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Cloud Computing Architecture

Introduction

One of the hottest topics on the Internet today is Cloud Computing. Many of us are used to its concepts, at least in some form. Cloud computing is enabled by the Internet, which provides pervasive connectivity between individual users and the Internet-based services that are the components for cloud computing. The discriminator is that these services are structured in a way where users do not need to purchase or install computer hardware or software to have the use of computing services. Someone else has done all of this for them and the user does not even need to know where their services are actually located, how they are being provided, or who is operating the underlying systems. These services are just there to be accessed as needed. The common attribute is that they are accessed from an internet-connected workstation, usually with only a web browser application. The many benefits, advantages, disadvantages, trustworthy and adverse aspects of the Cloud will be discussed throughout this tutorial, particularly in the section on Information Security.

The original cloud service has been free web-based electronic mail: for example Yahoo, Hotmail, Google's Gmail, among others. The popularity of these services has led to other services including chat (instant messaging), presence (the user is currently on-line), document editing, collaboration, file storage and sharing, among others. Some of these services are considered Social Networking because they have become a popular and pervasive way for people to stay in touch with friends and family. Examples include Facebook and Twitter. These initial applications provided the momentum that has expanded into the today's cloud computing model.

The growth of the cloud computing model is driving the future of computer operating systems and web browsers, as developers produce support for more powerful web applications and services. As individuals and businesses move computing to web applications, this reduces the need for expensive desktop applications.

Despite the many benefits provided by cloud computing, there are concerns about the privacy and security of the information hosted on these services. Providers of free services generally have little responsibility to maintain or protect hosted information. In many cases, they can claim ownership of this information including personal photos and documents.

Protecting information stored on the cloud poses many technical and operational challenges. Many of the larger providers have had their systems compromised leading to exposures to identity theft. Often information posted to the cloud are captured, cataloged, and resold by other service providers in order to generate revenue. Government agencies have the additional burden of developing new ways to satisfy their privacy and accountability responsibilities within a cloud computing context.

Continue with the On-Demand Model.