Cloud computing is a style of computing in which virtualised and standard resources, software and data are provided as a service over the Internet.
Consumers and businesses can use the cloud to store data and applications and can interact with the Cloud using mobiles, desktop computers, laptops etc. via the Internet from anywhere and at any time.
The technology of Cloud computing entails the convergence of Grid and cluster computing, virtualisation, Web services and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) - it offers the potential to set IT free from the costs and complexity of its typical physical infrastructure, allowing concepts such as Utility Computing to become meaningful.
Key players include: IBM, HP, Google, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Salesforce.com, NetSuite, VMware.
Benefits of Cloud Computing:
- predictable any time, anywhere access to IT resources
- flexible scaling of resources (resource optimisation)
- rapid, request-driven provisioning
- lower total cost of operations
Risks and Challenges of Cloud computing include:
- security of data and data protection
- data privacy
- legal issues
- disaster recovery
- failure management and fault tolerance
- IT integration management issues
- business regulatory requirements
- SLA (service level agreement) management
Web services refers to software that provides a standardized way of integrating Web-based applications using the XML, SOAP, WSDL and UDDI open standards over the Internet.
Cloud computing [new for 2011]; virtualisation [new for 2011]; service-oriented architecture [new for 2011]; Internet; mobile computing; Grid computing; Web services; workstation clusters; file servers; network servers; business data processing; security of data; disasters; fault tolerant computing