Cloud computing

Cloud computing

In today’s information technology driven world, where all aspects of the operations of society have migrated themselves into the most modern forms of technology, it is essential to understand such technology offerings and the abilities and advantages that it may be able to bring to the market. In fact — although of course information technology and its various developments do indeed benefit society as a whole — perhaps the most profitable avenues for the integration of such technology and the use of these methods fall under the category of small and medium enterprises and starting businesses. In the past, only large multinational corporations who were able to gather large investments in capital were able to make use of technology offerings — those that have been so expensive for the regular small and medium business owner — and are able to take advantage even up to the point that they were able to form themselves into a monopoly power and receive monopoly profits and economic grants for such availability of investments. Today, this has changed significantly, and this paper would be describing and facing the various issues and problems of the most modern form of information technology that is available not only to large corporations — and even small and medium enterprises and businesses — but also to the general consumer population as a whole. This technology is cloud computing technology.

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It is the objective of this paper to be able to have an operating a working definition for what cloud computing technology is. If such definitions, we need to be able to make sure that the definition would fit not only from the perspective of a technology viewer but also from the point of view of a general consumer and small business owner in order for the definition of an operational value and said that it may be understandable to the general population. Also, another objective of this paper is to discuss the various companies and organizations that are providing cloud computing services. Yet another objective of this paper is to discuss what should consumers and customers take into consideration when looking at cloud computing services. Also, towards the end, the paper would also be addressing very specific case studies and issues relating to cloud computing technology not only so that such problems and issues may be discussed, but also as a way in order to clarify the availability of such technology in the market and what benefits one could be able to derive of modifying the case study to individual needs. In the conclusion of this paper, the future of cloud computing technology would be taken into consideration and various costs and benefits scenarios would be studied in order to make a judgment on whether or not the present state of cloud computing technology is already a tool that could be integrated and use into businesses all over the world — as well as consumers who have the respective need for such services — or whether it is still an infant technology and should still be reviewed and research upon so that further applications may be made to consumers in the future.

In order to perform such objectives, the paper would be using various references and resources that are available online. However, in order to prevent misinformation or the invalidity of these references, the paper shall be using online academic journals were fulltext articles are viewable so that understanding and the discussing of cloud computing technology and its impact to the modern consumer market may be more analytical, critical, and have references and literature that are valid for an academic research study.

Having indicated the parameters for this paper, he could not perform the task that it has assigned to which is the discussion of such issues and the addressing of the objectives that have been highlighted above.

As already had been indicated earlier, consumers and businesses alike usually integrate the most modern form of technology into their operations — whatever purpose they may serve. Sometimes these kinds of technologies are adapted specifically to address specific problems, and sometimes such technologies are widely available and patterned and programmed in a general form so that individuals, organizations, and businesses may be able to adapt their operations towards their specific needs. An example of the former could be applications such as popular video games. An example of the latter are the revolutions of open source technology and the open-source operating systems of Linux. However, whatever the kind of technology, as long as the benefits outweigh the costs — factors which shall be discussed later on in this paper — consumers would be adapting them. Today, the most modern form of technology are the various modifications and services that the Internet offers. Although as compared to any other technological revolution that the human race has experienced over the millennia — the printing press, the Industrial Revolution, electricity, and so forth — it is still young, the modern consumer Internet is estimated to be only about 13 years and counting, many such services have been distributed and made available to consumers wherever such Internet access is available. In the past, before the integration and ubiquity of such devices such as desktop computers, laptop computers, and mobile phones, such services indeed useful had only been marginally popular and address a specific population. Today, however, as a specific section of this paper would discuss, because the lowering of costs of devices that could access the Internet — cheap mobile phones, inexpensive laptops, Intel atom powered devices such as netbooks — a new innovation in the Internet has seen the light and that is cloud computing.

Cloud computing, define, is a method in Internet computing which integrates its operations in a virtual environment and uses virtual resources that are provided by a company, organization, or a specific service, and made available over the Internet. Cloud computing are basically applications that are available online and could be used by whatever target market and customer such companies have adopted the user interface of the technology, and is widely available to individuals that have Internet access (Ranadive, Kesavan, Gavrilovska, ; Schwan, 2008). Also, another essential quality of cloud computing technology is that the users and target customers that would be making use of the said technology do not necessarily need to have expertise or knowledge of the cloud computing technology which they should be using — we’re in their knowledge of the operations of such technologies are only constrained to the basic applications and methods of use in order to achieve the objectives such availability of technology has made. Yet another quality of cloud computing is that although there may be minimal applications that are installed in individual computers and machines, many of the operations and hardware and operational requirements are installed in machines that are part of the cloud end-users are able to make use of such applications using only the minimal resources that are required which are installed in their specific machines or, recently, making use only of their browsers — again browsers that have no general classification of the various available browsers in the market today. Also, as per definition, although some cloud computing services require payments, the consumers who are making payments do not necessarily were generally owned the infrastructure and machinery that are made available by the service. The costs that they pay are considered to be the rent to the owners of the third-party providers and ate only for the resources that they are making use of.

