What Is Cloud Computing (Computing As A Utility)
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What Is Cloud Computing (Computing As A Utility)

Hi, thanks for tuning into Singularity Prosperity. This video is the tenth in a multi-part series discussing computing. In this video, we’ll be discussing what cloud computing is and the fundamental change it brings in how we view and think about computing. To better understand the massive revolution cloud computing will bring and is bringing to the field of computing, let’s first go back in time and view a similar revolution with electricity. Before the height of the industrial revolution, electricity had to be generated in house, this had many downsides: every worker lost to generating electricity was one less to make the factory more productive and scalability was a major issue, at times when production of the factory went up, there wouldn’t be enough generated electricity, causing power outages and a loss of production. Thus, often times more electricity that needed was generated which was quite costly. Then in the 1880s, Thomas Edison, founded the Edison Illuminating Company, turning electricity into a utility. In other words, something that could be switched on and off whenever desired, delivering the exact amount of power needed at a cost per unit, in the case of electricity, watts. Electricity as utility allowed for mass productivity increases and sparked further exponential growth in the industrial revolution, referred to as the second industrial revolution, this because electricity as utility lowered the barrier to starting and maintaining a business, thus leading to more innovation. Coming back to present day, this analogy has strong correlations to transformations seen in computing. When running a website or application in the pre cloud computing days, every individual business with an online presence had to maintain servers that allowed users to access their site, this is referred to as hosting. Like with electricity, sometimes more users will access the site and sometimes there will be little to no users on the site. To prevent site crashes on periods of high traffic which therefore equated to lost users and customers, more servers than needed often had to be purchased. These servers are very costly, racking up bills even when they aren’t used to full capacity. Also like the electricity analogy, having a large team of sysadmins, network engineers, etc takes away productivity from the true goal a business is trying to achieve, therefore making the barrier to a scalable business high and costly. Now, with cloud computing, we are witnessing a revolution in how computing power is allocated, in other words, viewing computing as a utility. Cloud computing has seen an incremental evolution over the past decade, in large part due to the exponential increase in computing performance, with cloud computing currently growing at a rate of 23 percent per year. Before discussing the primary types of cloud computing, what exactly is it? Well, the best way to think about it is to think about actual clouds. A cloud is formed via a dense cluster of water molecules that appear as a single object from a distance, thus taking this concept, cloud computing refers to a dense cluster of computers working together that appear as a single computing resource. There are many companies in the cloud computing race now, to list some of the biggest cloud providers: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud – the list can go on and on. Essentially, the cloud services these companies provide are through vast data centers made for public use. As discussed previously, for a business to manage its online presence, in-house servers and maintenance was required, which racked up costly bills and was counterproductive to the true goals of the business. This is where the first type of cloud computing came into play: Infrastructure-as-a-Service, IaaS, where the hardware, in other words, the hosting environment was abstracted away. Like with an electricity meter, businesses only pay the cloud provider for the exact amount of computing power used. So, when there is a heavy load on a cloud hosted site, more is charged due to increased computing demand, and with less traffic, significantly less is charged. The next type of cloud computing is, Platform-as-a-Service, PaaS, this is where the operating system and software backend is abstracted away. While IaaS provides the infrastructure for hosting an application, everything else involved in backend development is not covered. This is the role PaaS fills, backend services, including data management in the form of databases and middleware which is the plumbing between the components of an application to make sure everything works together. The last type of cloud computing we’ll discuss is, Software-as-a-Service, SaaS, this is where the software runtime is abstracted away, essentially a layer in the cloud for program execution. This part of the cloud affects us, the consumers, the most, allowing our devices to do minimal processing when running an application because processing is instead done in the cloud and results deliver to our devices. The best analogy for these 3 layers is a cake: IaaS is the large base of a cake, PaaS is the frosting that covers the cake and SaaS is the eye-catching candle on top that people see first. Over the years, the boundaries between these layers is becoming more and more muddled, with the industry heading towards a serverless future, also called, Functions-as-a- Service, FaaS. This is the combination of all three types of cloud computing we’ve discussed, more on this in the next section. A serverless future provided through cloud computing is the new paradigm, this further exemplified by the fact that the price of cloud computing is decreasing due to increasing computing power. This is referred to as Bezo’s Law, where the CEO and founder of Amazon stated: a unit of computing power price is reduced by approximately 50% every 3 years. The unit of measurement for the allocation of computing power varies by provider due to the types of cloud computing they provide, for example, per gigabyte of RAM used, per gigabyte of storage, kilowatt hours of computing