Top 10 Advantages of Cloud Computing

cloud computing

In simple words, cloud computing may be called as computing that is based entirely on the internet. As in the past, where people needed to run programs or applications from software which would be downloaded from a server or a physical computer, cloud computing services help them to access those applications through the medium of internet. When you make any status update on your Facebook account, you make use of cloud computing. When you check your bank account balance on the phone, again you make use of cloud computing. We can say that cloud computing services are becoming the new common.

The most trending cloud computing services are the AWS Cloud Services (Amazon Web Services). It is an evolving and comprehensive platform for cloud computing offered by Amazon. It offers more than three others varied services including RedShift, DynamoDB, and Mechanical Turk etc.

According to the estimates, 90% of the businesses in the United Kingdom are using a minimum of one cloud service. Have you ever wondered why so many businesses are moving towards it? It is simply because there are several advantages of cloud computing. It helps in improving the cash flow, increases the efficiency and numerous others. Have a look at these top 10 advantages of cloud computing.

1. Less Costs
The services are free from capital expenditure. There are no huge costs of hardware in cloud computing. You just have to pay as you operate it and enjoy the model based on your subscription plan.

2. 24 X 7 Availability
Most of the cloud providers are truly reliable in offering their services, with most of them maintaining an uptime of 99.9%. The workers can get onto the applications needed basically from anywhere. Some of the applications even function off-line.

3. Flexibility in Capacity
It offers flexible facility which could be turned off, up or down as per the circumstances of the user. For instance, a promotion of sales is very popular, capacity can be immediately and quickly added to it for the avoidance of losing sales and crashing servers. When those sales are done, the capacity can also be shrunk for the reduction of costs.

4. All over Functioning
Cloud computing offers yet another advantage of working from anywhere across the globe, as long as you have an internet connection. Even while using the critical cloud services that offer mobile apps, there is no limitation of the device used.

5. Automated Updates on Software
In cloud computing, the server suppliers regularly update your software including the updates on security, so that you do not need to agonize on wasting your crucial time on maintaining the system. You find extra time to focus on the important things like ‘How to grow your businesses.

6. Security
Cloud computing offers great security when any sensitive data has been lost. As the data is stored in the system, it can be easily accessed even if something happens to your computer. You can even remotely wipe out data from the lost machines for avoiding it getting in the wrong hands.

7. Carbon Footprint
Cloud computing is helping out organisations to reduce their carbon footprint. Organizations utilize only the amount of resources they need, which helps them to avoid any over provisioning. Hence, no waste of resources and thus energy.

8. Enhanced Collaboration
Cloud applications enhance collaboration by authorizing diverse groups of people virtually meet and exchange information with the help of shared storage. Such capability helps in improving the customer service and product development and also reducing the marketing time.

9. Control on the Documents
Before cloud came into being, workers needed to send files in and out as the email attachments for being worked on by a single user at one time ultimately ending up with a mess of contrary titles, formats, and file content. Moving to cloud computing has facilitated central file storage.

10. Easily Manageable
Cloud computing offers simplified and enhanced IT maintenance and management capacities by agreements backed by SLA, central resource administration and managed infrastructure. You get to enjoy a basic user interface without any requirement for installation. Plus you are assured guaranteed and timely management, maintenance, and delivery of the IT services.

Even the few of these advantages of cloud computing might be enough to persuade businesses to move onto the cloud computing services. But when summed up all of these 10, it is accosting no-brainer domain.

Cloud Computing: Empowering Businesses of all Sizes

Cloud computing is now widely accepted as a solution that is here to stay for businesses looking to streamline, centralise and add value to their operations. Pavin argues that cloud, while not a game-changer for large companies, has brought forward a revolution for a huge number of businesses, in particular when it comes to adding enterprise-level capabilities on a small business budget.

In a business, it also offers an easy way to deploy tools, services and manage access. Pavin notes from his personal experience the ease of no longer having to ask the IT department in order to get access to specific tools, to get accesses validated for different systems, or having to ask an IT guy to come and actually install software on a laptop. Cloud allows for easier deployment and management in a controlled and secure environment.

Read more..