However, a strict technical definition of what cloud computing is the only take the reader of this paper so far. What this paper would like to do, then, is to propose and indicate the various companies and the respective services they provide to cloud computing technology and the modern market to derive examples and be able to further capture and understand what cloud computing is.

One of the most popular examples of cloud computing technology are they products that are offered by Google and Zoho. Respectively, they are named Google Documents and Zoho Office. According to researchers popular applications and their use by consumers, the most popular and what remains to be the most essential software and applications in the modern information technology are the availability of office applications in their desktops. This is the reason that has made Microsoft office so popular over the years — it has been the de facto application use in order to create Word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and even databases. Recently, a handful of competitors such as OpenOffice by Sun Microsystems has also paved the way for office and document creation and editing because of the fact that it is available under the open source license. This fact has been recognized by Internet companies such as Zoho and Google and had therefore created an online application in order to save, create, modify, and manipulate office documents that were first only available for word processing and has now migrated to spreadsheets and presentations (Dyer, Cordova, Mont, & Lin, 2008). The difference between the traditional office applications and those that are offered in the cloud computing version is that such services did not need to have the installations into devices — they could be used by relatively low powered devices and even mobile phones. Such a service, because it exists in the Internet under a cloud computing architecture, also has the advantage of availability of being able to make use of such applications wherever there is Internet access. Although modern proliferation of laptops have been made available to a wide array of consumer demographics, the fact could not be ignored that a large number of individuals still do not own their own computers because of the associated costs. Therefore, this consumers usually make use of computers for document creation and manipulation using various devices including those found in Internet cafés and office locations. The availability of Google Documents and Zoho Office for such a need has made it so popular that recent innovations are pointing towards off-line access of such cloud computing technologies even when users are disconnected from the Internet — synchronizing such documents immediately when the browser goes online. Also, another advantage that such applications and cloud computing architecture gives to users of office applications is that because it exists in the Internet, Google may be able to continuously improve the services without the associated costs of upgrades and the time required in order to deliver service packs and modify products to consumers which have traditionally been a problem of off-line and stand-alone office applications installed in computers.

In fact, just another example of cloud computing technology that we as Internet users have traditionally taken for granted are the e-mail services that are provided by web-based providers such as Google, Yahoo — the most popular e-mail service provider — Microsoft, and a host of other companies. Although it may be hard to remember, once upon a time before the proliferation of the Internet, e-mail has traditionally been stored locally on various dedicated devices of individuals and companies. Today, the advantage of such web-based e-mail technology is that first, most of them are free. Second, it is available wherever there is Internet access, third, other office and off-line e-mail solutions could also be synchronized through e-mail protocols such as Pop3 and IMAP. Also, again, because it belongs to the cloud and is available online and manipulate it in the Internet, other interactive technologies and the advantages that we have indicated above and instigation of operations of office cloud computing technology is also present in such e-mail systems (Thompson, 2008). The virtualized environment of e-mail and messaging — because it is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, use the Internet today, as eventually migrated to the cloud architecture in order for it to be more efficient. Today, e-mail access is not even constrained to computers alone because of the requirements of its operations being only the browser. The fact that it has been made available in a cloud architecture where minimum system resources are required from the point of view of the user has made it possible for e-mail to be accessed through a number of devices such as mobile phones and even recently music and entertainment players that have the availability to connect to wireless Internet services like Apple’s iPod touch.

