composition of two or more clouds (private, community or public) that remain distinct entities but are bound together, offering the benefits of multiple deployment models.

Over the last few years we’ve seen tremendous growth in cloud computing, as witnessed by the many popular Web apps used today, including: VoIP (e.g., Skype, Google Voice), social applications (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), media services (e.g., Picassa, YouTube, Flickr), content distribution (e.g., BitTorrent), financial apps (e.g., Mint), and many more. Even traditional desktop software, such as Microsoft Office, has moved in part to the Web, starting with its Office 2010 Web Apps.

According to Gartner’s Hype cycle, cloud computing has reached a maturity that leads it into a productive phase. This means that most of the main issues with cloud computing have been addressed to a degree that clouds have become interesting for full commercial exploitation.

This, however, does not mean that all the problems have actually been solved, only that the according risks can be tolerated to a certain degree. Cloud computing is therefore still as much a research topic, as it is a market offering.

On Monday, Cisco Systems said they will invest $1 billion over two years to expand its cloud offerings, linking hundreds of data centers and cloud providers around the world in a network with more than 30 partners.

The network, called ‘Intercloud’, will help businesses process and manage data generated from billions of devices and applications around the world, Cisco said.

Intercloud will also allow companies to direct data traffic through specific clouds and data centers. This will help international businesses deal with foreign regulations requiring companies to house data collected from its citizens in local data centers.

The company also hopes the offering will address security and reliability concerns that have prevented businesses from accessing the cloud through public Internet connections.

Telecom provider BT will use Cisco technology to interconnect public and private clouds into the Intercloud, allowing their customers to securely move workloads between BT data centers and different clouds.

Cisco is also offering a hybrid cloud bundle that will allow customers currently using a private cloud to tap into the network.

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