Cloud security faces the public sector test – a Q/A with Doug VanDyke of AWS

One highlight of the Infor Federal Forum was a view from AWS on the dynamics of public sector security. I missed him that day, but I tracked down AWS presenter Doug VanDyke to get his take on cloud security, and share the reactions to his keynote.

Few things bug me as much as an interview opportunity missed. I covered the Infor Federal Forum event from several angles, but I wasn’t able to sit down with an important piece of the puzzle: a guest keynote from Amazon Web Services on public sector cloud security. Read more..

Cloud Computing in Banking Environment

Cloud is a distinct IT environment that remotely provides measured and scalable IT resources, and relies on a pool of shared physical and virtual resources rather than deployment of personal or local software and hardware. Cloud deployment offers great choice in choosing the management required and level of security, and hence is suitable for almost any business. Although there is no magic bullet that can meet all the requirements, cloud computing offers several advantages to the financial institutions. These benefits include:

Cost-saving– The large up-front capital expenditure can be turned into ongoing, smaller operational cost without any bulk investments in new software and hardware.

Business continuity– In cloud computing, the service provider manages the technology, and banking firms can have higher levels of fault tolerance, data protection and disaster recover. Cloud computing also offers a high level of back-up and redundancy at lower cost.

Usage-based billing– Institutions can pick and choose the services based on pay-as-you-go basis.

Business agility– As the cloud is available on demand, the infrastructure investment is minimized, saving the time for initial set-up. The development cycle for the new products is reduced, leading to more efficient and faster response to the customers.

Business focus– Financial firms can move non-critical services such as software patches, maintenance etc. to the cloud, and can focus on their core business areas, not IT.

Green IT– Transferring banking services to the cloud reduces carbon footprint and energy consumption, and there is minimized idle time with more efficient utilization of computing power.

Cloud Service Models

Cloud computing offers more flexible business models to the financial institutions which lowers operational costs. However, it is essential to select the cloud service model that best matches the core business requirements. These models are:

BPaaS– Business Process-as-a-service- Used for general processes such as payroll, billing, human resources etc.

SaaS– (Software-as-a-service) – Users can access the software and data from their browser, and business software and related data are housed by the cloud service provider. Accounting, enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relation management (CRM), human resource management, invoicing, service desk management and content management software can be delivered using this model.

IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-service) – Rather than purchasing software, servers, network equipment or data centre space, the businesses can buy these resources as fully outsourced services.

PaaS( Platform-as-a-service) – In this model, the cloud service provider offers a complete platform to the businesses to develop , run and manage their applications without engaging in the infrastructure complexities associated with application development and launch.
visual-model-of-cloud-computing
There are three types of commonly deployed clouds. Private cloud is operated specifically for a given company and is most secure of all options. The company may exist on or off the premises, and can be managed either by the company, or by a third party. Public clouds are for a large industry group or for the general public, and ownership lies with the cloud service seller. Hybrid infrastructure consists of two or more public or private clouds that are linked but remain unique entities.

Banking on the Cloud

Banking industry needs to address the ever-growing data input demands, and there is a need to explore the systems that do not rely on like-system migration so that infrastructure can be modified without any disruption. Banks have been slow in adopting cloud computing as there are apprehensions regarding lack of control and environment sprawl which can lead to reliability issues and security risks. Banks also want their financial data to be secured with controlled access. Public clouds come with the issues such as location, regulation, recoverability and liability, and this has led to slow adoption and deployment of cloud computing in the banking sector.

However, cloud computing can change the way consumers interact with banks, and migration to the suitable cloud computing model offer several benefits. Understanding the migration and entire process of migration can be quite beneficial in the long-term. The first step for the banking firms towards cloud computing adoption is opting for the private cloud as it gives banks more control, increased flexibility and reduced complexity. The banks can also alter their resource configuration to match the changes in the demand of their services. The risk of security breach in the private cloud is minimized as it is deployed within the firewall of the organisation. Using VPN (Virtual Private Network), the IT infrastructure of the company can be easily and quickly moved over a single private network. Using private clouds, banks can operate at high transaction volumes without slowing the processes and without overloading the network. The services become more efficient due to dedicated resources of each unit, improving the customer experience. Private clouds offer safety and affordability as the resources are rented, and not purchased. The total cost of ownership is reduced as the capital expenditure is converted to the operating expenditure. Private clouds are safe, affordable and enable easy transition in banking leading to long term success. Banking sector applications are very critical, private clouds provide increased security to ensure that the data is not misplaced or lost. Public clouds offer economies of scale, cost benefit and ROI, whereas private cloud offers high levels of security.