used, etc. The reason for the drop in price and increase in power for these units extends to topics we discussed in previous videos in this computing series that deal with advances in both hardware and software such as GPUs like Volta, new memory devices as well as standards and much more! [Music] When electricity became a utility, the barrier to entry of a scalable business dropped and led to innovation at an exponential rate, computing as utility does this once again. This is easily observable by startup culture today, where anyone with a vision or idea can immediately establish an online presence and proof of concept of their application or website. Whereas in the past, expensive servers would have to be maintained and overhead of extra staff, now with cloud computing and serverless architecture all of that is taken care of at a bare minimal cost. As the application starts to become more popular, all you have to do now is increase your cloud plan through your cloud service provider. There are many services offered by cloud providers to accelerate development and innovation, to list a few: Amazon Lumberyard for game development, Salesforce for e-commerce applications, Amazon Web Services for all encompassing serverless architecture and many more. As a side note, our site singularityprosperity.com is hosted on AWS. Amazon Web Services offers comprehensive big data services that enable retailers to perform sophisticated analytics at lightning-fast speeds, allowing for real-time analysis and insights that drive your business. With Amazon Kinesis, you can quickly ingest different data streams from mobile and web purchases, POS transactions and customer data. Store this data in an Amazon S3 data lake and use Amazon Athena to run ad-hoc analysis and interactive queries like customer shopping patterns and product preferences. With AWS Lambda you can set up code that responds to certain triggers and events, like querying Amazon DynamoDB, a NoSQL database, to respond to customer questions about product assortment and availability or to generate sentiment analysis from social media. Storing it in a fully managed data warehouse like Amazon Redshift and then visualizing an identifying customer sentiment over time with Amazon Quicksight. Amazon EMR provides retailers with a managed Hadoop analytics framework that makes it easy fast and cost effective to process vast amounts of transaction data, online browsing behavior, in-store shopping trends and product preferences which can guide inventory and pricing strategies. With the broadest and most advanced set of analytic services supporting every workload imaginable, AWS provides everything a retailer needs to collect, store, process, analyze and visualize big data in the cloud. Beyond the impact to business and startups, cloud computing is beginning to have a major impact on us, the consumers as well due to cloud services and service architecture. Cloud services for consumers used to just be about storage such as Dropbox and Google Drive. Now, however, they are beginning to expand to every industry, to list some examples: cloud music like Apple Music and Spotify and cloud gaming that Nvidia is working on with GeForce Now. In fact, these services are now extending towards virtual desktops as well, where any application can be run in the cloud. An example of this is Amazon Workspaces, where any Windows application can be run in the cloud. From intensive programs like After Effects and Cinema 4D to productivity applications like Microsoft Office and everything in between. In terms of the impact of serverless architecture on consumers, it essentially means our devices will be able to do more with less processing power, since the most computationally intensive tasks will be computed in the cloud. Let me explain this and extrapolate the future of cloud computing. There are three layers: cloud data centers, fog nodes and edge devices. Cloud data centers are the giant facilities that companies such as Amazon and Google have, the scale of them globally are in the thousands. Fog nodes are small-scale data centers or servers that can be installed anywhere, from the floor of a building, inside a railcar – the list can go on and on. Simply put, any device with computing, storage and networking is a fog node and their scale will be in the millions. Edge devices are simply any internet-connected device, from our mobile phones, self-driving cars, sensors and the countless IoT devices that are coming to market, their scale will be in the billions. With the growth of machine learning and artificial intelligence, more and more edge devices will require instantaneous big data insights, such an example is self-driving cars that are constantly learning and adapting to their environments. It is impractical to have edge devices themselves be powerful enough to compute these analytics, but what they can do is make inferences based on current machine learning models they have and acquire large amounts of data. This newly acquired data is then sent to the cloud so updated machine learning models can be made and then sent back to the edge device. The purpose of fog nodes is to reduce the latency of access to the cloud due to the vast amounts of devices that will need connectivity. Instead of connecting to a data center far away, the fog acts as an intermediary that stores analytics closer to the edge. We will cover edge computing much more in depth in this channels AI and Internet of Things series! Also if you’re curious about issues of latency between the edge, fog and cloud – be sure to check out this channels previous series on 5G and video on optical computing! At this point the video has come to a conclusion, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to watch it. If you enjoyed it, consider supporting me on Patreon to keep this channel growing and if you want me to elaborate on any of the topics discussed or have any topic suggestions, please leave them in the comments below. Consider subscribing for more content, follow my Medium publication for accompanying blogs and like my Facebook page for more bite-sized chunks of content. This has been Ankur, you’ve been watching Singularity Prosperity and I’ll see you again soon! [Music]


