Here a cloud, there a cloud, everywhere a cloud cloud!
THAT could well be a technocrat’s funny take on the popular children’s rhyme ‘Old MacDonald’. But it is definitely not far from how ubiquitous cloud services have become in the contemporary world.
Cloud computing might sound like a noveau concept, but the truth is that its origin can be traced back to the 1950s when companies started experimenting with distributed computing. It soon graduated to mainframe, cluster and then grid computing before leapfrogging into virtualisation in the 1980s.
In fact, virtualisation was a gamechanger when it came to cloud computing. The creation of a virtual layer over physical allowed users to run multiple programs simultaneously. The other significant pivot came in the early 2000s with the entry of Web 2.0. Suddenly static web pages became more interactive, dynamic and flexible. Data and apps had to be processed in real-time, which gave cloud computing a massive fillip.
The Many Facets Of Cloud
The thrust that cloud computing got during the pandemic has seen many enterprises increasingly earmark a larger part of their annual IT budget for cloud offerings and capabilities. However, even before COVID-19 struck, many companies were already banking on public clouds to share their resources globally while maintaining its privacy.
These resources, which often include the hardware, software and associated infrastructure, are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider like Microsoft, Azure and delivered over the internet. This growth is unsurprising since public cloud has low asset costs for companies where they only pay for the service they use, without having to worry about the upkeep of the infrastructure either.
Private clouds like HP Data Centers are an internal computing network for selective users within an organization. The best analogy for this is a gated community with a strong security perimeter in and muscled watch guards manning all entry and exit points.
Next up is the hybrid cloud environment, which takes elements of public and private cloud environments and fuses it with on-premises infrastructure to create a centralized, distributed computing environment. Companies like IBM provide this win-win offering to enterprises, allowing them to run their legacy or cloud-native workloads with equal ease.
And then there is edge computing, which basically means running fewer processes in the cloud and shifting as many to a network’s edge. By bringing it to local levels like a user’s computer or an IoT device, it reduces the long-distance communication between a client and server, thus bringing down latency and improving performance.
What’s Up In The Clouds
The definition of cloud computing has changed with ease, accessibility and scalability emerging as distinguishing attributes. This means that companies are constantly seeking cloud environments that will work best for their applications, rather than force fitting things the other way around. A hybrid cloud architecture circumvents the prohibitive switching costs associated with shifting vendors. It also provides companies with a fail-safe option in case a vendor breaches their SLAs and provides them with a choice of service providers best suited for each workload. Edge computing will also become more predominant in the future and are likely to become a lot more influential. 5G’s rollout has already given network connectivity a massive boost, and now technocrats will be hard pressed to add AI and ML to applications to respond to user queries faster.
All Hands-On AI
ChatGPT’s debut has brought one phrase on everyone’s lips generative AI. Needless to say, it has found its place in cloud management too. As cloud environments become more complex, generative AI can chip in to automate regular tasks like resource allocation and bandwidth management. There are many areas where AI can come in handy in the cloud environment. However, the biggest challenge is that many technocrats are still unsure how to leverage it, especially as it gets more sophisticated with each passing week. Nonetheless, it is undeniable that when the cloud and AI come together, they can jointly go a long way in democratizing technology and making it more prevalent across the ecosystem.
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