Monday, May 17, 2010

Cloud Computing Portal For SMEs - Curtain Raiser

As our final year project, two of my classmates (A. Raghuveer and G. Nishanth) and I are working on a project (Cloud Computing Portal for SMEs) under the domain of Cloud Computing.

In this blog-post, I will be introducing the domain of Cloud Computing and give a small overview of our project. In a few days, I will be unveiling the code along the documentation at -, so keep checking this space for more updates.

Here's a short video about the project -

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is a paradigm in the field of computing. Technically, Cloud Computing is defined as -

"A computing capability that provides an abstraction between the computing resource and its underlying technical architecture, enabling convenient on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction."

From a customer's perspective, Cloud Computing is a cost-effective solution offering flexibility in usage at low investment costs. From a vendor's perspective, Cloud Computing helps in reducing the operational costs of a data-center with a high degree of customizability. Cloud Computing allows vendors to reach more and more customers with a low cost of delivery.

Cloud Computing is mainly built on its delivery mechanisms which define the service being provided by an application running in a Cloud Computing environment. There are hundreds of delivery mechanisms available like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Data as a Service (DaaS).

Advantages of Cloud Computing include Reduced Costs, Increased Storage, High Levels of Automation, Flexibility, More Mobility, etc.

Cloud Computing Portal for SMEs

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are companies whose headcount or turnover falls below certain limits. In most economies smaller enterprises are greater in number. In many sectors, SMEs are responsible for driving innovation and competition. In India, the Micro and Small Enterprises sector plays a pivotal role in the overall industrial economy of the country.

Every organization consists of several applications like -

  • Financial Accounting
  • HR Payroll
  • Inventory Control
  • Management Systems

Every organization makes a certain investment in its core infrastructure for these applications and for scalability and expandability of this infrastructure; Cloud Computing Centers are viable solutions.

This approach is very useful in high-risk SMEs where the requirements are high, stability is low and sustenance is risky. This methodology allows such organizations to outsource their mundane housekeeping tasks to Cloud Computing Centers and pay as per their usage. This reduces their initial investments for hardware and software, minimizing their risk. As time progresses and things stabilize in the organization, situation can compare the available options and proceed accordingly.

Cloud Computing Centers benefit from the fact that they leverage their hardware and software across multiple SMEs. With appropriate planning, the breakeven point can be reached easily and as time progresses the center can profit from such a venture.

Understanding this potential market, the project concentrates on SMEs by providing them with business applications on demand. These applications form a web portal, which is distributed across multiple Cloud Computing environments to avoid vendor lock-in.

The applications covered as a part of the project are -

  1. Self-Managed Repository
  2. Name Finder
  3. Knowledge Management System
  4. Sales Management System
  5. Appraisal Management System

These applications are the primary requirements of any organization, irrespective of its sector - Education, IT, Banking, Automobiles, etc. and every organization needs them for its proper functioning.