Another popular company and product that may be close to the heart either of tech savvy consumers or even regular day-to-day technology users is the connectivity of Apple’s iPhone or the many other mobile phone technologies that allow for Internet access and data communications such as the, Siemens, Sony Ericsson. One must remember that these devices, although perhaps the most cutting edge in mobile communication and technology, are relatively low powered as compared to their other relatives such as the desktop and lots of computers. As a result, a significant barrier of operations and software applications have been posed by the technology where developers and manufacturers need to develop and release to the popular market separates software modifications — usually software modifications that are extremely underpowered — so that it may run on the stairs processor powers and memory modules of such mobile phones. A solution that the cloud computing architecture and technology that has been provided in such consumer markets is that because most of these mobile phones have data access and web browsers preinstalled, many applications are not anymore installed directly into the devices but are rather manipulate in such a way that their operations and access is dependent only upon the operations of the browser and the processing power required in order to operate them are in a third-party and manufacturer headquarters. In fact, many of the applications of the iPhone which have become so popular today belong to cloud computing technology and architecture. Other than web browsers, the most popular applications for mobile phones are the navigation and map software provided again by Yahoo, Google, and a host of other companies (Motahari-Nezhad, Stephenson, & Singhal, 2009). Satellite images of maps and locations require terabytes of data that could not conceivably fit a single consumer computer much more a mobile phone with limited memory. However, because its operations and data belonged to the cloud and these terabytes of data are assigned to other locations where consumers of such devices may be able to call upon them by request to the service providers, it is now possible to use a mobile phone device in order to navigate in whatever city or country you are as long as you have data access Internet technology.

There are a host of other companies — in fact many of the most popular Internet companies today belong to the cloud computing architecture — that this paper may be able to identify and discuss. However, because of the limitations of space, the paper would then constrain itself to the examples and services that have been identified above. An Internet search on the most popular consumer websites would, in one way or another, as per definition, offer a cloud computing architecture made available to consumers.

As had been identified above, an objective that this paper wishes to address is from the point of view of consumers and customers of the use and manipulation of cloud technology for their own respective purposes. The question is what should customers and consumers take into consideration when looking at these various services that are offered.

Of course, one of the issues that have been raised by those making use of biotechnology is the availability of the Internet and devices that access such technology. Because of the fact that the cloud architecture recites online, not being able to have Internet access is definitely a barrier in order to use such services. This may not be so much a problem for local consumers and customers in first world countries that stay in their specific cities and locations when doing such work and accessing various information. However, especially considering the fact that today’s labor is extremely mobile depending on the nature of the work, it is almost impossible to have a reliable Internet connection when one travels from a rural to an urban location not only in first world countries but also in Third World countries and developing economy cities as well. For example, journalists and photographers who have made use of cloud computing technology in order to collaborate, create, and modify various reports and documents have found it difficult to make use of cloud-based office and document solutions especially when traveling abroad and when they are assignments are in far-flung areas.

The availability of the Internet and a device in order to access such information off the cloud must be taken consideration by customers depending on the nature of their work and their use.

Another criticism and issued that is facing cloud computing technology are the issues of security and fault. Security and privacy remains to be one of the most important factors in today’s data-driven information Society. Even from the point of view of individual customers and consumers who say personal information, data, and works on cloud servers — and even sure it’s large multinational corporations who say extremely classified documents and information for use in daily operations, computing technology as the issue of security involved. Although it may be true that such large corporations and companies that offer cloud technology and architecture for documents and data access have guaranteed security measures and encryption technologies, this may only be fit especially for consumers who are able to trust such security technologies and have a relatively low risk especially in the case of data leak (de Leusse, Periorellis, Dimitrakos, ; Watson, 2008). However, for companies and organizations who have higher risk data and information, cloud computing architecture and technology at the popular consumer markets such as Google and Yahoo may not be so secure. In this case, such companies may be able to implement a cloud computing method for environment such as a virtual private network further on specific purpose by modifying such networks with security protocols and miniatures in which they are able to be confident in. Also, it is important to consider that before services are entered into the popular consumer market, hordes of security risk analysts and testers continuously find holes, and backdoors, to such applications and services so that they are continuously updated with respect to security measures. However, because of the digital age live in and skill is a knowledge premium that belongs to anyone who wishes to infiltrate such data and information, having such information in a digital copy and in a cloud architecture creates a two-step security issue and security risk no matter from what perspective on looks upon. In fact, just carrying a flash drive in one’s pocket with all the essential and relevant security information and details is a ready a security risk on its own. Therefore, perhaps services that best fit the cloud computing environment or services for low risk document and information manipulation such as those belonging to documents, spreadsheets, and databases that are relatively low risk. Also, popular consumer images — a use of cloud computing environment such as Flickr — because it be integrated into the cloud computing technology especially considering the fact that many of such images are not security issues in the 1st Pl. because of the intrinsic desire of their authors to share and be made widely available piece products to the general Internet population. In fact, almost any kind of service where virtualization can be achieved can be a service that best fits the cloud infrastructure model not only from the point of view of consumers but also for private cloud architecture users as well.

