History and evolution of cloud computing

History and evolution of cloud computing

We have seen it, heard it, and done it. But, do we know what it is? We have been using cloud computing unknowingly through Gmail and Google docs, yet we never thought that these were cloud computing services.

The term “cloud” was actually derived from telephony. The telecommunication companies offered Virtual Private Network with good quality at affordable prices. The symbol of the cloud represented the demarcation point which was the sole responsibility of the provider. Cloud computing manages the servers and network infrastructure.

It has essentially evolved from various computing technologies like grid computing, utility computing, parallel computing and virtualization. The most recent development of cloud computing has evolved from the Web2.0 technology which caters to web applications that facilitate participatory information sharing, interoperability & user-centered design etc. Examples of Web 2.0 include wikis, blogs, social networking & video sharing sites etc.

The evolution of cloud computing can be bifurcated into three basic phases:

1.The Idea Phase – This phase incepted in the early 1960s with the emergence of utility and grid computing and lasted till pre internet bubble era.

2.The Pre-cloud Phase – The pre-cloud phase originated in the 1999 and extended to 2006. In this phase internet as the mechanism to provide Application as Service .

3.The Cloud Phase – The much talked about real cloud phase started in the year 2007 when The classification of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS got formalized. The history of cloud computing has witnessed some very interesting breakthroughs launched by some of the leading computer/web organizations of the world.

What is Cloud Computing technology?

Cloud computing is a technology that puts your entire computing infrastructure both hardware and software applications online. It uses internet , remote & central servers to maintain data & applications. Gmail, Yahoo mail, Facebook, Hotmail, Orkut, etc are all the most basic and widely used examples of cloud computing. One does not need his own PC or laptop to check some stored mail/data/photos in the mailbox but any computer with an internet connection since the data is stored with the mail service provider on a remote cloud. The technology in essence is a geographical shift in the location of our data from personal computers to a centralized server or ‘cloud’. Typically, cloud services charges its customers on usage basis. Hence it is also called Software as a Service (SaaS). It aims to provide infrastructure and resources online in order to serve its clients; Dynamism, Abstraction and Resource Sharing.

Varieties of Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is classified under various heads. On the basis of the type , usage & location, it is classified under following heads:

1. Public Cloud – When a cloud is available to the general public on a pay-per-use basis, that cloud is called a ‘Public Cloud’. The customer has no visibility over the location of the cloud computing infrastructure. It is based on the standard cloud computing model. Examples of public cloud are Amazon EC2, Windows Azure service platform, IBM’s Blue cloud.

2. Private Cloud – The internal data centers of business organizations which are not made available to the general public are termed as private cloud. As the name suggests, the private cloud is dedicated to the customer itself. These are more secured as compared to public clouds. It uses the technology of virtualization. A private cloud is hosted on the company’s own servers. Example of private cloud technology is Eucalyptus and VMware.

3. Hybrid Cloud – A combination of private and public cloud is called a hybrid cloud. Companies use their own infrastructure for normal usage and hire the cloud at events of heavy network traffic or high data load.

Conclusion – Cloud computing can perform all operations possible on a normal computer of supplemented with the right middleware at the right time.

You can enjoy the access to fastest speed and processing without actually purchasing this hardware on your own.

8 Easy Ways to Improve Your Page Load Speed

8 Easy Ways to Improve Your Page Load Speed

Webpage loading speed is an essential part of a website’s usability. Page load speed is amongst one of the 200 factors that Google considers for ranking a website in organic search.

With several other competitor websites, the need of earning website traffic and keeping user impressed with rich usability is becoming more & more crucial every day.

In fact, if a website doesn’t load quickly, chances are it’ll definitely lose potential visitors to its competitor website in a matter of seconds.

The adage “slow and steady wins the race” doesn’t apply online:

Even a delay of one-second can significantly decrease page-views, user satisfaction and drop conversions.

What’s the most prevalent factor that contributes to webpage speed?

SIZE

Web browsers take time to download the code that makes-up a webpage. It has to download data such as HTML, stylesheets, scripts and images etc. and undoubtedly, it can take few seconds to download all that data.

Today, internet users expect more engaging website designs. Hence the size of a site’s resource files will eventually continue to increase.

As, each new feature will need a new stylesheet or script, that weighs down a website just a little more.

