Cloud Computing - A Complete Guide

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is one of the achievements in today’s technological advancement. It’s the technology of today and tomorrow. Therefore, it is important to understand what is cloud computing, their benefits, how it can be used to accomplish technological requirements for any business

Definition of Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing can be defined as the delivery of computing services over the internet (“the cloud”) such as servers, storage, database, networking, software, intelligence, analytics but not limited to. The typical advantage of cloud service is that you have to pay only for what you use, helping reduce your operating expenses and run the infrastructure more efficiently and businesses can scale their change of needs.

For instance, rather keeping the data in a local storage such as hard drive, cloud based storage can help save data remotely which enables any electronic device to access the data and associated software over the internet seamlessly.

The availability of large networks, low cost computers and storage devices as well as virtualization all has led to the growth of cloud computing over the years.

Data centers
Woman standing in a data center

How does Cloud Computing work

Basically you can think cloud computing as a network computing approach where an application runs on a single server or a group of servers owned by a cloud service provider, rather than your local computer. Here, the provider rents out his resources such as server, storage, application, bandwidth, processing power as required for your business needs. In return the user has to pay for the services rented from a provider generally in a subscription model on the basis of monthly or annual or any customized way. Let’s see what the cloud computing has to offer

Virtualization: Predecessor of Cloud Computing

First of all, What makes cloud computing a reality is virtualization. Virtualization is an older concept than cloud computing. Though virtualization needs to be discussed in detail in a separate topic, Simply it is a technique or an approach that allow operating system and software to behave as to believe that they are running on a standard hardware. However, in reality it is running on top of another software called as the hypervisor

on standard, ordinary hardware while in reality they’re running on top of another kind of software known as the hypervisor (a virtual machine monitor, VMM), which simulates a real computer and so does the user experience. In order to achieve it, you can create a hypervisor on your server and then create any number of virtual machines (VM) inside of it.

Interestingly, every virtual machine can seem and act completely independent. Meaning as they are running on a separate server making sure for no any complexity and corruption among other virtual machines. It possess several advantages. For instance, we can provision new virtual machines, as explained they are virtually new servers now in a matter of few seconds. It can be duplicated with existing ones on different hardware platform though they are far from the server room.

Keeping in mind the concept of virtualization, let’s see what cloud computing has to offer you and the business

Advantage of Using Cloud Computing

Cost Reduction

Image a capital cost that you need to afford if you want to build an Information Technology Infrastructure for your business. Cloud computing eliminates those capital expenses. In fact cloud computing converts the capital cost into operating cost where you have to pay as you go or what you use that’s too on a subscription basis and not as lump sum.

Speed

Cloud Service provides self-service opportunity. Meaning you can virtually have your requirements met. You don’t need to plan your capacity requirements. Cloud Service providers make it available and It’s at the fraction of few seconds, can be made available as you require

Performance

The cloud computing services are run by tech giants and employ secure datacenters across the world, which is updated and upgraded regularly to the latest generation of fast and efficient hardware components as well as software. It provides greater economies of scale

Reliability

Data is most important for any business and so does preserving it is. Cloud Computing provides the best data backup facilities and disaster recovery options that one can do in any situation. Because, data can be mirrored at multiple sites over the cloud provider’s network.

Accessibility

It is the cloud computing that makes possible checking the emails across several devices regardless of the client’s physical location. Microsoft’s O365, DropBox and Google Drive are few examples that we use and they are part of cloud computing.

Scalability

Cloud Computing makes it easy for any business to scale its’ requirements. It’s a matter of seconds that we can scale our requirements. It makes hardware upgrade and software update a no more concern.

Disadvantages

Security

Security, on one aspect is an advantage of using cloud computing that it provides better security to our data from outsiders but in terms of privacy and the sensitiveness of the data such as medical records and financial information, there is a concern. While several regulations are in place to address these issues, it still remains an ongoing issue. Those the data is encrypted, if the key is lost, the data is lost.

Prone to Disaster

Servers maintained by Cloud companies may fall victim to natural disasters, power outages and etc. Typically servers reside in several places worldwide, and any affect one place will have an impact on others residing in different part of the world.

Learning Curve

There is a learning curve when we adopt new technologies. However, with employees access a single portal, a mistake by one employee can transfer to the entire system inadvertently

However, these disadvantages also exist in non-cloud environment however in a different form. Therefore, the advantages of cloud is so clear compared to disadvantages. With the correct business requirement analysis a business can greatly leverage the potentiality of cloud.

Types of Cloud Computing or Deployment Models

There are different types of deployment models employed among cloud providers. Most common are Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud

Public Cloud

These clouds are deployed by third party service providers who deliver their resources over the internet. For instance, Content Delivery Network (CDD) that we can use to deliver content quickly. Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are two examples of Public Cloud. Here the hardware, software and other supporting infrastructure are owned by the cloud provider which someone who subscribes to their service can access simply through internet via a web browser.

Private Cloud

As the name implies, these cloud are reserved for specific or typically single business or organization. The firm itself can deploy these cloud computing service through its’ data centre or even third parties can operate private cloud on behalf of its’ client. Here the services are provided over a private network

Hybrid Cloud

Now the term hybrid would make sense that it is the use of both public and private cloud that can be bound to technologies that allow applications and data be shared between public cloud and private cloud.

Types of Cloud Services

The services offered by cloud computing models can be broken into three broad categories. They are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (Saas).

It’s up to the business to decide what kind of service they need over the cloud. They can completely rely on cloud or they can simply choose cloud for Software. Let’s brief what these services mean

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service is the basic model provided by cloud. With IaaS, business can rent its IT Infrastructure such as servers, virtual machines, storage, operating systems from a cloud service provider pay as you go or use basis. This is attractive and in a fraction of few minutes, the organization can have it ready their IT Infrastructure through cloud.

Cloud Computing Infrastructure Services - Synergy Research Group
Cloud Computing Infrastructure Services – Synergy Research Group

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service refers to the service that provides on demand environment for deploying and managing software applications. It is second layer of cloud services and seen as a complex one out of all these three. The difference between Paas and Saas is that in PaaS instead of providing the software applications, it provides the platform where the business can develop, test and manage their software applications.

Software as a Service (Saas)

Software as a Service (Saas) is the simplest model of Cloud Computing services where the provider provides the software application over the internet under a subscription model. A clear example for this is Microsoft’s Office 365. You can subscribe to it and access typical Microsoft Office Applications along with other collaboration tools over the internet.

The SaaS is the most commonly used Cloud Services regardless of the size of the organization.

Uses of Cloud Computing

Regardless of the possible list of services below are few purposes that you can use cloud computing services to fulfill

  • Email Server and Management
  • Storage, backup, and data retrieval
  • Creating and testing apps
  • Data Analytics
  • Audio and video streaming through Content Delivery Networks (CDN)

Leading Cloud Service Providers

There are big players in the technological market who provision the cloud computing services to businesses.

Predictions for cloud computing revenues to 2021 from 451 Research
Predictions for cloud computing revenues to 2021 from 451 Research

Above all, Following are the big players competing each other in the cloud computing business industry

  • Google Cloud
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Microsoft Azure
  • IBM Cloud

Let’s be a part of the technological change that redefines the way we do business.

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