A cloud system or cloud computing technology refers to the computing components (hardware, software and infrastructure) that enable the delivery of cloud computing services such as: SaaS (software as a service), PaaS (platform as a service) and IaaS (infrastructure as service) via a network (i.e. the Internet). Cloud system users access computing services using web browsers, which represents a computing model that shifts the computing workload to a remote location. Internet based email applications are a prime example of a cloud system that provides a platform for the delivery electronic messaging services. Cloud computing is also sometimes referred to as utility computing, since consumer usage of cloud systems is metered and billed in a manner similar to a commodity like water or electric services.
There are two key elements at the core of cloud computing technology, which are: SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) and cloud virtualization, which are described in further detail below:
- SOA Architecture – this element of cloud technology allows organizations to access cloud based computing solutions with features that can be modified on demand, as business needs change. Service Oriented Architecture allows independent web services to communicate with each other via the Internet in real time, providing the flexibility that is required to rapidly reconfigure the service delivery for a specific cloud computing offering. SOA places the responsibility and costs of development, deployment and maintenance of web service components on the web services provider, which allows a web services consumer to access various web services with out the expense or overhead that is associated with traditional methods of IT services delivery. SOA is a powerful technological component of cloud computing because it facilitates centralized distribution and component reuse, which significantly drives down the cost of software development and delivery.
- Cloud Virtualization is another important aspect of a cloud system that facilitates the efficient delivery of cloud computing services. The implementation of virtual computing resources in the cloud, that mimic the functionality of physical computing resources, serves as a flexible load balancing management tool that allows for the swift adjustment of computing services delivery on demand. Virtualization technology provides organizations with a tool that promotes high levels of availability, scalability and reliability; in terms of the cloud systems or cloud computing technology that an enterprise can access to meet its information technology needs. Virtualization is also a very important component of cloud computing technology for the purposes of disaster recovery and fail-over support.
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