Best explanation of Cloud Computing by rPath – Can’t be any better!

Tags: cloud computingrpathvirtualization

Published on: April 28, 2009 by George K.

Best explanation of Cloud Computing by rPath – Can’t be any better!


Since we have in the field of cloud computing support, one of the Level I tech showed keen interest in writing a blog entry on cloud computing, I understood I lacked the fundamentals of Cloud Computing. I failed in properly explaining to him. I always believed that only if you have the fundamentals right on any technologies or on any industry, you can explain it properly to a layman and make him understand. For someone from traditional business who likes to enter into hosting industry, I always compare it with Real Estate, the best one can understand. Wow they simply love the concept. Yes, hosting industry is like Real Estate business, except that it never goes down on a recession time, instead booms! I guess I will write a comparison, at a later time 🙂

Now, I got a tweet from Roy from SG with the link to this article and video from rPath

I planned to write it here as plain html, instead of using pdf2html or putting just the link (without rpath’s permission & I hope they wont have any objection). Interesting read is the PDF only.

What is Cloud Computing ?? What ISN’T cloud computing ??

Cloud computing is the convergence of three major trends,

  • Virtualization, where applications are separated from infrastructure.
  • Utility Computing, where server capacity is accessed across a grid as a variably priced shared service
  • SaaS, Software as a Service, where applications are available on demand on a subscription basis.


Broadly, virtualization refers to the abstraction of computer resources. Specifically, server virtualization is the separation of the operating system from the underlying hardware with the help of a hypervisor. By creating “containers”, the hypervisor allows multiple “guest” operating systems to run concurrently. Server virtualization in the data center arises mostly from the need to reduce IT operating costs and capital expenditure , by consolidating hardware. By effectively insulating applications from the underlying operating system, virtualization enables dramatically increased utilization of server capacity. In turn, more applications running on fewer servers means lower capital expense and lower operating and maintenance costs.

Utility Computing

The concept of utility computing actually goes back to mainframe days when compute cycles were metered and departments or business units were charged for actual amount if computing resources used. In utility computing, applications are typically shared, as on a mainframe or in an application server farm, and variably priced. Software as a service (SaaS) – SaaS focuses specifically on the shared use of applications that are available on demand, and paid for on a subscription basis. SaaS offers significant benefits to organizations wishing to move specific applications out of the data center entirely by relieving them of the infrastructure and the costs associated with running the application inhouse. While SaaS is beneficial to the end customer, it can often prove onerous and expensive to the provider. SaaS demands a specific architecture, known as multi-tenancy, where certain application elements are shared, while data stores remain separated. SaaS also requires significant investment in infrastructure to efficiently serve the application.

Now that you have some of the basic concepts, let’s step back in time to further understand the evolution of cloud computing. It all started with the Internet…

Then broadband got very cheap and some smart folks realized that not everyone had to build in-house data centers. In fact, they realized that the computer running the application could be pretty far away from the person using it, and only a fast connection was needed

between them.

Software as a Service

What enterprises wanted was the convenience and simplicity of SaaS, with the flexibility of traditional computing — a hybrid that allowed any software to be easily run as a service in a datacenter that someone else owns and manages. But applications could take months or years to deploy and integrate into the data center environment. That was when virtualization application builders, like rpath came into picture who released the products like rPathBuilder.


With virtualization, applications and infrastructure are independent, allowing servers to be easily shared by many applications, and applications to run virtually anywhere. That is, as long as the application is virtualized. Virtualizing the application involves packaging the application bits with everything it needs to run — including databases, middle ware and operating system. This self-contained unit — a virtualized application — can run pretty much anywhere.

If a virtualized image can run anywhere, it doesn’t have to run in your data center or in the application provider’s data center. It can run in the cloud. The cloud is a computing service that charges you based only on the amount of computing resources you use. This pay-as-you-go feature is the hallmark of today’s cloud computing and one of the things that sets it apart from software as a service.

Now comes the lovely example!

Think of cloud computing this way. Traditional, licensed software was like buying a premium sedan. For a fixed price you got all the bells and whistles, and support (the extended warranty) whether you used it or not. This required a large cash outlay, or capital expense, up front.

With software as a service, it’s like leasing a car. You get a nice vehicle, but you can’t make any significant changes to it because it doesn’t really belong to you. You pay the same amount monthly and you’re guaranteed a certain level of service on the car. You’ve avoided a capital expense and moved it to your monthly operating budget.

With cloud, it’s like having a metered cab at your disposal whenever you want it; you only pay by the distance you travel. You don’t pay for maintenance, tolls or any costs associated with the cab. You pay based on where you want to go that day, and it’s so economical that you can vary the length of your trips and not have to worry about the cost. You can even trick out the cab the way you want it because you don’t share it with anyone else.

And where does, virtualization in clouds can help in cost savings ? (The marketing part starts here, but its worth ever word of it !!!!!)

Before you hit the road, you might want to take a look under the hood to see what makes your ride go. The engine that powers cloud computing is virtualization. You can’t move without your engine, and you can’t deploy apps to the cloud without virtualization. So the first stop in any cloud initiative is to adapt applications to run as virtualized images. In a turbulent economy, cloud computing is even more attractive. Why pay for more computing capacity than you need when you can pay only for what you use? Go for the high fuel efficiency of cloud computing and you’ll never own your own car again.

For more information on cloud computing, visit

Category : General, Linux, VPS

George K.

George K.

George started his career in web hosting and Linux technical support in the year 2004 and is with SupportSages since 2009. He has keen interest in server optimizations, custom security solutions, hacked server recovery, cyber forensic and high availability fail over system design and implementation. George loves long drives and is passionate about art and literature.

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