There are several cloud computing middleware solutions on the market today, and they vary based on functionality. Cloud computing continues to evolve as a vital computing platform for sharing various resources, including infrastructure, software, business processes and applications.
Virtualization, as a core technology, has enabled cloud resource sharing. Unfortunately, a good number of existing cloud computing platforms are yet to formally adopt the service-oriented architecture (SOA), that would bring in more flexibility, extensibility and reusability.
Important Concepts of Cloud Computing Middleware Architecture
Cloud Computing Architecture
When it comes to a cloud computing system, it helps to divide it into two categories: the front end and back end, which connect to each other via a network, usually the internet. While the front end is the client side or the computer user side, the backend is cloud side of the system.
In practice, the front end not only includes the user’s computer/computer network, but also the relevant application required to gain access to the cloud computing system. User interface vary from one cloud computing system to another. Services, such as Web-based e-mail programs, make effective use of existing Web browsers such as Firefox or Internet Explorer. Other systems, with unique applications, provide network access to clients.
The backend of the system is characterized by various computers and servers, as well as data storage systems responsible for creating the “cloud” of computing services. Theoretically, a typical cloud computing system could consist of just about any computer program you can think of, from data processing to hilarious video games. Normally, each application would have its own dedicated server.
If a cloud computing firm serves many clients, there’s likelihood of a high demand for a large storage space. Some firms require several digital storage devices (sometimes hundreds). Cloud computing systems require twice (or more) the number of storage devices it needs to store all its clients’ information. This is because these devices occasionally breakdown, just as all computers do.
A cloud based computing system must create a copy of all its clients’ information (backup) and use other devices to store it. These copies enable the central server to gain access to backup devices to retrieve the data and information that otherwise wouldn’t be reachable. Creating copies of data is a backup plan known as redundancy.
Cloud Computing Applications
There is no limit to the number of cloud computing applications, with the appropriate cloud computing middleware, a cloud computing system is able to execute all the programs run by a normal computer – practically everything, from simple, generic word processing software to complex, fully customized computer programs tailored for a specific company – could run on a cloud-based computing system.
Reasons for Relying on another Computer System to Run Programs and Store Data
Enables clients to access their applications and data from practically anywhere in the world, at any time. Moreover, they could use any computer that is connected to the internet to access the cloud computing system. Instead of data being confined to hard drive on a single user’s computer or a corporation’s internal network, the data is placed where it can be accessed by anyone with internet connection, at any time.
It could possibly lower hardware costs. It eliminates the need for advanced hardware, especially on the client’s side. Clients need not buy the fastest computer or with the largest memory, as cloud computing takes care of such needs for them. Instead, you may just need an expensive computer terminal which you can buy without having to reconsider your annual budget.
In fact, a typical terminal may consist of only a monitor and input devices like a computer keyboard and mouse. These will provide you with enough processing power needed to run the cloud computing middleware required to connect to the cloud system. Since you would be storing all your information on a remote computer, you wouldn’t need a hard drive with large memory.
Corporations relying on computers must have the right software in place to enable them achieve their goals. They can enjoy company-wide access to various computer applications provided by cloud computing systems. There’s no need for the company to buy a set of licenses for each employee. All they need to do is pay a metered fee to the selected cloud computing company.
Since servers and digital storage machines take up a lot of space, some companies are forced to rent physical space, which they don’t have available on site, to enable them store servers and databases. Cloud computing services provide such companies with an opportunity to store data on hardware that belongs to someone else, eliminating the need for physical space on the front end.
It enables corporations to save money on IT support, as streamlined hardware often has fewer technical problems than a network of homogenous devices and operating systems.
If the backend of the cloud computing system happens to be a grid computing system, the client could leverage on the processing power of the entire network. Typically, scientists and researchers have to work with complex calculations that would take several years for individuals to complete. But on a grid computing system, the client can send the complex calculation to the cloud for processing. This allows the cloud system to tap into the massive processing power of all computers that are available on the backend. This significantly speeds up the process of calculation.
Normally, a central server administers the system while at the same time it monitor traffic and client demands for smooth running of operations. It adheres to a set of rules known as protocols and utilizes a special kind of software known as cloud computing middleware. The work of the middleware is simply to allow networked computers to smoothly communicate with each other.
In most cases, servers don’t run at their full capacity; there’s always unused processing power that goes to waste. It is easy to fool a physical server into believing it is multiple servers, each functioning using its own independent operating system. This technique is known as server virtualization. The work of server virtualization is to reduce the need for more physical infrastructure/machines by maximizing the work or output of individual servers, leveraging on the smooth communication enabled by cloud computing middleware.