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  • DKLK

    Try to speak a little more slow and clear. No need to rush. You're sometimes a little hard to follow in my opinion. Great video nontheless!

  • Rami M.J

    Your videos are amazing!, One of my favorite contents in all of youtube.

    You forgot to mention how cloud services such as 'Virtual gaming machines' will explode in popularity when 5G becomes mainstream, As it'll allow very low latency connection.
    Imagine playing Playstation games with just a TV connected to the cloud, Or your gearVR games having the same graphical capability of a high-end PC!

  • Merv Johnson

    Just as renewable energy is making it trendy and practical for you to generate your own power again (ie, solar + batteries), is it possible that in the far future computing will also return to the private user in some new form?
    Like a private AI device to manage your interactions/data with these clouds? Could I buy a JARVIS server the size of a lamp and plug it into whatever counts as my router in the future?


    You need to make a video about UNIX and it's history. A lot of users on here need to know how important it was.

  • Ale Buser

    Hi great video, you channel is super undersubscribed, cant wait for the IoT series, will you be touching on IOTA in that? They are doing great work in fog computing, digital id and data as a service

  • David Nikolić

    I enjoy your videos very much. I know you cover topics about current and future computing technologies but i was thinking would you be doing some hypothetical sci-fi concepts like matrioshka brain or using a celestial body computer? Or limits of computation? Just a thought.
    Kind regards, keep up the good work

  • not Justin

    Love your videos! Can't believe how small the channel is! Just keep up the good work and I'm sure this will become a large channel!

  • Thor

    This channel is surprisingly good…!!!
    Visuals are amazing. Try to make the speech more clear and distinct.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Jonathan Paul

    Great stuff man. Just got done watching all your videos. You got a new sub. Can’t wait to see more of your work. Your delivery is 100% on point. Love it and will be back for all future videos!

  • Relaxing Gaming

    Donate to his patreon guys he deserve at least 800k subscriber help him if you can. The amount of work vs the amount of money he get from the video must not be crazy but I believe it is high quality content. I don't think that he can invest much into ads to popularise the channel but he'd deserve more attention. Too much workload can affect video quality, something that I'd guess he don't want to. This is all my speculation but in any case I think he deserve that patreon sign up that is if you are in a situation where you can afford it, that'd help the channel to grow a lot.

  • David Nikolić

    I dont know why people complain about his voice?? His speech is entirely understandable. In any case there are captions.. If the auto-generated ones arent good enough I could make some myself

  • Shawn Smith

    great videos. I just watched this whole series (half your videos) over the last few hours. Even with the many video clips thrown together, the quality of your uploads is way better than most of the documentaries on tv or elsewhere. I'd mention a bunch of topic requests, but the list would probably be too long to be practical.

    Maybe a video going over general trends/future predictions in computer technologies including nanotechnology, robotics, mobile, transportation, weaponry/military systems, 3D printing, cryptology/security, *nix, computer science/mathematics, etc.

    In any case, keep up the great work.

  • Koaasst

    I understand fine, no need to change a thing. On the playlist it lists the 11th video as private, is there a subscriber option to view new videos?

  • Pixii Bomb

    Fantastic quality video, but that monotone voice brings down the quality.
    I had to focus on the subtitles, which took away from the visual presentation. And since I'm a visual learner, that was a bit of a let down :

  • Dylan Smith

    There will never be a serverless future. The cloud is built around IOT connectivity. The fog you refer to is just a subset of many computers also connected to the net. That is what the cloud is. When you connect to me, I become the host. My device effectively becomes a server. The principle applies to all devices on the web, corporate or end user. It does not matter.
    People think of servers as giant racks, but they can be in any shape or size.


  • D Man

    With operating systems and processing being done online it makes upgrading way easier. What if I owned a cloud of components like graphics card, or basic processor, high speed processor, regular graphics card, virtual reality graphics card, The computer is basically virtual from a normal persons point of view. Computers at home would just be display screens with a Lifi connection. Maybe they could work on New products then like VR rooms, higher resolution screens, Augmented reality glasses. You could buy packages like apps for your virtual computer, like when you buy a movie on Google play store. Computers could be like a utility like electricity, rather than needing to keep wasting so much time on getting new hardware to many customers we can just update the software on virtual computer maybe for a price, This would be way better hopefully with 5G its going to happen,

  • Dr. Fresh_2k

    I don't like the idea of cloud computing. It feels like your giving somebody else ownership over your life. I'm okay with IAAS but…. FUCK SAS!!!

  • Rationalific

    This is good information, and interesting, but once you really notice the constant "swooshing" and "popping" of things onto the screen, then it gets annoying very quickly, and it's hard to concentrate on anything else.

  • Henoc Fajar

    I really love the content. However, I have to decrease the speed when I would like to use your beautiful video in my English class. I hope you can slower your talking pace. But, I really love your video content, plot and animation. Compact and straight-forward.

  • Rob Smit

    Hi, thanks for offering this video, but in future episodes please speak slower, and eliminate the background music as it makes understanding harder.

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