Professor Martha Tilmann
16 April 2014
1. Cloud Computing Defined
Cloud computing is defined to be the use of computer programs and applications, to access information, storage, that is not stored locally on a computer’s hard drive, but rather over the Internet. There are five defining characteristics to cloud computing.
Cloud computing allows users to have almost no interaction with the service provider. For example, when we use Google Drive, a web application similar to Microsoft Office, we can do so without ever having to contact the service provider, Google.
The second characteristic of cloud computing is resource pooling. A computer company such as Google can own a powerful computer such as the mainframe or cluster of those and “rent” processing power and/or storage space to people or companies that may not have the infrastructure or may need to supplement their existing infrastructure. These customers can use the storage space to store files when their own hard drives have been filled up or use as a server for running programs.
In cloud computing, customers can “rent” resources off a computer company’s mainframe. Sometimes, the customer “renting” space from the service provider may request for more resources such as faster response, more memory, RAM, or storage space. In such cases, the service provider can quickly and easily allocate the necessary resources to the customer in need.
The fourth characteristic of cloud computing is broad network access. The applications that are available through cloud services are accessible through a variety of devices and locations, allowing users to access applications through various types of storage not limited to the local hard drive. Furthermore, with cloud computing, users can access applications from any type of network such as a corporate private network or the Internet, making programs available virtually anywhere.
Finally, cloud computing allows the service provider to monitor usage of the computer resources such as processors, storage, and usage of applications. This ability allows customers to determine whether or not they need to adjust the amount of resources they are “renting”. It also allows the service provider to measure utilization for billing purposes, similar to PG&E charging customers for the usage of gas and electricity.
2. Historical Timeline for Cloud Computing
The history of cloud computing goes back to 1960 when J.C.R. Licklider introduced the idea of a network that the whole world could connect to and access data from. This “network” he mentioned is the idea that developed into the modern-day Internet, which cloud computing is based upon. Similarly, John McCarthy, another figure of the 1960s, believed that computing of the future would be a public utility, as was the telephone system. Those ideas did not take flight until the 1990s, when high-bandwidth connection across networks became possible. In...