Even though cloud computing is now the popular choice when deploying IT infrastructure, the original concept of it has been around for a long time.
In simple terms, cloud is an abstract entity that provides computations resources for organizations. The details on how it works and where it is located is not required, it just needs to deliver.
A prime example of this is Amazon EC2 which essentially allows users to run their own computers based on their needs without actually physically buying or configuring them. The computing resources are delivered to end users for different needs and they are billed accordingly. So a storage cloud would have a different billing model than an application cloud and so on.
One of the biggest beneficiary of this is online gaming industry. As everything is now online, it makes sense to use cloud computing. The benefits are many for doing this and at the same time simplifying the overall IT infrastructure management tasks.
Here are some key benefits :
Ease of deployment for cloud computing : Prior to cloud computing, a typical corporate IT infrastructure would involve setting up server room(s), buying physical servers, cabling them and having an on-site staff to manage this. With cloud computing there is no need for any of this. Simply connect to the cloud based network and work as usual.
High reliability : Deploying a cloud infrastructure provides a lot of reliability. Users who are into online gaming and like to play online Texas holdâ€™em, or online multiplayer games always need a reliable experience. Other tasks that are much more mission critical like banking transactions, stock market transactions and so on absolutely benefit by leveraging distributed cloud computing.
Lower costs : Again, as the cloud is an abstract entity (it can be a virtual machine too), there are no costs associated with buying bare metal servers for running applications. Switch to a reliable cloud computing service that takes care of all that and focus on core tasks. This also means less maintenance and IT personnel costs.
Scalability : This is an obvious benefit and is termed as elasticity. With dynamic allocation of computing resources, cloud computing resources can be scaled up or down. For example : an application hosted in a cloud sees a sudden spike in users. All that needs to be done to manage this is allocate more resources for that application to run smoothly and handle the extra user load. Similarly, for slow periods, the resources can be reduced thereby reducing the billed usage too.
Always On : One of the biggest benefits is the removal of physical availability. Apps, storage and other elements when hosted in a cloud can be available from anywhere as long as there is Internet access. Consider popular email services like Outlook or Gmail. All that is needed is a browser to access them from any device be it a computer or a mobile phone from anywhere.
Easy to backup and restore : This is a benefit on user level as well as cloud administration level. Various user settings in case of apps or even user data are backed up in the cloud. With the overall cloud infractructure being reliable and highly available, the probability of losing this precious data is nil. Cloud computing uses distributed infrastructure for this so that cloud networks distributed in various locations sync with each other andalways have the updated data. So in event of a catastrophic failure of one of them, others will pick up the load. Users may experience a bit of lag or slowness if accessing apps but still it is a better option than a complete lack of availability.
Increased productivity : A lot of users can work simultaneously without any performance lag because of the elastic nature of cloud computing model. This also translates to better communication and faster work overall because downtime is almost nil.
To sum it up, cloud computing is a useful scalable model for deploying IT infrastructure. How it is implemented based on profiling the needs of an organization and infrastructure budget will determine if it delivers the benefits one wants. For many businesses, the easiest way to leverage cloud computing is to use an established cloud service provider and then customize and fine tune the overall cloud infrastructure based on their requirements.