6 Distributed System notes: Cloud Computing (云计算)

Defining Cloud Computing

Cloud computing refers to both the applications delivered as services over the Internet and the hardware and systems software in the data centers that provide those services. The services themselves have long been referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS). Some vendors use terms such as IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) to describe their products, but we eschew these because accepted definitions for them still vary widely. The line between “low-level” infrastructure and a higher-level “platform” is not crisp. We believe the two are more alike than different, and we consider them together. Similarly, the related term “grid computing,” from the high-performance computing community, suggests protocols to offer shared computation and storage over long distances, but those protocols did not lead to a software environment that grew beyond its community.


The data center hardware and software is what we will call a cloud. When a cloud is made available in a pay-asyou-go manner to the general public, we call it a public cloud; the service being sold is utility computing. We use the term private cloud to refer to internal data centers of a business or other organization, not made available to the general public, when they are large enough to benefit from the advantages of cloud computing that we discuss here. Thus, cloud computing is the sum of SaaS and utility computing, but does not include small or mediumsized data centers, even if these rely on virtualization for management. People can be users or providers of SaaS, or users or providers of utility computing. We focus on SaaS providers (cloud users) and cloud providers, which have received less attention than SaaS users. Figure 1 makes provider-user relationships clear. In some cases, the same actor can play multiple roles. For instance, a cloud provider might also host its own customer-facing services on cloud infrastructure.

From a hardware provisioning and pricing point of view, three aspects are new in cloud computing.

  • The appearance of infinite computing resources available on demand, quickly enough to follow load surges, thereby eliminating the need for cloud computing users to plan far ahead for provisioning.
  • The elimination of an up-front commitment by cloud users, thereby allowing companies to start small and increase hardware resources only when there is an increase in their needs.b
  • The ability to pay for use of computing resources on a short-term basis as needed (for example, processors by the hour and storage by the day) and release them as needed, thereby rewarding conservation by letting machines and storage go when they are no longer useful.

Types of cloud


Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), 基础设施即服务


  • 提供原生的计算机基础建设作为服务,一般通过平台(操作系统)虚拟化实现。
  • 供应商管理网络,硬件存储,虚拟化和操作系统等,比如说 Amazon Web Service。

Platform as a Service (PaaS), 平台即服务


  • 提供底层框架(应用开发环境)作为服务。
  • 用户可以在框架之上开发、搭建应用,例如Window Azure

Software as a Service (SaaS),软件即服务


  • 提供的软件作为服务
  • Office 365


A View of Cloud Computing

Data-intensive Systems slides of University of St Andrews

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