How Does Cloud Computing Work?

by Dominique Vernier

HowDoesCloudWork

I was challenged to describe how cloud computing works in 500 words. What a challenge! And I took it.

First, you have to know what cloud computing is to understand the advantages of this new way of providing computing resources in the cloud. Second, you have to understand the different types of cloud offerings, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and business process as a service (BPaaS). Each service is  built on top of the other.

Now, how does it work? The Cloud Computing Reference Architecture (CCRA) is a great place to start. I don’t mean that the CCRA is the Holy Grail and should always be fully applied, but it gives you material to design your own solution and understand the architecture. You can find some questions and answers in this article: “What is CCRA?” You can read another good article about CCRA here.

The CCRA defines multiple components, and each component fulfills a given functionality.

CloudComputing

The first building block is the infrastructure where the cloud will be implemented. Some people make the assumption that environment should be virtualized, but as cloud is a way to request resources in an on-demand way and if you have solutions to provide  on bare metal, then why not? The infrastructure will support the different types of cloud (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, BPaaS).

To be able to provide these services you will need Operating System Services (OSS), which will be in charge of deploying the requested service, and Business System Services (BSS), mainly used to validate the request and create the invoice for the requested services. Any metrics could be used to create the invoice (for example, number of users, number of CPUs, memory, usage hours/month). It is very flexible and depends on the service provider.

A cloud computing environment will also need to provide interfaces and tools for the service creators and users. This is the role of the Cloud Service Creator and Cloud Service Consumer components.

Now, let’s see how it works in reality.

Generally, you log in to a portal (enterprise or public wise) and you order your services through the Cloud Service Consumer. This service has been created by the cloud service provider and can be a simple virtual machine (VM) based on an image, some network components, an application service such as a WebApp environment and a service such as MongoDB. It depends on the provider and type of resources and services.

The cloud provider will validate, through the BSS, your request and if the validation is okay (credit card, contract), it will provision the request through the OSS.

You will receive, in one way or another, the credentials to access your requested services and you will usually receive a monthly invoice for your consumption.

Hopefully now you understand a bit more about how cloud computing works. Did I successfully complete my challenge? Follow me on Twitter @ITDoVe. Read other articles I’ve written here on Thoughts on Cloud or at http://cloud.itdove.com.

__________________

About Dominique Vernier

Dominique is the Global IT Architect for IBM Cloud, in charge of deploying the IBM Cloud solution throughout the world. He has extensive IT experience and has previously worked for the IBM South-West Europe Cloud Center of Excellence and the SOA Center of Excellence. He is co-author of two patents and has filed (Patent Pending Process) two others as author. He is based in Brussels.

2 thoughts

  1. Thanks to the links… your challenge was already half-way solved. You’ve given me some good reading to do.

    Also, what’s the IBM plan for the Cloud business in Nigeria? Is the Nigerian business environment conducive for a smooth running or an IBM cloud business?

Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s