The main idea of cloud computing (CC) appeared in 1960. John McCarthy with his team suggested that in nearest future computer calculations would be made using “public utilities”. He believed that the ideology of CC has gained popularity since 2007 due to the rapid development of the Internet structure with communication channels and the rapidly growing needs of users.
Under cloud computing is usually meant providing the user with computer resources and capacities in the form of the Internet service. Thus, the computing resources are provided to the user in a “pure” form, and the user may not know which computers are processing his requests, which operating system is controlled, etc.
Often clouds are compared to mainframes, finding a lot in common between them. The main difference between the cloud and the mainframe is that its computing power is theoretically unlimited. The second fundamental difference is that, in simple terms, mainframe terminals served only for interactive user interaction with the task launched for processing. In the cloud, the terminal itself is a powerful computing device capable of not only accumulating intermediate information but also directly managing the global system of computing resources.
Among the earlier emerging (in the 1990s) data processing technologies, so-called grid computations have become somewhat widespread. This direction was originally considered as an opportunity to use the free resources of processors and the development of a voluntary system for renting computing power. A number of projects have proved that such a model of computation is quite effective. Today, this technology is used to solve scientific, mathematical problems, where significant computational resources are required. It is known that grid computing is also used for commercial purposes. For example, they use some laborious tasks related to economic forecasting, analysis of seismic data, development, and study of the properties of vaccines and new drugs. Indeed, grid computing and clouds have many similarities in architecture and applied principles. Nevertheless, the cloud computing model is considered more promising today thanks to a much more flexible platform for working with remote computing resources.
At present, large computing clouds consist of thousands of servers located in data centers (data centers). They provide resources for tens of thousands of applications that are simultaneously used by millions of users. Cloud technologies are a convenient tool for businesses that are too expensive to maintain their own ERP, CRM or other servers that require the purchase and configuration of additional equipment.
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is an organizational strategy for integrating production and operations, managing human resources, financial management and asset management, focused on the continuous balancing and optimization of enterprise resources through a specialized integrated application software package that provides a common data and process model for all spheres of activity of the enterprise.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management), that is, application software designed to automate customer interaction strategies (customers), in particular, to increase sales, optimize marketing and improve customer service by storing customer information and the history of relations with them, the establishment and improvement of business procedures and the subsequent analysis of the results.
Among private users, such cloud services, such as those provided by Google (“Docs”, “Calendar”, etc.), are gradually gaining widespread acceptance due to their convenience.
The reasons for the increasing popularity of cloud technologies are understandable: the possibilities of using them are very diverse and allow saving both on maintenance and personnel, and on the infrastructure. Hardware can be greatly simplified when processing data and storing information in remote data centers. All these problems are almost completely shifted to the service provider.
In addition, this approach allows you to standardize the software, even if different operating systems are installed on the company’s computers (Windows, Linux, MacOS, etc.). Cloud technologies make it easy to provide access to the company’s data both for customers and for their own employees who are out of the office, but who can connect via the Internet.
It is clear that the use of cloud computing is much more convenient. The most important shortcoming, which can be immediately noticed, is the complete dependence on the supplier of these services. In fact, the enterprise (user) is hostage to the provider of services and the provider of Internet access. Although the reliability of cloud computing vendors is increasing, reliable efforts are required to ensure the reliability and security of data, for example, to have duplicate communication channels, duplicate power to switch to them and, of course, to think about the availability of information and security. In addition, cloud computing is completely inappropriate for enterprises related to state and military secrecy. No commission will issue a certificate for such a system when working with information that is not subject to disclosure.
Modern cloud technologies are not only used in the finished network and server equipment, but also gradually penetrate into the embedded market and cause a large-scale restructuring of the market. The introduction of embedded systems leads to the placement of computer processors in products such as energy consumption meters, intelligent sensors, M2M modules, cars, household appliances, etc. This allows you to manage the operation of devices, collect data and provide interactive capabilities by connecting to a computer network.
The idea of connecting all kinds of devices to the global network is called the Internet of Things (IoT). According to Kevin Dallas, general manager of Microsoft Windows Embedded, the idea of the Internet of things has existed for many years, but for its implementation there was not enough one link to build such a network – the clouds.
As the number of embedded computers increases due to lower prices for processors and the ubiquitous spread of the Internet, the volumes of transmitted data are also growing, followed by their processing (often in real time). Therefore, we can assume that in the coming years the role of the Internet of things and cloud computing will increase.