Cloud Computing for the Public Sector In A Nutshell

24 October 2016,

Cloud computing is a model for enabling ever-present, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared set of computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications, and services).

You can configure these resources and rapidly provision them with minimal effort or service provider interaction.

The cloud model is essentially about availability. It is composed of five essential characteristics, four service models, and three deployment models. Add to it the seven critical factors to consider while adopting the Cloud in the Public Sector. The following infographic illustrates these aspects for you in a nutshell.

 

Transcript of Infographic:

The 5 Essential Characteristics of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing differs from local computing in many ways. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has identified five characteristics in particular:

  1. You serve yourself on-demand
    You can directly access the needed computing capabilities from the source. This is akin to changing television channels or radio stations at will with a remote control.
  2. You get access to a wide network:
    You are not tied to one location but can access resources from anywhere on the network.
  3. You can pool resources:
    Departments and users share the same overall set of resources from a provider, use what they need, and not worry themselves with where those resources come from. This is similar to the electric grid - you as the user don't know/ care which specific power plant generates the electricity that you use.
  4. You can expand, or decrease your resource use:
    You can quickly increase or decrease your use of a computing resource in response to your needs. This is similar to using as little or as much electricity at any time you need.
  5. You pay for what you use:
    The amount of usage by a customer is monitored by the provider and can be used for billing or other purposes. Very similar to metering the use of electricity, water, and other utilities.

 

The Four Service Models in Cloud Computing

Public
Services made available to a large group of independent customers, e.g. general public. Customers use the service over the Internet through web browsers or other software applications. Providers sell those services on a metered basis.

Pros: Lower Price. Flexibility. Cons: Security.

Eg Internet backup, file synchronisation, and web-based media services.

Private
Works on a private network controlled and used by a single organization. The services are similar to the public cloud, but with fewer risks.

Benefits: Get services such as data storage. Provide external services to the public or other users. Cons: Costs. Logistical challenges with purchasing and managing the hardware and software.

Community
Allows a group of organizations with similar requirements to share infrastructure. This amortises the costs of cloud computing.

Pros: Allows for more customization to meet the users’ needs - user-specific security and other requirements. Cons: Expensive given small user base.

Hybrid
A combination of internal (data centre, community, or private cloud) and external (public) providers. Eg. you could use a private or community cloud to provide applications and store current data, but use a public cloud for archiving data. Pros: Flexibility.

 

The 3 Deployment Models in Cloud Computing

Software as a Service (SaaS)
Customers use applications that the provider supplies and makes available remotely on demand, as opposed to using applications installed locally.

It includes web-based services such as Google Maps and Facebook, online storage, and services such as Paypal that websites can integrate into their applications.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Customers create applications on the provider’s infrastructure using tools, such as programming languages, supplied by the provider. Eg. Use PaaS to create a web-based interface for customers.

The platform includes hosting capability and development tools to facilitate building, testing, and launching a web application. The user is in charge of the applications created via the platform. The provider controls and maintains the underlying infrastructure, including networks, servers, and platform upgrades.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS providers supply fundamental computing resources that customers can use however they wish.

Customers can install, use, and control whatever operating systems and applications they wish, as they might otherwise do on desktop computers or local servers. The provider maintains the underlying cloud infrastructure.

 

7 Critical Factors to Consider While Adopting the Cloud

Costs
T
he cloud should cost less than local computing. It optimises resources, frees up people and reduces hassles for users.

Energy Efficiency
The Cloud is optimised. More efficient data centers on the cloud make for greener IT compared to local data centers.

Availability
24/7 availability on the Cloud compared to owned data centres which may not be able to provide this.

Agility
Permits faster and more efficient upgrades. Provides innovators with a broader range of tools for research, development, and testing than they would be able to acquire cost-effectively in a local computing environment.

Security
The economies of scale associated with cloud computing permit providers to invest much more effectively in security than most users could with local computing.

Reliability
Services hosted in the cloud are usually distributed among several different data centres This improves reliability over the use of only a local data centre, especially when combined with redundancy.

Privacy
Privacy is a concern for public and hybrid cloud services. The greater the direct control that private clouds give to users over hardware and software the more control over the management of privacy.

This infographic has been brought to you AMANDA 7, the #1 Municipal Case Management System for Governments. AMANDA 7 is now in the Cloud and supporting 3 governments. The State of Maine, The Government of Canada (GOC) and The City of San Jose, CA.

Let's have your feedback

Has this infographic helped you understand the Cloud better? We are happy to hear it.

Source: Overview and Issues for Implementation of the Federal Cloud Computing Initiative: Implications for Federal Information Technology Reform Management by Patricia Moloney Gigliola Specialist in Internet and Telecommunications Policy, and Eric A. Fischer Senior Specialist in Science and Technology January 20, 2015. Congressional Research Services.

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