Given the concerns regarding control and security, banks can opt for incremental approach which involves using cloud computing to the non-core operations initially, and gradually move more and more operations and processes to the cloud depending on the benefits. Banks need to work on cloud reference architecture, and try to achieve business agility for business model transformation.

As there is no one-solution-fits-all option available, banks need to consider few key aspects. It is essential to thoroughly evaluate all the challenges and advantages associated with cloud computing with respect to their complete range of services- core and non-core. Additionally, geographic regulations, penalty clauses, business criticalities, interoperability and interface impact, audit requirement mandates, and technology are some of the aspects that must be thoroughly assessed. Choice of the cloud model must be evaluated based on the control of the governance and support provided by the service vendor. Non-core banking applications that do not need strict governance and stringent monitoring are suited for SaaS model, whereas IaaS is more suitable for the business critical applications that need to be closely monitored. Banks must keep in mind that the vendor must provide transparency in the security procedures and policies.

Conclusion

Banks these days offer a plethora of services, and hence they have varied requirements regarding the movement of applications to the cloud. Cloud computing can help banks create more agile and flexible business offerings for the competitive and growing markets, and help them transform their business processes. They can explore and grow into the new markets and sectors, and improve their services to the customers across different geographic locations, and integrate customer information and analytics.

Benefits of Cloud Computing – Idexcel Cloud Computing Roundup

1. Benefits of Cloud Computing

Based on Aberdeen Group’s Computer Intelligence Dataset, there are more than 1.6 billion permutations to choose from when it comes to cloud computing solutions.

So what, on the face of it, appears to be pretty simple is actually both complex and dynamic regardless of whether you’re in the market for networking, storage, servers, telephony, virtualisation or applications.

By making the right choices for your cloud computing technology you stand to benefit from improvements in profitability, improved time to decision, improvements in complete and on-time delivery and reduction in downtime. Read more…

2. The dirty dozen: 12 cloud security threats

Enterprises are no longer sitting on their hands, wondering if they should risk migrating applications and data to the cloud. They’re doing it — but security remains a serious concern.

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The first step in minimizing risk in the cloud is to identify the top security threats. Read more…

3. IoT revenues up 15%; cloud computing a big driver

A new report shows healthy revenues for 21 benchmarked Internet of Things (IoT) companies in the last quarter of 2015, with revenue growing by almost 15% to levels approaching $7 billion. Cloud computing and IT infrastructure are especially potent drivers of IoT revenues, as vendors help companies cope with ever increasing rivers of data. Read more…

4. Why banks are finally cashing in on the public cloud

The financial services industry has avoided entrusting its data to public cloud vendors, even as Amazon Web Services quietly acquired thousands of business users. Banks and insurance firms feared rigorous regulatory scrutiny should their data become compromised in a breach at one of their cloud vendors. Read more…

5. Jay Greene on Cloud Computing May Be Hampering Tech Spending

The transition to cloud computing – at the current snail pace doesn’t warrant ‘transformation’ rhetoric – may be getting a goose because of tightening finances in the corporate world. A time when the purported risks of cloud computing are moderated by companies hungry for cost-cutting. And that may be part of the slow-down in tech spending right now. Read more…

Startup Sutra: To Scale Quick, Ride A Cloud

Small is Big makes a catchy label for a startup to stick at the office water cooler. But Small is Big with cloud computing makes for business gyan. To put it in another way, Startup + Cloud = Another Facebook kind of valuation in the works (read on to know how). So think big. Work smart. Keep it lean and mean. Deliver stuff that works straight off the shelf. That’s what the cloud is all about, particularly for a startup. Enabling anyone to do any work or any play anywhere, anyplace, anytime. Is that not why when people say they are on cloud, they mean they are on cloud nine, eight times out of nine?