There are two kinds of cost implications and cost issues that must be taken into consideration in cloud computing technology. The first is by the use of general consumers of available cloud computing services that have been released to the public by existing technology firms such as Google, Yahoo, Amazon, and the like. The second cost consideration is that it’s a private corporation or company would like to implement cloud computing technology for their own private use because of a certain advantages that have already been indicated above in this paper and has been indicated by many other research and literature on the topic.

If they need more business wishes to make use of cloud computing technology that is already provided by the manufacturers and companies that we have already indicated, then the cost implications that would eventually be faced are those of subscription for the costs that are charged by these companies. For document processing, spreadsheet feeling, image sharing, and the many other fairly constant services, they are usually available free of charge. However, especially for corporate accounts where further value added services are integrated into the cloud computing architecture of these companies, firms usually charge an extra or a premium in order for users to be able to make use of such available services. This cost implication may either fall under the category of overhead or variable costs depending on the kind of service premium charges that these companies integrate into the use of their services. For example, cloud computing architecture for project management and data hosting is usually free for the first two to 5 GB of data. This is actually ideal for personal or small and medium enterprise use. However, if a large company wishes to migrate its data or services towards a cloud computing environment, then the cost implications would be depending on what these services charge for this premium. Depending on the kind of operations, companies may be able to make a cost-benefit analysis at the usability of this interface and the costs that are associated with their use. However, as many have found out, especially for these kinds of template and constant services, companies usually see that the value added and benefits that they derive — of course considering the various security reasons and implications into the function of decision-making and risk — are within the general framework of acceptability (Klems, Nimis, & Tai, 2009).

However, especially if a company would institute a cloud computing architecture specifically from its own hardware, the costs would only cover the benefits if the company is a large corporation which makes use of such a cloud computing architecture every day depending on the kinds of demands that is faced by its production function. Such cost implications would be beneficial only if the costs would of course be less than the benefits. However, economics and management teaches us about the cost of that are implied for such use of a cloud computing architecture is not necessarily only the assets or accounting cost. Especially in the migration of new kinds of services, where in human resources and other employees would eventually have to learn these new services in order to make use of them for the production of the business, the opportunity cost of learning curve must be integrated into the function of computing costs. In the definition of a cloud computing architecture environment, the user interface is virtualized and many of its operations are fairly associated with low learning curve’s and costs because their environments are constantly the graphical user interfaces of other such software. In fact, if a company is to institute its own cloud computing architecture for its production function, then adapting a specified user interface where in its operations is similar to the previous applications and previous software that human resources and importance use significantly lowered the learning curves and learning costs that are associated to migration.

Another objective of the state for is to address the issue of the question if a company wanted to move all their services to the cloud computing architecture. Obviously, there are risks associated especially if all services and data are migrated into such a method. Usually, companies that had already make use of a cloud environment for their data and operations have a specific backup in the case that such architecture and framework fails to meet the demands. Remember that a cloud computing environment when instituting into an actual operational framework would be another step towards a risk assessment function because if previous operations and software applications are dedicated to personal machines, and they’re already risks such as hardware failure, connectivity, and other such problematic variables that are involved into its operations, instituting a cloud computing environment for all services would again be another step toward such risk and would provide another bottleneck for the failure of such services. However, again, from the point of view of costs, to answer the question of moving all services of a specific company towards the car computing environment, one must address the fact that there is economy such scale that occurs within such operations (Lohr ; Helft, 2007). This means that although the initial hardware and operation — as well as opportunity costs — are extremely high especially for companies that would institute immediate migration of data and services. However, once this capital and overhead initial cost is addressed, a cloud computing architecture and framework reflects economies of scale that would make it cheaper to continue such operations especially in the integration of other services. Graphing and modeling such an economic production function with such cloud computing environment, the visualization of the model is that the constant is fairly high but the derivative and marginal costs versus the marginal benefits would be low for migrating other services. However, this issue is only applicable if the company is to institute its own hardware for a cloud computing environment and not make use of other services that are provided by other manufacturers and other companies. In that contrary case, the costs would all belong to variable costs and no economies of scale would be achieved because each provider of cloud computing environment and methods would charge fairly constant even though their costs also reflect economies of scale. This is actually a very good profit model from the point of view of that service providers for third-party cloud computing environments but are costly especially in the long run for companies that would be making use of such third-party services. However, Internet search on the subject also reveals that especially for corporate accounts that make use of large-scale production of cloud computing services by other third-party manufacturers such as Sun Microsystems, discounts and benefits are delivered for corporate accounts and those clients where large-scale production is implemented. For small and medium enterprises, however, the issue remains the same at least from the perspective of cost

