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Recent Developments in Cloud Computing

Computing in the cloud is definitely the future

Cloud computing continues to hold a great deal of promise for a variety of business and personal implementations. A lot of buzz has been generated this year with regards to the potential of cloud-based applications and web services as well as a few recent developments that highlight the direction in which the cloud computing phenomenon is moving.

1. The Emergence of Private and Hybrid Clouds.
Cloud computing becomes more attractive to businesses as companies are able to create their own private clouds, as well as hybrid clouds, and clouds including private and public space. As businesses realize that private and hybrid clouds can be built to the company's specifications, cloud computing becomes a more valued asset to the enterprise.

Several organizations have moved into the private and hybrid cloud space in recent years. OpenStack is a highly customizable, open source cloud infrastructure developed by Rackspace in conjunction with NASA in 2010. OpenStack enables businesses to build clouds according to their unique specifications. Similar products include Nimbula. This organization has developed an infrastructure similar to Amazon's EC3 environment. Nimbula is a proprietary cloud-based environment that may be implemented in a corporate data center. Nimbula provides a fully automated process for the creation of a private corporate cloud.

Over the next several years, the implementation of private and hybrid clouds within the enterprise is expected to experience exponential growth.

2. Standards Are Swiftly Developing.
As cloud computing has developed over the past couple of years, organizations are divergent in terms of standards and the interoperability of cloud systems. A movement toward standardization has begun with the formation of the consortium named the Cloud Standards Coordination Working Group. The group's goal is to develop standards in cloud computing infrastructures with regards to security, data exchange and other issues to prevent the splintering of specifications that has happened in other areas of computing in the past.

3. Awareness of the Weaknesses of Cloud Computing Have Been Addressed
During its evolution, cloud computing was touted as the answer to many business and personal computing limitations. However, recent occurrences have highlighted the weaknesses that exist in cloud computing environments:

  • Cloud computing still uses physical servers that are susceptible to interruptions and infiltrations.
    Amazon's EC3 cloud computing environment was knocked offline again in June of 2012. The system was down for a few hours until the necessary repairs could be completed. The incident highlighted the fact that cloud computing still utilizes physical servers in a data center. These servers, as well as the location in which they live, are susceptible to weather conditions and power outages.
    A similar incident happened with Rackspace. Two data centers experienced outages within a short period of time. The outages resulted in the stock price of Rackspace taking a dive.
  • Cloud computing may not be as secure as some would like to believe.
    Many Twitter users have noticed frequent outages with the service. Twitter utilizes a cloud-based model and frequently experiences issues that take the network down. Although Twitter issued a statement that the company believes the Google Apps and Yahoo! accounts of some of their developers had been hacked, resulting in sensitive data falling into the wrong hands, many users of the social network have noticed intermittent problems with the network over the course of the last year.

4. Cloud Operating Systems and Applications Continue to Become More Versatile and Sophisticated.
From the Windows Azure operating system that provides a cloud-based OS for data centers, to Google's Chrome OS, which runs a variety of netbooks and mobile devices, cloud OSs and applications are becoming more advanced and versatile. Cloud-based mobile devices boot in a matter of seconds and some cloud OSs, such as Azure, provide users with the ability to rent virtual computers for short spans of time.

More cloud apps and OSs are on the horizon. The cloud infrastructure offers promise for a wide variety of implementations. As cloud infrastructure players release APIs for their clouds and developers are basically unleashed to create a plethora of additional cloud-based applications, the sky is the limit for the cloud. No one would argue that, in spite of a few hiccups in the process of the cloud takeover, computing in the cloud is definitely the future.

For more information on recent cloud developments visit Dell here.

More Stories By Jared Jacobs

Jared Jacobs has professional and personal interests in technology. As an employee of Dell, he has to stay up to date on the latest innovations in large enterprise solutions and consumer electronics buying trends. Personally, he loves making additions to his media rooms and experimenting with surround sound equipment. He’s also a big Rockets and Texans fan.

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