Author: Kris Jamsa
Publisher: Jones & Bartlett
Audience: Students, individual learners and general readers
Reviewer: Sue Gee
This is essentially a textbook - but what will it teach you?
As you would expect of a title published by Jones & Bartlett, this is a study book - but it is also useful for individual learners and general readers. It makes no assumptions about previous knowledge. So, as long as you haven't been cut off from the world of the Internet/Google/Microsoft/Facebook and Apple it begins in a readily understandable manner.
The first chapter is the introductory overview you need to continue to later chapters and it also sets the style of the book, which features lots of diagrams and a set format. Each chapter states learning objective at the beginning and gives a chapter summary at the end, followed by a list of key terms that have been introduced and chapter review questions. There are also plenty of exercises embedded in the many boxouts that populate the chapters . So for example the very first boxout is on the Apple iCloud and the exercise asks the questions: “What industries might iCloud disrupt? What business services do you anticipate Apple to offer in order to drive revenue through the iCloud?”
The panel gives you enough information to have a good stab at answering - and in a classroom situation a good debate could ensure. Each boxout links to additional resources on the author’s website.
Chapter 1's objective is to understand the nature of cloud computing, its relationship to Web 2.0, the four types of cloud deployment model - community, hybrid, private and public - with a brief overview of the cloud service models that are the topics of the next three chapters - SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. It then introduces virtualization, returned to in Chapter 8; and scalability, the topic of Chapter 19. A topic that is dealt with exclusively in this chapter is Grid Computing (distributed computing) and the use of idle CPU time to provide processing power.
Chapter 2 is devoted to SaaS - Software as a Service with lots of examples – Salesforce, Microsoft 365 and even Google+. The idea of a mashup, a collection of services joined together to form a solution is also introduces, as is SOA – Service-Oriented Architecture. In his look at Platform as a Service, Jamsa includes Force.com, Cloud Foundry and Microsoft Windows Azure and SQL Azure among others and for and Infrastructure as a Service covers Rackspace and Nirvanix. By the end of each of these chapters the reader should be aware of the benefits and cost involved in these approaches.
The next chapter looks at IDaaS where ID is for identity or identification. It explains Single Sign-On, SSO, and Federated Identity Management (FIDM) and again looks at available commercial products.
Chapter 6 is on cloud based data storage and products mentioned include Dropbox, Microsoft Sky Drive, Oracle Cloud, Apache Hadoop and Amazon RDS. Links from the book’s website will take you to each product’s site – but this won’t necessarily help you discover enough about them to make up for the sometimes over-brief coverage.
Chapter 7 brings us to Collaboration in the Cloud. The products discussed are likely to be familiar to many and include Skype as an example of VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and Google Voice. Google Docs is covered for document sharing as are Microsoft Office Web and SharePoint Online. One more unexpected inclusion is Wordpress for blog creation.
As you might expect VMWare is included in Chapter 8 on Virtualization although there’s more general theory here than is some other chapters. Chapter 9 on Security also has extensive discussion of the issues and its main product is McAfee. From here Jamsa moves on to the important topic of Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity.
From here the book gets rather more advanced and the general reader may begin to feel overwhelmed. Chapter 11 is on Service-Oriented Architecture and is unusual in that there’s quite a lot of code included to illustrate problems of web service performance and interoperability. Web Service Description Language (WSDL) is also introduced with a solid block of two and a half pages of code. Surely there could have been a better way to present this.
The next two chapters, 12 and 13 are on Managing the Cloud and Migrating to the Cloud and Chapter 15 is on Governing the Cloud. In between we encounter Mobile Cloud Computing, including brief mention of apps and widgets and a section “Revisiting HTML5” which made me consult the index to verify that the book hadn’t actually visited it yet – it hadn’t.
Chapter 16 is on the economics of the cloud and business considerations such as ROI – return on investment. It’s pretty different from other chapters but I found it one of the most interesting in the book. Then comes a chapter on Designing Cloud-Based solutions, which is essentially a checklist, in alphabetical order of all the issues to be borne in mind – availability, backup, capacity and so on.
Chapter 18 has the title Coding Cloud-Based Applications and it looks at three possibilities – creating a mashup with Yahoo! Pipes, using Google App Engine to create an app and creating a Windows Azure “Hello World” app. The important topic of Scalability is the topic of Chapter 19 and the final chapter is on The Future of the Cloud.
This is a book of starting points rather than in-depth coverage. By its end you have an outline of what the cloud is, what it can do and the issues that you have to come to terms. You are not going to become an expert by reading it but you will be acquainted with the jargon and should be equipped to learn more.