Reverse the equation for a moment. What if you are a startup actually offering cloud services? Impossible is nothing! You can potentially set the investors’ pulse racing and have over-eager venture capitalists knocking on your doors! Workday, a young Californian firm selling cloud-based software hit pay dirt managing the back-offices of large companies and ended up with a valuation of nearly $4 billion at the New York bourses. Another company, Yammer that offers social networking software, was snapped up by Microsoft for $1.2 billion.

Let’s rewind to Ground Zero when you have just buckled your straps and are starting from scratch. As a startup, you cannot afford to be straight-jacketed. You need to keep your options open. Like, one door should open when another closes.

Suppose you start with investing big on creating an all-purpose fully loaded virtual architecture, and this model ends up as a white elephant? All the more sensible therefore that you keep your investment on virtual architecture lean and mean and to the minimum, and fully leverage Cloud Service to the maximum by using it for accessing application infrastructure, processing, storage, etc.

Unless you are starting your enterprise with a billion dollars (!) your number one concern will be about how to thread your costs thin. Remember Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) concept? It’s the same with startups using cloud service. You only pay per spend, or pay per user or per quantity of processing/storage.
With cloud services, your resources are “elastic”, and you enjoy out of the box mobility by way of easy and instant access to IT facilities from any suitably configured device, including faster access to latest software and hardware upgrades on the cutting edge. For instance, days after your new state-of-art server farm arrives on its pallets, the market is abuzz about the launch of a new server that has double the processing power and is available at half the cost of your server! But if you have adopted the cloud model, you are able to access up-to-date hardware resources and software functionality, and its newly added features, at little or no extra cost.

However, many startups would like to cross the bridge to the cloud only when it becomes par for the course and not when it is still a fashion statement.

For instance, in situations where data requirements are huge, working on a smart phone view is like watching the spectacular Avatar on a 9’ inch screen and writing a review of it!

When a startup relies on a network provider for most, if not all, its IT needs, how will it cope in the event of a network disruption? How will you ensure uptime in case you lose connectivity to your data? How will you manage your Windows Active Directory servers?

Cloud for startups has its advocates and critics and it would be fair to say that it is an idea whose time will not go for some time to come. Wish we had Steve Jobs to ask the right questions and provide better answers. Or is it that he is on cloud ??

If you want to bootstrap your way to scale, your ticket is a cloud away.

Cloud based QA Infrastructure

A silver bullet to ward off traditional challenges

If you have some spare time at the office, spare a thought to the CIO in the IT industry. A blitzkrieg of challenges invite the CIO every day as he settles down on his desk after greeting his colleagues, rather ironically for him, a “good morning”. Here’s how the dice rolls for him every day at work:

Existing Scenario:

a)    Shrinking budget

b)    Increasing cost pressures

Expectations:

a)    Cut IT spend

b)    Deliver value and technology edge

Preferred Solution:

a)    Enhance ROI generated from IT components

b)    Increase focus on QA infrastructure and maintenance costs

c)    Lean on test managers to reduce QA infra costs as they form a major chunk of IT infrastructure budgeting.

Cutting costs, a Catch-22 situation

On the other side, test managers face a catch-22 situation as cut in QA infrastructure spend could potentially impact the quality of software deliverables. Here are a few examples of the challenges that drive cost of IT upwards while creating and managing QA infrastructure:

  • Testing operations are recurring but non-continuous. This means test infrastructure is sub-optimally utilized and therefore has a significant impact on ROI.
  • Testing work areas span a wide spectrum such as On-time QA environment provisioning for multiple projects, decommissioning of QA environment to other projects, QA environment support, managing incidents, and managing configurations for multiple projects. All these necessitate an organization to allocate and maintain proportionate skilled resources at all times which in turn drives costs upwards.
  • CIOs and Test Managers are expected to ensure testing is commissioned on recommended hardware, because most of the issues linked to later stages of the quality gate are attributed to testing on inadequate hardware. This again accounts for a significant chunk of the total IT budget
  • Creating appropriately defined QA infrastructure up and running in time (including procurement and leasing of these elements) to meet the set timelines demands more IT staffing resources
  • Many Test Managers give the goby to staging environment and directly deploy to production because of budget constraints, however creating a staging environment that mimics production is more critical to quality of software in production. Creating such environment also necessitates huge chunk of total IT budget.
  • Today’s complex application architecture involves multiple hardware and software tools which require a lot of investment in terms of time, money, resources on coordination, managing SLAs, procurement;  with multiple vendors. All these taken together add up more allocations in the budget.
  • For conducting performance testing, test managers need to set up a huge number of machines in the lab to generate desired number of virtual users demanding more budget from CIOs

