Studying the Potential of Moving Bahrain Ministries IT Services Into Private Cloud Computing
Information technology (IT) is not only an important part of life for many people, but it is also a booming business (Amies, et al., 2012). One of the most significant steps IT has made in recent years is the advent of cloud computing. This is similar to the old style of storing information, where everything went to a central server, or mainframe (Voorsluys, Broberg, & Buyya, 2011). The technological advances that have been seen since then mean that the way the information is sent, stored, and retrieved has vastly improved from the original design. Now companies can store all their information off-site, yet they know that information is being kept safe and can be retrieved anytime (Amies, et al., 2012). This frees up their computers and keeps them from needing IT departments and expensive servers. Letting another company handle that for them can be a great use of their time and money, but only if they get a good deal and are happy with the results.
Technologies are evolving in ways that create many opportunities for companies and governments to change their current methods of providing IT services. Most of the governments shifted from centralized IT services (mainframes) to distributed models (client/server) in the late 1980s, for safety and security reasons (Tolk, 2006). These models were distributed and managed by small IT organizations located within each entity. Now, things are changing again and this time there is somewhat of a reversal in the model that governments want to use (Amies, et al., 2012). Cloud computing is offering an alternative way of managing IT and providing services for governmental entities like those in Bahrain. The opportunity is available to build a private cloud managed by a new centralized entity that can provide most of the common IT services and staffing needed to maintain and support this new model (Amies, et al., 2012; Cohn & Samuels, 2012).
The research that will be performed will challenge the current situation, which will allow for a careful examination of the evidence both for and against private cloud computing for the government of Bahrain. While these kinds of studies have been done before, there have not been any of these kinds of studies that have specifically been done where the Bahrain government is concerned. Since it is possible that the Government of Bahrain could have unique challenges or could be offered unique benefits from moving to private cloud computing, it is important to look at the background of cloud computing as well as the background of the entity that is considering making the switch to that type of computing. An assessment will also be necessary. This will be done in order to make a final decision as to whether to move forward with studying the main drivers behind moving to a private cloud. Additionally, the key advantages, disadvantages, and risks must also be clearly stated and addressed.
The problem that has to be addressed here has to do with the key challenges that must be overcome in order to move the Government of Bahrain IT system (or at least a part of it) to a private cloud computing system managed by a centralized IT organization. There are key benefits that could be realized by moving the Government of Bahrain IT system, but there are also inherent risks. Both of those issues have to be addressed in order to ensure that the best choice is made based on the recommendations of the researcher and the information presented. Moving all of the IT system naturally has different risk and benefits than moving only a part of the system, and the two issues are separate but related. Making sure they are both discussed is vital to the credibility of the study and the information provided by the researcher.
CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
Reviewing the literature requires two distinct sections: one for information on IT and cloud computing, and one for information on Bahrain and its government. Without considering both of those areas, it would be difficult to make a complete study. The plan is to show whether the Government of Bahrain would be better served by moving all (or part) of its IT operations to a private cloud computing operation. It is not possible to make that determination without understanding the Government of Bahrain and without understanding the benefits and risks of cloud computing. Once the two areas have been thoroughly discussed, it will be possible for the researcher to consider what the best option for the Government of Bahrain would be when it comes to cloud computing and other IT options.
In cloud computing the information is stored off-site, on the servers of the cloud computing company, instead of on-site, on the servers of the business (Rochwerger, et al., 2009; Tolk, 2006). This can be done whether it is for an individual, a business, or even something as large and multifaceted as a government. Because of issues like accessibility and security, it is very important to understand how cloud computing works, along with all of the risks and benefits that can come from it. The use of computing services are not contained within the company, but are sent over a network (Amies, et al., 2012). Generally that network is the internet, but it can be another type of server or network, as well. A symbol shaped like a cloud is used to represent this type of computing, which is why it received the name "cloud computing." While clouds are simple representations, the infrastructure that is used in this type of computing is very complex (Voorsluys, Broberg, & Buyya, 2011). The software, computation, and user data is all part of the remote services that are seen in the cloud.
While there are several different types of services that are part of cloud computing, most of them fall under the umbrella of public cloud computing (Voorsluys, Broberg, & Buyya, 2011). There is also private cloud computing, which would be what would be used by the Government of Bahrain. That is more secure, and can provide a better experience for the people who are in the government and who need to make sure that the data they send and receive is highly secure (Rochwerger, et al., 2009). It is not a good thing to let others get hold of the data a person has, because that data could be misused. Instead of taking that risk, it is important to focus on private options for cloud computing. That will protect the sensitive data more strongly than public cloud computing, but there are still security concerns that have to be addressed (Cohn & Samuels, 2012). The user (the government, individual, or business) has access only to his or her data even in public cloud computing, but the chance of hacking or an accidental mishap where other data is exposed is higher the more data is stored in the cloud (Amies, et al., 2012). By keeping that in mind, the business that needs the computing services can use that to its advantage and find the cloud computing company that is really right for it.
A web browser is used to provide cloud-based applications to a company that uses the cloud computing option (Amies, et al., 2012; Cohn & Samuels, 2012). It is as simple as logging onto a particular site and retrieving the needed information. That information is stored on a server, just like it would be if the company was storing it, but that server is located somewhere else (Amies, et al., 2012). It may be down the street, across the country, or across the world. There are many different options for cloud computing resources. Even though the majority are public, there are also some that are private - and it is these private options that would be best for any entity that has to be more careful about the information it stores (Cohn & Samuels, 2012; Rochwerger, et al., 2009). One of the best advantages to cloud computing is that everyone uses fewer resources (Amies, et al., 2012). This can be likened to an electric grid or other type of utility, because there is one central location through which each person or entity uses what he or she needs. That allows these entities to use fewer of their own resources, and also allows them to take up less space in their physical locations.
The concept of cloud computing is not a new one. It has been popular since the 1950s, albeit in a slightly different form (Amies, et al., 2012). Large mainframe computers were used to store all types of things throughout a company, and those mainframes were housed in just one room. That way the people who worked at the company did not have to have individual servers at their workstations. This served two purposes. First, the workstations could be smaller and less cluttered because a server…
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