perhaps, either from the perspective of a small and medium enterprise and even to a large corporation, the ideal situation is to first implement and migrate a specific and particular service towards the cloud computing architecture either through addressing and making use of third-party services or investing in hardware for implementation of such use. There are specific advantages that could come up using this approach. First, as has already been indicated earlier in the discussion of costs, although the initial costs are high, implementing all services towards a cloud computing environment immediately without first a test subject board test service might be disasters from the point of view of costs because of the learning curve required. Especially in the fast-paced way that modern business operate where time is money, immediately migrating all services might result in the non-operability — or even the less than efficient operations — of a specific business. On the other hand, migrating a specific service in order for testing may provide a valuable laboratory for making use of a cloud environment for future implementations.

Also, another benefit that can be identified in implementing only a particular service towards a cloud computing architecture is that it is not necessarily so that all aspects of operations of a firm require cloud architecture and access to the Internet for human resources and employees. Although such services may be valuable to news agencies, information systems, and the like, many other businesses and firms today do not necessarily need to migrate all data and operations — as well as customer services — in a cloud environment. Firms may be able to significantly reap the benefits from learning, operation, and the benefits have not instituting too much capital and investment on a cloud architecture for the whole system is indeed beneficial at least from the perspective of business operations (Nurmi et al., 2008).

Cloud computing, has had a ready been identified, is an extremely valuable technology especially in today’s modern world of business and operations for small and medium enterprises and large corporations. Indeed, there are issues such as cost, operations, learning, and other various variables that must be taken into consideration as had been identified and discussed in this paper (Armbrust et al., 2009). However, the present state of cloud computing technology, although has not reached its full maturity — in fact what technology has already done so especially in modern improvements and continues applications of methodological architectures for computer systems and information technology — but could provide a viable solution for many of the problems in today’s business operations. In fact, at least from the perspective of economics and the free market theory, if it is not yet that decision, then why are so many companies, individuals, and enterprises making use of cloud computing methods for accessing data and even facilitating human resource interaction without bits of the firm. The future of cloud computing could even reach towards a ubiquitous integration with many of the other hardware in the information technology market today and not just to specific devices that are capable — although this is already fairly a small issue because the basic construction of the cloud computing environment already fits this model and addresses this issue. However, perhaps future developments of cloud adoption may be seen, at the least from the modern perspective, it is already a ready alternative — or even a first choice — for many companies today.


All references are peer-reviewed journals that are available for online access

Armbrust, M., Fox, A., Griffith, R., Joseph, A. D., Katz, R. H., Konwinski, A., et al. (2009). Above the clouds: A Berkeley view of cloud computing. EECS Department, University of California, Berkeley, Tech. Rep. UCB/EECS-2009-28.

Dyer, C., Cordova, A., Mont, A., ; Lin, J. (2008). Fast, easy, and cheap: Construction of statistical machine translation models with MapReduce. In Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Statistical Machine Translation at ACL (pp. 199–207).

Klems, M., Nimis, J., ; Tai, S. (2009). Do clouds compute? a framework for estimating the value of cloud computing. In Seventh Workshop on E-Business (WeB2008), Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing (LNBIP). Springer Verlag, to appear.

de Leusse, P., Periorellis, P., Dimitrakos, T., ; Watson, P. (2008). An Architecture for Non Functional Properties Management in Distributed Computing. In 3rd International Conference on Software and Data Technologies (ICSOFT 2008).

Lohr, S., ; Helft, M. (2007). Google gets ready to rumble with Microsoft. New York Times, 16.

Motahari-Nezhad, H. R., Stephenson, B., ; Singhal, S. (2009). Outsourcing Business to Cloud Computing Services: Opportunities and Challenges. Technical Report HPL-2009-23.

Nurmi, D., Wolski, R., Grzegorczyk, C., Obertelli, G., Soman, S., Youseff, L., et al. (2008). The eucalyptus open-source cloud-computing system. Proceedings of Cloud Computing and Its Applications.

Ranadive, A., Kesavan, M., Gavrilovska, A., ; Schwan, K. (2008). Performance implications of virtualizing multicore cluster machines. In Proceedings of the 2nd workshop on System-level virtualization for high performance computing (pp. 1–8).

Thompson, J. (2008). Don’t be afraid to explore Web 2.0. Phi Delta Kappan, 89(10), 711.

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