The Case for QA infrastructure as a Service in Cloud

All the above challenges force CIOs and Test Managers to move away from on-premises QA infrastructure and scout for alternatives such as cloud computing for creating and managing QA environments. Organizations are leveraging cloud computing to significantly lower IT infra spend towards QA environments while at the same time deliver value, quality and efficient QA lifecycle. Already, many players, big and small, such as Amazon, IBM, Skytap, CMT, Joyent, Rackspace;  offer QA infrastructure as a service in cloud. Using this service, organizations can set up QA infrastructure in cloud, shifting focus from CAPEX to OPEX.  CIOs too are able to significantly squeeze both CAPEX and OPEX elements thereby meeting the budget cap without compromising on the quality of the solution.

How does it work?

Assume that a QA team needs a highly complex test environment configuration in order to conduct testing on a new application. Instead of setting up on-premises QA environment (which requires hardware procurement, set up, maintenance), a QA team member logs in to the QA infrastructure service provider’s self-service portal and:

* Creates an environment template with each tier of the application and network elements like web server, application servers, load balancer, database and storage.  For example a QA team member can fill the web server template like “web server with large instance and windows server 2008”.

* Submits the request through the IaaS service provider’s portal

* The service provider provisions this configuration and hardware in minutes and sends a mail to the QA team.

* The QA team uses this testing environment for required time and completes the testing.

* the QA team releases the test environment at the end of the testing cycle.

* For subsequent releases, the environment can simply be set up from the same template and the QA team can deploy the new code and start testing.

* The service provider bills for only the actual usage of the QA environment.

How does it help?

Elastic and scalable data center with no CAPEX investment: CIOs/Test Managers don’t have to worry about budgeting, procurement, setting up and maintenance of QA environment. Organizations simply need to develop applications and create a template of the required environment and request the service provider who enables the test environment. The QA team then deploys the application on a production like environment, thus saving time and expenses over traditional on-premises deployment. This shifts the focus from CAPEX to OPEX for IT infrastructure spending.

QA teams can provision their own environment: With this facility, QA teams can provision their own environment on-demand, rather than going though long IT procurement process, to set up an on-premises test environment.

Multiple parallel environments: QA teams can create different environments with different platforms and application stacks, with no investment in capex and multiple hardware, reducing the Go to Market time.

Minimize resource hoarding: Instead of setting up on-premises test environments and investing capital on hardware, QA teams can deploy the environments on cloud on a need-basis and release the resources after completion of testing. Some service providers provide ‘suspend and resume’ facility, in which case QA teams can suspend an environment saving the entire state including memory and resume at a later stage when required.

The bottom line: QA environments in cloud are lifesavers for companies. CIOs are slowly adapting cloud based QA infrastructure and moving away from on-premises QA infrastructures which demands huge CAPEX and OPEX and yields less ROI. Cloud-based QA infrastructure, if managed smartly, is a silver bullet that can neutralize most of the challenges faced by CIOs/Test Managers in traditional QA infrastructure.

In the Cloud, Don’t KISS.

Remember the Y2K dotcom era when every Tom, Dick and Harry rushed to ride the Internet bubble? It looks like many of us have forgotten our lesson, the instant Internet 2.0 (or is it 3.0?) made a comeback on a cloud, viz. Signing up for Cloud Services like you are applying for a credit card. Follow the herd mentality, you know.

To get smarter, faster, and better, go easy. And then act with speed. That’s how you win the race. Just because your competitor, your associate, or your vendor is moving to the cloud, doesn’t mean you mimic them without giving it any more thought. Think before you ink a SLA. Is your CSP (Cloud Service Provider) capable of delivering standards-based cloud solutions that are designed from the ground up to meet your specific enterprise requirements? Does your Service Level Agreement with your CSP also cover your requirements for monitoring, logging, encryption and security? Do you have the domain specific IT knowledge and expertise and the corresponding environment in place before signing up for a cloud solution? And are your security protocols in optimum functional mode?

