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Cloud Computing by James F. Ransome, John W. Rittinghouse

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xxv
Introduction
The purpose of this book is to clear up some of the mystery surrounding the
topic of cloud computing. In order to understand how computing has
evolved, one must understand the evolution of computing from a historical
perspective, focusing primarily on those advances that led to the develop-
ment of cloud computing, such as the transition from mainframes to desk-
tops, laptops, mobile devices, and on to the cloud. We will also need to
discuss in some detail the key components that are critical to make the
cloud computing paradigm feasible with the technology available today. We
will cover some of the standards that are used or are proposed for use in the
cloud computing model, since standardization is crucial to achieving wide-
spread acceptance of cloud computing. We will also discuss the means used
to manage effectively the infrastructure for cloud computing. Significant
legal considerations in properly protecting user data and mitigating corpo-
rate liability will also be covered. Finally, we will discuss what some of the
more successful cloud vendors have done and how their achievements have
helped the cloud model evolve.
Over the last five decades, businesses that use computing resources have
learned to contend with a vast array of buzzwords. Much of this
geek-speak
or marketing vapor, over time, has been guilty of making promises that
often are never kept. Some promises, to be sure, have been delivered,
although others have drifted into oblivion. When it comes to offering tech-
nology in a
pay-as-you-use
services model, most information technology (IT)
professionals have heard it all—from allocated resource management to grid
computing, to on-demand computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS), to
utility computing. A new buzzword,
cloud computing,
is presently in vogue
in the marketplace, and it is generating all sorts of confusion about what it
actually represents.
Intro.fm Page xxv Friday, May 22, 2009 11:24 AM
xxvi Cloud Computing
What Is the Cloud?
The term
cloud
has been used historically as a metaphor for the Internet.
This usage was originally derived from its common depiction in network
diagrams as an outline of a cloud, used to represent the transport of data
across carrier backbones (which owned the cloud) to an endpoint location
on the other side of the cloud. This concept dates back as early as 1961,
when Professor John McCarthy suggested that computer time-sharing tech-
nology might lead to a future where computing power and even specific
applications might be sold through a utility-type business model.
1
This idea
became very popular in the late 1960s, but by the mid-1970s the idea faded
away when it became clear that the IT-related technologies of the day were
unable to sustain such a futuristic computing model. However, since the
turn of the millennium, the concept has been revitalized. It was during this
time of revitalization that the term
cloud
computing
began to emerge in tech-
nology circles.
The Emergence of Cloud Computing
Utility computing
can be defined as the provision of computational and stor-
age resources as a metered service, similar to those provided by a traditional
public utility company. This, of course, is not a new idea. This form of com-
puting is growing in popularity, however, as companies have begun to
extend the model to a cloud computing paradigm providing virtual servers
that IT departments and users can access on demand. Early enterprise
adopters used utility computing mainly for non-mission-critical needs, but
that is quickly changing as trust and reliability issues are resolved.
Some people think cloud computing is the next big thing in the world
of IT. Others believe it is just another variation of the utility computing
model that has been repackaged in this decade as something new and cool.
However, it is not just the buzzword “cloud computing” that is causing con-
fusion among the masses. Currently, with so few cloud computing vendors
actually practicing this form of technology and also almost every analyst
from every research organization in the country defining the term differ-
ently, the meaning of the term has become very nebulous. Even among
those who think they understand it, definitions vary, and most of those def-
initions are hazy at best. To clear the haze and make some sense of the new
1. http://computinginthecloud.wordpress.com/2008/09/25/utility-cloud-computingflashback-
to-1961-prof-john-mccarthy, retrieved 5 Jan 2009.
Intro.fm Page xxvi Friday, May 22, 2009 11:24 AM

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