The so called Cloud Computing–What is it?

Today, if you take half of the articles on the web, or have a conversation with an IT guy, some or the other the article or the conversation will cross the topic Cloud Computing. In the recent years the word Cloud Computing has become an industry BUZZ word. What ever you take has the cloud portion in it. Everyone talks about cloud computing. But what exactly is this, so called cloud computing? where did the term “cloud” derive from for this technology?

For me, cloud computing is simply “Hosted Services” over the internet or a dedicated private network. If you look at todays world IT has become one of the key points to run a business. A successful business needs, hardware, software, IT experts, designing, implementation, maintenance, support, upgrade, etc. Cloud Computing helps a business to forget all those components and focus only on the core business for organizations. That is an organization can host their application somewhere in a datacenter and access the application through the internet, by doing this the employees of that organization only needs a PC and an internet connection to access this application and the management does not have to worry about hardware, backups, upgrades, etc. as all of those will be taken care of by the hosting company. How did this become so feasible now? well with the recent improvements with virtualization and the improvements gained on the connectivity speed to the internet has made this possible. An example for cloud services is www.hotmail.com a total mail solution is offered through the internet where the users only require a PC and an internet connectivity to retrieve their emails ( no servers, backup, downtime, etc).

How did we end up with the term “CLOUD”? If you look at the network diagram charts (Microsoft Office Visio is a tool which generates such diagrams), the cloud symbol depicts the internet, so the name CLOUD was derived from that.

A Public Cloud delivers services to anyone on the internet – either free or for a fee. Some of the example for this would be email services provide by hotmail, gmail, yahoo Or Google Apps, Microsoft Office 365, etc.

A Private Cloud delivers services to a target audience or a target group from a private datacenter over a private network. Sometimes to create a Private cloud we might use the resources of a Public Cloud and this creates a Hybrid.

There are 3 major Offerings through Cloud Computing

1) Iaas – Infrastructure As A Service

2) PaaS – Platform As A Service

3) SaaS – Software As A Service.

I will write about these later where as I hope the above is informational..   

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Windows Intune – PC Management and Security in the Cloud

Windows Intune will be officially available to the general public to try out/purchase from the 23rd of March 2011. As an IT Pro I have been wanting for a tool as such for a long time, so that I can make sure that all of my organizations client computers are managed and secured up to date, where ever they are and where ever I am with a few mouse clicks and an easy to manage environment.

With the simple web based console Intune provides you greater management insights to your computers in your organizations without no extra infrastructure required by you. Intune helps you to Manage Updates, Malware Protection, Asset Inventory (Hardware and Software), Remote Administration, etc. 

Find the excerpt below which is the requirement for the Windows Intune client software (taken from Windows Intune FAQ)

“The Windows Intune client software is supported on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of:

  • Windows 7 Enterprise, Ultimate, and Professional
  • Windows Vista Enterprise, Ultimate, and Business
  • Windows XP Professional with Service Pack (SP) 2 or later (SP3 recommended)

The Windows Intune client software has no additional hardware requirements for Windows 7– or Windows Vista–based computers. However, to install the client software on Windows XP–based computers, you will need a CPU clock speed of 500 megahertz (MHz) or faster and a minimum of 256 megabytes (MB) of RAM.

You will also require administrator rights on the computer to complete the Windows Intune client software installation.

To access the Windows Intune web console, administrators will need access to a web browser that supports Silverlight® 3.0, such as Windows Internet Explorer® 7.0 or higher.”

For further information visit http://www.microsoft.com/windowsintune 

Windows 7 and Windows server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1

It is stale news to the IT pro world that Microsoft has released the Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 recently. The service packs can be downloaded here.

There were no notable new features being added through to Windows 7 Operating System by its Service Pack rather there were some enhancements to certain existing features were done. On the other hand the Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack has some new features being introduced, to name a few

1) Dynamic memory

2) Remote FX

3) Enhancements on the Direct Access feature

The service packs are a major update released by Microsoft and it is recommended that it to be tested before being deployed. If you or your organization would like to temporarily prevent installation of Service Pack updates through Windows Update you can use the Windows Service Pack Blocker Tool Kit provided by Microsoft (which can be found here) in order to prevent it.

To find out more on the Service Packs it is advisable to read the Notable Changes document & Release Notes documents which can be found here along with the deployment guides.