With the exponential increase in data use that has accompanied society’s transition into the digital 21st century, it is becoming more and more difficult for individuals and organisations to keep all of their vital information, programs, and systems up and running on in-house computer servers. The solution to this problem has been around for nearly as long as the internet, but that has only recently gained widespread application for businesses. But before we look at cloud computing, let us take a closer look at the equivalent software and its features.
Cloud computing shares characteristics with the following:
Client-server computing refers broadly to any distributed application that distinguishes between service providers (servers) and service requestors (clients). In client-server computing, the clients request a resource, and the server provides that resource. A server may serve multiple clients simultaneously while a client is in contact with only one server. Both the client and server usually communicate via a computer network, but sometimes they may reside in the same system. The advantage of client-server computing is that the PC clients perform as “smart” terminals that can accomplish some share of the processing tasks. In most client-server networks, the server manages and stores the extensive database, extracts data from the database, and runs sizeable complex application programs.
A form of distributed and parallel computing whereby a ‘super and virtual computer’ is composed of a cluster of networked, loosely coupled computers acting in concert to perform very large tasks. Grid computing is a distributed architecture of multiple computers connected by networks to accomplish a joint task. These tasks are compute-intensive and difficult for a single machine to handle. Several machines on a network collaborate under a standard protocol and work as a single virtual supercomputer to get complex tasks done. This offers powerful virtualisation by creating a single system image that grants users and applications seamless access to IT capabilities.
Distributed computing paradigm that provides data, computing, storage and application services closer to the client or near-user edge devices, such as network routers. Furthermore, fog computing handles data at the network level, on smart devices and the end-user client-side (e.g. mobile devices), instead of sending data to a remote location for processing. This approach reduces the amount of data that needs to be sent to the cloud. Since the distance to be travelled by the data is reduced, it saves network bandwidth. Reduces the response time of the system. It improves the system’s overall security as the data resides close to the host. It provides better privacy as industries can perform analysis on their data locally. The host and the fog node may have congestion due to increased traffic (heavy data flow). Power consumption increases when another layer is placed between the host and the cloud. Scheduling tasks between the host and fog nodes, along with fog nodes and the cloud, is complex. Data management becomes tedious as, along with the data stored and computed, the transmission of data involves encryption-decryption too, which releases data.
The packaging of computing resources, such as computation and storage, as a metered service is similar to a traditional public utility, such as electricity. Utility computing is a subset of cloud computing, allowing users to scale up and down based on their needs. Clients, users, or businesses acquire amenities such as data storage space, computing capabilities, applications services, virtual servers, or even hardware rentals such as CPUs, monitors, and input devices. The potential disadvantage is reliability. If a utility computing company is in financial trouble or has frequent equipment problems, clients could get cut off from the services they’re paying for. Utility computing systems can also be attractive targets for hackers. A hacker might want to access services without paying or snoop around and investigate client files. Much of the responsibility of keeping the system safe falls to the provider.
A live, isolated computer environment in which a program, code or file can run without affecting the application in which it runs. The gist of most application sandbox approaches is to lower the systems privileges granted to that application to limit what kind of code it can ever execute on a system, even when the user permissions are elevated elsewhere on the machine. But sandboxing does not necessarily solve the vulnerability and exploit problem — an attacker must find a vulnerability that will escalate privileges to a higher level, permitting more exploit functionality. So-called “escaping” of the borders of the sandbox neutralises the security benefits of the containment method. Hackers can craft escaping attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in the sandbox or through social engineering if the privilege permissions are under the user’s control.
Given these options, it is difficult to determine which software is uniquely suited to your business demands. Several features put specific software ahead of cloud computing, but all with their drawbacks. However, cloud computing’s rising popularity ensures a space at the table for everyone.
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