Charlie Calvert on Elvenware

Writing Code and Prose on Computers


Cloud and Virtual Computing

These pages are about cloud computing and the closely related field of virtual computing.

Cloud Sites on the Web

Online Development

Thanks to Tim Hoogasian for contributing some of the links found above.

Online Photo Editing

Thanks to Tim Hoogasian for contributing a significant number of the links found above.

Online Meeting Rooms

Mind Mapping


Thinking about the Cloud

The cloud consists of hardware and software resources accessed over the Internet. These scalable resources are provided as metered services such as applications, development platforms, storage, or even an entire OS. More formally, these services are designated as follows:

We do not need to know where, or exactly how, the cloud is configured. In general, however, the cloud consists of a series of huge data centers.  Each data center will host thousands of relatively inexpensive physical machines. Each physical machine will host multiple virtual machines. Typically these data centers are owned by huge corporations such as Microsoft, Google, or Amazon.

Cloud computing is not a new technology, rather it is an evolutionary step in a continuing process. The word cloud is an abstraction standing like a shroud in front of a lot of real world technologies. Much of the work we do in the cloud revolves around our understanding of how those big abstractions apply to specific technologies.

Cloud Image Figure: Original image by Sam Johnston at the Creative Commons.

When first approaching the cloud it can be helpful tend to focus on three main themes:

The code we write exists on the both the client and the server. It ranges from:

Here are some practical examples of things I do to gain experience with the cloud: 

The more we work with these technology the more employable we are, the more we are able to tap into the power of the cloud, and the more fun we have.

It is hard to laud any one technology as the most important. Many different cloud based pursuits are valuable. For instance, if we use third party cloud tools, we gain experience that can help us:

In general you will gain valuable experience working in one important part of the cloud, so by all means, please pursue this idea.

Sometimes, however, we gain even more experience just working on our home machines without ever venturing into the bigger cloud. For instance, we set up virtual machines that help us:

Virtual machines are useful for several reasons. Here are a few: