Friday, April 19, 2013

Faces of Clouds

Cloud is a big thing these last few months. Just to clear some terms that is of interest and where even so called IT experts are not able to agree on. This means, that its my personal view based on resources published by industry experts.

3 items are of interest. The first, is naming of a cloud based on its deployment. Second, clouds can further be classified based on services it provide to users. And lastly, a case study. Think of your plan to build a cloud and how it would be shaped.

A) A cloud is named based on its location or deployment.

  1. Public - Applications, storage and services made available to the general public for free or for a fee.
  2. Private - For a single organisation and decisions made centrally on resources.
  3. Community - Shared infrastructure having several organisation with specific interest that is managed internally or by a 3rd party.
  4. Hybrid - Combination of either Public, Private or Community, or all three.

B) A cloud can then be named based on its services.

  1. IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)
    1. Users install own operating system and maintain its own patches, IP addresses. - Rackspace, Amazon EC2.
    2. Users can leverage resources to sell as a service provider to their clients.
  2. PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service)
    1. Run your own application on a provider's platform
    2. Develop on a provider's platform - Google AppEngine, Oracle Cloud Platform, OpenShift.
  3. SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)
    1. Full web application - E.g. Googledocs, SalesForce, Gmail
    2. Web services (consumed by other web application) - GoogleMaps API, PayPal

C) A case study

How would you shape a cloud based on above (A) and (B) for following situation?
Lets say a government wants to setup a TeleHealth cloud. It allows any application for hospitals, clinics and government. Some of these applications are built and some bought. Geographically users are very dispersed throughout the country. 

A) Community
Why? Organisations apart from the Ministry of Health, clinics and hospitals would also include 3rd party resources for pharmaceutical, research, assets, payments.

B) PaaS

  1. By providing one or two standard platforms, all development can be better managed. Deployed applications can be made to meet security and other standards set.
  2. Many new applications/web services can be introduced by users. 

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