Security protocols: Keep a hawk’s eye on them. In CIO circles, they warn you not to KISS (Keep It Stupid & Silly) when you sign for the cloud. KISS refers to common mistakes in an enterprise such as for instance, failing to to register your passwords and individual IDs with the enterprise; turning a deaf ear to demands for secure Application Programming Interfaces (API); and wrongly assuming that you are outsourcing risk, accountability and compliance obligations as well to the cloud.

The ironic party of this business of securing the cloud is the challenge of arriving at an ideal tradeoff between the need of the enterprise for security and the need of the consumer for privacy. The Economist in “Keys to the Cloud Castle” succinctly sums up this dilemma faced by cloud-based internet storage and synchronization providers like say Dropbox, using a house metaphor. Which do you prefer: An access through a master key which is in the hands of an authorized internal security or an access whereby you choose your own security key. The problem with the former is in the key falling into wrong hands, while in the latter case, the danger is in losing all access if you lose the key due to negligence. Cloud security scientists so constantly look to find a middle path that combines privacy with security.

Does this mean that a perfectly secure cloud computing is still a chimera? Happily for us, recent research in cryptography shows homographic encryption – a new algorithm which would enable a Web user to send encrypted data to a server in the cloud which it turn would process it without decrypting it and send back a still-encrypted result – is well on the way to become a pursuit of wow, among CIOs.

A clearly demarcated delegation of tasks between cloud providers and security providers could serve as a rule of thumb for ensuring both security and privacy. Cloud providers should focus on providing access, anywhere, anytime, while security providers should focus on core encryption. An integration of both these services can lead to a seamless and secure user experience. For example, you as an user encrypt your files directly on your laptop/desktop/phones, and then upload the encrypted documents to the cloud.

Bottom line: Don’t sign up for the cloud like you are applying for a credit card. Outsourcing your ideas doesn’t mean you also outsource your thinking..

For A Better Cloud Security – Wheel it Different, instead of Reinventing the Wheel !

Saas served as sauce? Wow. But only as long as it’s secure. And that’s where the penny drops. No matter. Big money now is way too big on cloud services. We can’t roll back the Age of Participation. The jury may be pondering on how secure is the cloud, but the verdict is only going to tweak “how secure is the cloud” to “how to secure the cloud”.

Yes, there is a cloud over the cloud. Less than a year ago, hackers stole 6 million passwords from dating site eHarmony and LinkedIn fueling the debate over cloud security. DropBox, a free online service provider that lets you share documents freely online, became “a problem child for cloud security” in the words of a cloud services expert.

The “Notorious Nine” threats to cloud computing security according to the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), a not-for-profit body: Data breaches, data loss, account or service traffic hijacking, insecure interfaces and APIs, Denial of service, malicious insiders, cloud abuse, insufficient due diligence, and shared technology vulnerabilities.

However, a problem is an opportunity in disguise, and so the algorithm waiting to be discovered is to how to outsmart the hackers and overcome the threats to cloud security. More so, since the advantages that accrue from cloud services viz. flexibility, scalability, economies of scale, for instance, far outweigh the risks associated with the cloud.

One way for better cloud security is to use a tried, tested and trusted Cloud Service Provider (CSP) rather than to self-design a high availability data center. Also, a CSP yields more economies of scale.
Virtualized servers, though less secure than the physical servers they replace, are getting more and more secure than before. According to research by Gartner, virtual servers were less secure than the physical servers they replaced by 60% in 2012. In 2015, they will be only 30% less secure.

To do the new in cloud security, we could begin by reinventing the old. The traditional methods of data security, viz. Logical security, Physical security and Premises security, also apply to securing the cloud. Logical security protects data using software safeguards such as password access, authentication, and authorization, and ensuring proper allocation of privileges.

The risk in Cloud Service Offerings arises because a single host with multiple virtual machines may be attacked by one of the guest operating systems. Or a guest operating system may be used to attack another guest operating system. Cloud services are accessed from the Internet and so are vulnerable to attacks arising from Denial of Service or widespread infrastructure failure.

