SIT113 – Cloud Computing and Virtualisation (2016) Assignment one 10% Written Report

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Cloud Computing and Virtualization

Introduction

Cloud computing is the newest major shift in computing. The widespread cloud computing is enhanced by the Internet which plays the integral role of being the most appropriate channel for accessing cloud resources. However, it is important to note that cloud computing is still undergoing evolution, and thus its definitions, technologies, use-cases, risks and benefits will be spiritually debated by the public and private sectors (European Network and Information Security Agency-ENISA 2012).

1. Cloud Computing

In cloud computing, a more convenient and on-demand network accessibility is enabled to a shared pool of various configurable computing resources such as applications, network, servers and storage services that can be rapidly provided and released without necessarily having management efforts or the interaction of service provider. It is a model where computing resources are made accessible whenever they are needed (Open Group 2013). In most case, cloud computing is confused with other related computing models that are real not cloud computing such as peer-to-peer networks, grid computing, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), network asset sharing like networked printers, NAS disk drives. The basic cloud computing model has applications, servers, storage and services accessed through a common network and all these are shared between organizations as well as accessed by various users such as customers, individuals in the general public, members of the organization who may be working on-premise or remote workers and used for different applications as illustrated in the figure below;

SIT113 – Cloud Computing and Virtualisation (2016) Assignment one 10% Written Report

A basic Cloud Computing Model

In the above model, it means that organizations can easily utilize more or fewer severs, applications, stores and services and have the capacity to configure those resources they use to meet their requirements at any time they wish to do so without applying extra efforts. The five key characteristics of cloud computing that distinguish it from other related computing models include; broad network access, on-demand self-service, resource pooling, rapid flexibility and measured service provision (National Institute of Standards and Technology-NIST 2010). Generally, Cloud applications are commonly used among people who in most cases share content via the Internet. Therefore, it is relevant to point out that cloud applications can be used by any person with a Web browser and has communication devices that can basically connect to the Internet. Cloud computing
functions in the cloud via a cloud application or program that is characterized by both pure desktop and a pure Web application or remote server. It is notable that cloud applications are good for their capability to provide fast responsiveness, and can as well work offline. Although tools are available and can be modified within the cloud, it should be noted that the actual user interface is considered to be on the local device. This implies that the user has the privilege to cache data locally and has the ability to enable the full offline mode any time he or she desires to do so. Essentially, cloud applications can be useful on board an aircraft or in some other sensitive areas or situations where wireless cannot be used simply because the cloud computing applications will provide some functionality even the Internet connection is not enabled
(TechTarget Pro 2012).

Based on the fundamental perspective, it is notable that cloud computing offers flexible real-time services or access to a shared pool of various computing resources such as networks, applications, servers, storage and services. One of the significant reasons for using cloud computing is basically its capability to enable on-demand IT resources, the need for rapid provision of IT services as well as de-provision and “pay by the drink” kind pricing. From an enterprise IT point of view, it can be noted that the overwhelming benefit achieved by using cloud computing is the element of flexibility on-demand access to different IT resources without necessarily involving in the usual purchasing, deployment or management overhead. Since cloud-based IT resources can be utilized for various reasons in different ways, IT industry has been assessed around three major standard cloud computing services paradigms namely; infrastructure-as-a service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-service (SaaS). However, there is no really hierarchy needed in offering these services and chief Information Officers can choose any or provide all cloud services that suits their needs (Oltsik 2010).

2. Non-Cloud Based Applications
(a)
Some of the5 non-cloud-based applications that would be useful to GP-Clinics include traditional client server EMR application, client-server systems, in-house servers,
(b)
why each is useful to GP-Clinics

Quicker EMR response times, Data ownership and control within office, in-house servers are useful because they store the data in house, where a server, hardware and software are installed in one place that will be effective for GP-Clinics to collect and analyze their critical patient data and provide quick clinical services. Basically, the EMR software is already installed on a server that is made available or located within the physician’s office. With traditional client server EMR applications, its direct connectivity as well as close proximity makes it advantageous because it allows data packs kept on the server to be easily and quickly transferred to the client side than online EMR software.
3. Cloud Solutions

