Between online banking and Facebook, most people use some form of cloud computing almost daily. With cloud computing, local computers access applications that are run essentially on a virtual computer. The applications can then be run independently on each local computer. For users, the cloud is an easy – to – use resource that minimizes the need for personal software and minimizes the importance of hardware, transferring the emphasis to the ability of the computer to run applications. It enables users to stay up to date with the latest application options without having to continually buy new software, which can help companies save money as well. Behind the step by step screens, however, the set up of the cloud is actually quite complex. Here is a sneak peak to understand how the complex process of ‘the cloud’ actually works.
Basic cloud terminology
When people discuss how the cloud functions, they frequently refer to the front
end and the back end. The front end refers to what the end user sees and uses. This would be the user page for a Facebook account or for many types of email accounts, for example. It typically consists of the end user’s computer and the application that runs the cloud service, which is frequently the internet. The backend is where all the hardware and the software architecture, that makes the front end possible, exists. There is also something called ‘middleware’, which is the special software that allows the different computers that are networked together to communicate with one another. Then, as a precaution, the cloud servers will typically make copies of the various clients’ data to ensure that should the server computer crash, the information will not be lost. This is also known as redundancy.
Behind the scenes
The cloud service is run through a central server administrator. This administrator will supply the physical server needed to run the program. They often use a technique known as ‘server virtualization’ to fool a physical server into thinking that it is actually multiple servers with their own operating systems. This enables each server to be used to its fullest capacity rather than having unused processing space, minimizing the number of physical machines required. The server also supplies many digital storage devices to provide the space for redundancy to protect clients from potential operating disasters. The servers also follow a set of predefined rules known as ‘protocols’, while help the server adjust based upon traffic, client needs, uses, and more. The administrator then sends out the application over some kind of medium, often the internet, where people can then access the information.
On the front end
Clients can access the cloud and use it for a range of purposes, from document storage and sharing to email to online ban
king. The cloud applications allow them to automatically adjust their usage of the depending upon need. This prevents overpaying for resources that are not needed. Clients can access the data they have stored on the cloud from a range of devices, from work computers to personal computers to tablets and smartphones. Typically some kind of authentication is used to verify the users and help offer privacy.
For clients on the front end, cloud computing is easy – to – use application that offers flexibility, opportunities for saving money, and the convenience of being able to access data from nearly any device. On the backend, however, there is a complex network of servers that run the application and send the information out to users. The intricacies of the systems, from the virtualization of servers to the establishment of various protocols, on the backend make the technology possible.
About the Author: Matt Smith is a Dell employee who writes to help raise awareness on the topic of Dell Cloud Solutions and other network management subjects.
License: Creative Commons image source