Traditional security protocols can also be successfully mapped to work in a cloud environment. For example Traditional physical controls such as firewalls, Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS), Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS), Network Access Control (NAC) products that ensure access control can continue to be critical components of the security architecture. However, these appliances no longer need to be a physical piece of hardware. A virtual firewall, like for example Cisco’s security gateway, performs the same functions of a physical firewall but has been virtualized to work with the hypervisor. This is catching on fast. Gartner researchers predict that by 2015, 40% of security controls in the data centers will be virtualized.

Moral of the cloud: You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to secure the cloud. But we need to keep talking – to wheel it differently.

Cloud Computing in 2020: More security, directory, identity, privacy, storage, computing

To put it simply, let’s just say More for less.

Caution: Take a deep breath before you proceed. And it’s ok to get scared or excited after a look at these figures.

Year 2020: The digital universe would be run by something like 40 trillion gigabytes of data. That’s what we could be creating, consuming and managing.

Now, figure out the math. Do we have the skills, experience and resources needed to manage all these data all the time through all networks and info-gateways? Nope. The resources we have will get less and lesser, even as they get more and more specialized. This is the scary part of the algorithm facing us.

Let’s cut to the chase and once and for all end the debate on cloud computing. The only way out is to have new, flexible and scalable IT infrastructure that extends beyond the enterprise, viz. cc.

Need any more data points to consider? An estimated 40% of all information in the digital universe will be “touched” by cloud computing in some way or the other, and probably 15% maintained in a cloud.

2020 will see not one cloud, but many clouds, and a migration to converged infrastructures, where servers, storage and networks are integrated together, and installed as a unit of IT infrastructure.

The three tipping points to plug in and play for cloud computing are safety, storage and ease of retrieval.

The corporate is easily convinced, whereas the consumer is a tough nut to crack. But the cloud has gained enough mass and momentum to be the new age choice for both the corporate and the consumer. The new Google Chromebook Pixel, says technology wizard Phaneesh Murthy, is “a truly groundbreaking new device” and “a potential game-changer for cloud-based computing” for both corporate IT as well as in personal computing.

Powered by the cloud, cutting edge and game-changing computing trends are already blowing in the wind. Just like how laptops felled the desktops and smart phones replaced the uni-dimensional traditional mobile phones, light-weight tablets and lean and mean personal computers are leveraging the best of cloud technology to take over the computing world.

Why carry stuff in stuff like pen drives and EHDs when you can access any data from anywhere? That’s the simple idea behind the cloud which is making our life simpler, more fulfilling and engaging.

It may sound funny but it’s hard to resist taking a jab: A little bit of “clouded thinking” can work wonders. It can level the playing field for little David against the Goliath, the giant. A small company, with a little bit of “clouded thinking” can fell Goliath who thinks “traditional”. A big traditional company may take pride in stocking up on computer hardware. But David cuts down on its IT costs, using the cloud by which it pays only for what it wants to use. And before you can understand why what happened, Goliath is history and David is the new big future.

Strip cloud computing off the clutter and the jargon, and what do you have? It’s the new big idea that’s drawing in ooh’s and aah’s from the IT community at the industry box office. Essentially, cloud computing is a pure play on the theme of utility computing, or software as a service (SaaS).

Computing will move to the cloud in newer and bigger ways, and more and more companies, large and small, are betting their new money on the “mainframes in the sky”, if not already.

With the sky opening out to the cloud, the sky is the limit for computing and for consumer experience. Computing is now served up as sauce if you please, over the internet and from vast warehouses of shared machines. Many companies are rapidly moving their applications into the cloud.

Web 2.0 offerings like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon’s raw computing power, Microsoft’s Azure and Google’s App Engine, Salesforce.com, Goople Apps, set the ball rolling for utility computing enabled by the cloud. At Microsoft, millions of customers including top brands like Coca Cola, McDonalds and GlaxoSmithKline, have signed up for using the cloud.

Oracle’s Larry Ellison who once dismissed cloud computing as “water vapour, nonsense, just a computer connected to a network” and “something we have done for more than ten years” must be wondering how he got the Oracle wrong. But big guns don’t always hit the target. Bill Gates was equally dismissive of mobile phones and look what happened.

The rules of engagement have changed. Yesterday software as a service delivered in the form of email, shared photographs, documents, was a beautifully disruptive idea. Today, moving away from “pure software” is the disruptive beast. And we better hurry. For 2020 is just a “few clouds” away…