Difference between Cloud Computing and Distributed Computing

Cloud Computing VS Distributed Computing

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is internet based computing where virtual shared servers provide a platform, infrastructure for application, file storage and other resources and hosting to customers on a pay-as-you-go basis. Customers do not own the physical infrastructure and no need to depend on the storage capacity of their local computer network rather they rent the usage from a third-party provider. Cloud computing significantly reduced the cost of computation, content storage, and application hosting.

What is Distributed Computing?

Distributed Computing is actually a distributed system which solves a large task by breaking it into several tasks where each task is computed in the individual computer of this distributed system and the user feels as his task is being performed on a single coherent system. All these computers are connected with each other to complete a task by using their own memory and pass messages synchronously or asynchronously between them. Distributed computing is mostly used to solve the complex computational problems that cannot be resolved by a single computer within a reasonable time.


In computing, Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) is software technology for setting/managing computing and data exchange in a system of distributed computers. It is mostly used in a large network in which different size servers are present far away from one another geographically. Most of DCE setup essentially requires the distributed directories to locate the DCE applications and related data. Security support and some implementations provide support for access to popular databases like IBMs, CICS, etc. also include in DCE.

In cloud computing, software licensing is providing to the customer on a subscription basis by some Saas (Software as a Service) providers. SaaS providers will install and maintain software, so, users can simply access the application via internet without installing the software locally.


Performance metrics for both computing environment are given below: –

  • CPU Speed: MHz or GHz
  • System Throughput: MIPS (Million Instructions per second), TFlops (Tera floating point operations per second), IOPS (Input/output operations per second), TPS (Transactions per second)
  • Network Bandwidth: Mbps or Gbps
  • Other Metrics: Response Time, System Availability, Network Latency

As the size of the distributed system is large, so, the system availability decreases due to a higher chance of individual system failure.


Implementation of Security in Grid Computing:

Security can be implemented in Grid Computing through connectivity layer which defines communication and authentication protocols for easy and secure network transactions. The Grid Security Infrastructure protocol underlies every grid transaction. GSI supports uniform authentication, authorization & message-protection mechanisms in multi-institutional settings. GSI also provides single sign-on, delegation and identity mapping using public key technology. A certificate authority can be utilized to establish the identity of the donor processor as well as the users and the grid itself. Some grid systems provide their own log-in to the grid, whereas other grid systems depend on the local operating systems for user authentication.

Implementation of Security in Cloud Computing:

The security model for clouds is less secure as compared to the security model adopted by grids. Cloud infrastructure typically depends on web forms (over Secure Sockets Layer) to create and manage account information for end-users. It also allows the users to reset their passwords & receive new passwords via emails and unencrypted communication which is not safe. New users can also use clouds relatively easily and almost instantly with a credit card and/or email address. On the other hand, Cloud providers give the assurance to their clients that no unauthorized person can steal their data.