The main reasons why GP-Clinics should use cloud solutions is that cloud computing will help it being a national company that owns and runs medical clinics of general practitioners throughout major cities of Australia to improve their health care services, effectively conduct health care research as well as change their current face or develop health information technology. Since GP-Clinics is a health care company which just like any other service operation company that needs sustainable and systematic innovation so as to maintain its cost effective, efficient and timely management in order to provide the expected high-quality services. It means that cloud solutions will benefit GP-Clinics by minimizing their electronic health record (HER) start-up expenses that may be incurred in acquiring hardware, software, licensing fee and personnel if cloud computing model or technology is adopted in the company (Mork et al, 2011). Research shows that biomedical informatics community in particular, consortiums that often share data and application, can utilize the new computing model such as cloud computing. It is undoubted that GP-Clinics Company will or faces major challenges like data-handling issues, complexity, expensive or unavailable critical computational solutions needed for research problems. These are significant issues often experienced in biomedical research data handling and analysis, a field in which GP-Clinics would be expected to address using cloud computing technology. It is relevant to mention that a number of informatics innovation take advantage of cloud computing as a potential solution to overcome such difficulties (Rosenthal et al 2010).

4. Benefits and Risks

Some of the benefits and risks of a cloud storage that are specific to Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Google providers include;
the ability of these world-class software companies to largely invest in cloud and extending their new offerings including medical records services. For instance, Microsoft’s HealthVault, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the worldwide use of health cloud computing where the AWS plays an integral role of hosting a range of health care IT offerings. AWS provides Salt Lake City-based Spearstone’s health care type of data storage application. In addition, DiskAgent relies on Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) because of its scalable storage infrastructure capability in cloud computing technology. The major risk with the providers of cloud computing is mistrust in data security as well as privacy by users and the organizational inertia or cultural resistance to involve in data sharing and change the conventional ways of working in health IT centres, and thus raises data security issues. However, compared cloud computing applications from these world-class providers with locally housed data, it would be necessary to argue that their models are not less secure. Security is enhanced because leading cloud providers such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon have the capability to devote their huge resources purposely to solving the security related issues that customers cannot handle. From technological point of view, technical issues such as bugs associated with large-scale distributed cloud systems, resource exhaustion, data lock-in and transfer bottlenecks, unpredictability of performance pose great challenges in using cloud computing technology (Mork et al 2011).
5. Cloud Storage Recommendations
(b) This is simply because AWS plays an integral role of hosting a range of health care IT offerings. AWS provides Salt Lake City-based Spearstone’s health care type of data storage application. In addition, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) would be appropriate for GP-Clinics because of its scalable storage infrastructure capability that will help to handle the company’s huge health care data and research analysis.
(a) From those providers in part 4, I would recommend Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) to GP-Clinics to provide a cloud storage solution to them.
It would also be necessary for GP-Clinicsto join Telstra and the Royal Australian College of General Practitionerswho are expected to work in collaboration to build an eHealth cloud. The availability of eHealth cloud will help GP-Clinics to get access to a host of different health care applications such as clinical software, care plans, decision-support tools used for diagnosis, prescriptions and trainings, referral tools as well as administrative and clinical services (Mork et al 2011).

Bibliography

European Network and Information Security Agency-ENISA, 2012, “Cloud Computing benefits, risks and recommendations for information security”, Retrieved April 21, 2016 from,

<http://www.enisa.europa.eu>

, A.F 2011, ‘KuoMork, P., Kimura, E., Reynolds, C & Opportunities and Challenges of Cloud Computing to Improve Health Care Services’, Journal of Medical Internet Research, Vol.13, No.3, e67.

National Institute of Standards and Technology-NIST, 2010, Computer Security Division, Computer Security Resource Centre, NIST Definition of Cloud computing v15, Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc.

Oltsik, J 2010, What is needed for Cloud Computing? Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc.

Open Group, 2013, “Cloud computing for business: What is Cloud?” Retrieved April 21, 2016 from,

<http://www.opengroup.org/cloud/cloud/cloud_for_business/what.htm>

Rosenthal, A, Mork, P, Li MH, Stanford, J, Koester, D & Reynolds, P 2010, ‘Cloud computing: a new business paradigm for biomedical information sharing’, Journal of Biomed Information, Vol.43, No.2, pp.342–53.

TechTarget Pro, 2012, “Cloud Application”, Retrieved April 21, 2016 from,

<http://searchcloudapplications.techtarget.com/definition/cloud-application>