What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing means delivering hosted services over the internet.
It is the pool of shared resources such as networks, servers, storage, applications, and services that can be provided to the consumer rather than the consumer managing them on her own which is costly and time-consuming.
The Internet is at the core of the evolution of this technology.
Salient features of Cloud Computing:
It is sold on demand generally by the minute or the hour.
Elastic– User can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any given time.
Fully managed by the provider- The consumer requires nothing but a personal computer and internet connection.
Data-intensive– The focus is on data rather than computation.
Scalability– Cloud computing has the ability to continue to function well when it is changed in size or volume in order to meet a user’s need.
Advantages of cloud computing:
- Cloud computing services minimize IT requirements and physical storage, which helps small businesses, cut significant business costs.
- Most cloud services are paid on a subscription basis, so capital expenditure is reduced.
- Cloud computing is also much faster and easier to deploy, so there are fewer start-up costs.
- Moving the business data to the cloud can make disaster recovery possible i.e., retrieving data in case of a hardware compromise.
- For many businesses, moving to the cloud enhances opportunities for collaboration between employees.
- Furthermore, the cloud centralizes data– owner, employees, and clients can access it from any location with the internet.
- Cloud computing reduces a company’s carbon footprint by minimizing energy consumption and carbon emissions by more than 30%.
- For small businesses, the decreased energy usage can reach up to 90% which is a huge money saver.
Disadvantages of cloud computing:
- For cloud-based services consistent internet connection is important.
- While the upfront or capital cost is very low, the maintenance cost needs to be paid for both servers as well as data.
- Companies with highly sensitive data may need their own IT department to keep data secure because when the data is stored in the cloud, the company is trusting a third party to keep it safe.
Cloud Computing in India:
- They are used in everyday activities of people such as social networking, mail, online purchases, and large-scale operations of MNCs including big data, Internet of Things (IoT), etc.
- Cloud Computing offers huge potential for Indian firms to grow and is opening up new windows of opportunities.
- Sectors like retail, railways, manufacturing, banking, education, healthcare have started switching to cloud services.
Regulatory and Legal framework:
- While the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, the Civil Procedure Code 1908 and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 deal with this sector in an indirect manner
- IT Act, 2000 provides for provisions regarding penalties for the breach of data and privacy.
- The Act targets e-commerce and cybercrime in general and data protection and data privacy are covered under it.
- While the above-mentioned laws do cover some legal issues regarding cloud computing, however, they don’t cover the scope of cloud computing services and the issues arising from it.
- The government adopted cloud services in the domain of Right to Information (RTI) for efficient performances.
- Meghraj/GI Cloud is GoI’s cloud computing platform used by government departments and agencies.
- eGov App Store is a common platform to host and run applications developed by government agencies or private players at Meghraj.
- Smart Cities Mission facilitates local development by utilizing technology such as cloud computing.
- The government has also recognized the importance of cloud-based service delivery for Digital India.
- RBI has been utilizing cloud-based solutions, especially for cooperative banks to extend the banking services.
- Indian Banking Community Cloud (IBCC) is the first community cloud initiative for the banking sector in India.
- Digital MSME Scheme provides cloud-based services for MSMEs to reduce their cost by avoiding the building of in-house IT infrastructure.
- RailCloud, a cloud-based service that will enable faster connectivity at a minimal cost.
- Nivaran Grievance portal is the first IT application on the RailCloud. It is a platform for resolution of service-related grievances of both serving and former railway employees.
- E-health vision aims at incorporating the Health Information Exchange mechanism through a cloud platform.
Lack of effective infrastructure for data centers in India.
- The cost of powering and cooling amounts to 53% of the total operational expenditure of data centers. The challenge is not only to reduce energy costs in data centers but also to meet government regulations and environmental standards.
- Achieving effective server consolidation (i.e., utilizing the remote servers to the maximum level to reduce energy usage) without affecting application performance is a primary challenge.
- Challenges in providing middleware capabilities for building, deploying, integrating and managing applications in a multi-tenant, elastic and scalable environments.
- The right cloud security architecture is needed for responding to security threats effectively and instantly and reducing risks associated with the business or government services.