Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet. These services are fully managed by the provider (the consumer needs nothing but a personal computer and Internet access). The concept of the cloud has been around for a long time in many different incarnations in the business world. It mostly means a grid of computers serving as a service-oriented architecture to deliver software and data. Most websites and server-based applications run on particular computers or servers. What differentiates the cloud from the way those are set up is that the cloud utilizes the resources from the computers as a collective virtual computer, where the applications can run independently from particular computer or server configurations. They are basically floating around in a “cloud of resources”, making the hardware less important to how the applications work.
With broadband internet, the need to have the software run on your computer or on a company’s site is becoming less and less essential. Much of the software that people use nowadays is completely web-based. The cloud takes advantage of that to bring it to the next level. The beauty of cloud computing is that all of the business of maintaining the service or application is the responsibility of the cloud vendor. So all of this happens, allowing you and your employees easy access to applications and and data from different computers and devices.
So, why aren’t you cloud computing already? Oh wait – you probably are. Hotmail, Gmail, Flickr and Google Maps are all examples of cloud computing applications you’ve probably used at some point or even use regularly.
Cloud computing is the next stage in the Internet’s evolution, providing the means through which everything — from computing power to computing infrastructure, applications, business processes to personal collaboration — can be delivered to you as a service wherever and whenever you need. To understand exactly how cloud computing works, let’s consider that the cloud consists of layers, mainly the back end layers and the front end layers. The front layers are the parts you see and interact with. When you access your profile on your back office account, for example, you are using software running on the front end of the cloud. The back end consists of the hardware and the software architecture that delivers the data you see on the front end.
The “cloud” in cloud computing can be defined as the set of hardware, networks, storage, services, and interfaces that combine to deliver aspects of computing as a service. Cloud services include the delivery of software, infrastructure, and storage over the Internet (either as separate components or a complete platform) based on user demand. (See Cloud Computing Models for the lowdown on the way clouds are used.)
Unlike traditional stand-alone Point-Of-Sale systems installed on-site, all application pieces in Aireus are services that can be deployed anywhere in the enterprise, limited only by network topology. Cloud Architecture has the ability to easily support thousands of iPad’s concurrently running that are producing tens of thousands of transactions. It even has the flexibility to easily upgrade the system while maintaining true enterprise functionality. All this is done with resiliency through redundancy LAN and the Internet. The traditional legacy concept of the system being up or down does not apply to Aireus because iPads are not dependent on a single PC server. SOA architecture leads to a more scalable and reliable system compared to server PC-based models since services are distributed and do not have to be located on a single PC-server.