So, how do you ensure your site is up to speed?

Well, the good news is there are some great and free resources that one can use for evaluating their website’s speed:

  1. Google’s PageSpeed Insights: Google PageSpeed insights analyze the content of a webpage and then generates suggestions to make that page faster.

  2. Pingdom: Tests load time of a webpage, analyzes it and finds bottlenecks.

  3. GTMetrix: Gives you an insight on how well your website loads and gives you actionable recommendations on how to optimize it.

These are some of the free and most popular tools for checking website speed and performance. These tools will analyze your website and tell you where you are falling behind.

Note: Sometimes results can be a bit scary, but most fixes are relatively quick & easy.

BUT, How to speed things up?

Speeding-up a website is crucial, not just to improve rankings in Google, but also to keep profits high.

So, in this post, I’m sharing some really effective ways that can be used to enhance site load speed:

1) Optimize Images:

Images on a website can consume a lot of bandwidth, and in turn which influences loading time of webpage. Reducing the size of website’s images in HTML is not enough, as that only changes the image appearance and not its actual size.

To resize images, one can use an external image editing tool like Photoshop or an online tool (tinypng.com) which allows decreasing image sizes without losing quality.

2) Reduce HTTP Requests:

According to an online survey, most of a webpage’s load time is consumed downloading different aspects of the page:

  • Stylesheets,

  • Images,

  • Scripts,

  • Flash etc.

Hence simplifying the webpage design is the quickest way to improve website speed. It can be done with the following methods:

  • Streamline the number of elements on your page.

  • Merge several style sheets into one.

  • Instead of images, use CSS whenever possible.

  • Reduce scripts and put them at the bottommost of the page.

Leaner is better, when it comes to your website.

3) Enable compression:

Enabling compression is just like putting a site into zip file. By using compression one can dramatically decrease webpage’s size and thus increase its speed.

Remember, compression is a server setting, therefore how you apply it will rely on your webserver & its settings.

Here are some popular resources for the most common webservers.

  • Apache

  • Nginx

  • IIS

4) Browser Caching:

When you visit a website for the first time, the attributes of the page visited by you are stored on your hard drive in a temporary storage or cache. Hence, when you visit that specific website again, your browser can easily load the webpage without having to send another HTTP request to the server.

By enabling browser caching you will be able to store some data temporarily on a visitors’ computer, thus they don’t need to wait for it to load every time they visit your site.

For how long you store the data relies on your server-side cache settings and their browser configuration.

5) Reduce Redirects:

Redirects generate additional HTTP requests and eventually increase website load time. It is ideal to keep them to a minimum.

However, some redirects are unescapable and required, but remember this needs an additional HTTP which upsurges the page load time.

Also, check all the broken links and if you found any, fix them right away.

Although 301 redirects (permanent) are better to 404 errors (broken links), but still they are not ideal, as they slowdown the time that browser takes to reach the right version of a page.

6) Switch off All the Unnecessary Plugins:

Installing and using too many plugins can slow down a site, create unwanted security issues, often cause crashes and numerous other technical problems.

It’s ideal to delete or deactivate all the unnecessary plugins.

Try to selectively disable plugins and then evaluate server performance. By doing so, you can easily find any plugins that hinder site speed.

7) Optimizing CSS:

Optimizing CSS means your files will download at a faster rate and ultimately give visitors faster access to your pages.

Figure out whether or not you use all of your CSS. If not, clear all the unnecessary code in your files.

Every tiny bit of wasted data can tote up to increase your website’s load speed and scare away your visitors.

It is ideal to use an external style sheet, because it reduces the code size and generates fewer code duplications.

Only use one external CSS stylesheet while setting up your styles, as additional stylesheets increase HTTP requests.

You can easily get cleaner coding by placing all the CSS in an external stylesheet.

8) Prioritize above the fold content:

One can enhance user-experience, if above-the-fold load faster and rest of the page requires a few seconds to load.

Try to split CSS by a short inline part that styles top-of-the-page elements and an exterior part that can be delayed.

Conclusion:

Size of our webpages will definitely continue to grow, as users demand a richer online experience.

However, a slight attention will go a long-way, just keep in mind that a one second delay is all it takes to lose a lead. Improving website load speed is a crucial aspect of conversion optimization.