Cloud Computing Defined

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“The concept of outsourcing hardware, software and file storage to service providers on the Internet” is how Forrester Research defines Cloud Computing.

Many have pointed out the philosophical similarities between Cloud Computing and the days prior to broad adoption of the personal computer.

  • Application hosting, data processing and storage were centralized on mainframe computer platforms.
  • The user community accessed these resources through a standards-based (albeit proprietary) communications network infrastructure.
  • The computing power of the user terminal was limited relative to the mainframe (admittedly, a huge understatement).

That’s pretty much where the similarities end. We now live in a world with near ubiquitous access to the Internet using it’s suite of standardized protocols under TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). Over and above the communications advantages, the Internet itself is now home to an infinite array of resources. Equally significant is the parallel evolution (arguably revolution) of end user devices. Unlike the monochromatic glow of yesterday’s text based dumb terminal, today’s world offers an incomparable variety of feature-rich, graphically based end user devices supported by numerous operating systems – all with their own attributes. Add to that the wireless revolution with its mobilization of the Internet and one would be hard pressed to draw further parallels.

Cloud computing is compelling for a number of good reasons:

  • Hardware, application software (including updates) and system security are administered by the host.
  • Many cloud computing environments support rich multiparty collaboration.
  • Barriers to entry are comparatively low and affordable.
  • User device agnostic: supports any device equipped with a standards compliant browser.
  • CPU power of end user equipment is very low.
  • Very little RAM is required in end user equipment.
  • Virtually no local storage requirements beyond operation system and web browser. User file storage is hosted in the cloud as opposed to on a local disk drive or file server.
  • Power hungry and comparatively slow hard disk drives are being replaced with fast, solid state storage in Cloud Computing user devices. Instant booting, and much longer battery life are two of the most apparent benefits.
  • Portabilty, Mobility, Ubiquity: Cloud resources are available anywhere there is internet access.
  • Generally very low network bandwidth required by the end user.

Dedicated Cloud Platforms

One of the more intriguing Cloud Computing developments has been the emergence of Google’sChrome O/S. Chrome O/S devices will have all the hardware attributes listed above, but in the spirit of a complete Cloud Computing experience, Chrome O/S is, as the name implies, is an Operating System hard coded into the hardware. Alone, a Chrome O/S product is of limited utility. Add a connection to the Internet – even a relatively slow one – and the user instantly has access to all those applications, not to mention the web via the integrated Chrome browser.

Initial reviews of Chrome O/S have been mixed. Regardless, no one can argue that from a conceptual perspective, Chrome O/S is a very compelling solution for many user categories, students for example. Chrome O/S takes the netbook/sub-notebook category to a new level. The video below from Epipheo Studios succinctly describes the thinking behind the development of Chrome O/S.

Rumours abound that Google will merge Chrome O/S’ functionality into its very popular and broadly available Android mobile operating system. Time will tell… In the meantime, Microsoft has leveraged their strong position in feature-rich desktop applications. By integrating Office 2010 desktop with Microsoft’s cloud environment known as Office Web Apps, users can enjoy document sharing and collaboration, regardless of location, even when a connection to the Internet is temporarily out of reach. Once reconnected to the Internet, sophisticated synchronization automatically reconciles any updated content.

Backhaul Solutions for Backhaul’s Sake

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Today, operators in many parts of the world are supporting multi-generation wireless networks. As deployment of next generation network access technologies gain momentum, many operators will endure a transition period where legacy services based in the time domain will need to coexist with pure IP oriented packet data services.

With this in mind, network backhaul planning and design have become much more strategic than in the recent past. So much so that three out of four mobile operators are choosing backhaul network solutions independent of other network infrastructure.

This brief video with Heavy Reading’s Patrick Donegan and Shailesh Shukla of Cisco, speaks to the trend and provides insight into the countless benefits of evaluating backhaul solutions based on their own merits. The conversation is particularly germane as network operators continue the move towards fixed-mobile convergence.

WireIE’s Carrier Grade Network Extension solutions use the latest in Ethernet Radio technology. The solution’s inherent support for IP traffic is augmented by an array of configurable options in support of legacy TDM requirements.

Maintaining Profitability on the Path to 4G

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By George Kaichis

Looking for ways to maintain profitability as an operator on your way to 4G/LTE? WireIE’s George Kaichis (Director, Radio Network Services) has some tips to help your company get there.

In order to meet the projected spike in demand and quality of data services, operators will ultimately need to migrate their networks and businesses to 4G/LTE. However, WireIE recognizes that most operators will not have the capital available to upgrade their networks and therefore suggest the following to ease the transition for operators:

  • Outsource non-core activities, particularly around the deployment and operation of your networks
  • Deploy a hosted 3G network
  • Sell operator-owned towers to tower companies and lease back space for your equipment
  • Sell microwave assets to wholesale backhaul providers and lease them back
  • Preserve roaming revenue through RF Optimization, site audits and KPI monitoring in order to maximize network capacity and performance

George recently wrote an article that was published in Cancion Magazine, a quarterly journal issued by CANTO (The Caribbean Association of National Telecommunication Organizations). The article expands upon these different measures that we believe will help operators handle the ever increasing consumer demand for higher speed data services while also maintaining profitability.