What is Cloud Computing?

By Cesar Contreras

Cloud computing can be described or defined by the delivering of computing services, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence to bring about faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.

A Collection of Cloud Servers

Before the existence of cloud computing, service providers had a troublesome time delivering trustworthy software services for reasons mostly revolving around budget and infrastructure. The workaround for the inconveniences meant companies needed to be on location to be capable of providing any kind of service.

Here’s how cloud computing works. Intuitive systems run certain applications that are located on a remote machine owned by another company. You can separate this by two different processes, the front end, and the back end.

Front End: This is what the client sees on their end, usually through a computer or smartphone.

Back End: This refers to all of the components that make up the cloud computing service itself.  

Top 6 Benefits of Cloud Computing

  1. Cost
  2. Speed
  3. Global Scale
  4. Productivity
  5. Performance
  6. Security

The Types of Cloud Computing

There are two ways to define the types of cloud computing. In the first method, you can define cloud computing based on the nature of the cloud, the technology being utilized, and the status of the network. The three types of this method are public, private, and hybrid.

  • Public: Public clouds are owned and operated by third-party cloud service providers, which deliver their computing resources like servers and storage over the Internet. Microsoft Azure is the perfect example of a public cloud. With a public cloud, all hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure are owned and managed by the cloud provider solely. You are granted access to these services and can effectively manage your cloud service account using a web browser.
  • Private: A private cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network. In a private cloud, the cloud computing resources are used exclusively by a single business or organization. A private cloud can be physically located on the company’s on-site data center or servers. Some companies that do not have data centers or servers will pay third-party service providers to host their private cloud.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid clouds combine public and private clouds with technology and allows data and applications to be mutually shared. By allowing data and applications to move between private and public clouds, a hybrid cloud will give your business greater flexibility, more deployment options, and greater optimization for existing infrastructures, securities, and compliances.

Alternatively, the other method of defining cloud computing involves the deployment model or the kind of service offering. These are IaaS, PaaS, serverless computing, and SaaS.

  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service): IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) is the most basic and rudimentary category of cloud computing services. With IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), you rent IT infrastructure including servers, virtual machines (VMs), storage, networks, and operating systems from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis. An example of an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) would be Microsoft Azure.
  • PaaS (Platform as a Service): PaaS (Platform as a Service) refers to cloud computing services that supply an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering, and managing software applications. PaaS (Platform as a Service) is designed to make it easier for developers to quickly create web or mobile apps without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network, and databases needed for development. An example of a PaaS (Platform as a Service) would be Heroku.
  • Serverless Computing: Overlapping with PaaS (Platform as a Service), serverless computing focuses on building app functionality without spending time continually on managing the servers and infrastructure required to do so. The cloud provider handles the setup, capacity planning, and server management for you. Serverless architectures are highly scalable and event-driven, only using resources when a specific function or trigger occurs.
  • SaaS (Software as a Service): SaaS (Software as a Service) is a method for delivering software applications over the Internet that are on-demand and typically on a subscription basis. With SaaS (Software as a Service), cloud providers host and manage all software applications and underlying infrastructure while subsequently handling any maintenance like software updates, hardware upgrades, and security patches. Users connect to the software applications over the Internet, usually with a web browser on their smartphone device or PC. Example of SaaS (Software as a Service) is Salesforce, Google Apps, and Dropbox.

Risks of Cloud Computing

Space is a simple answer here. In the past and even today, there is a requirement for multiple sources of storage, usually numbering in the hundreds for digital storage devices. The requirements for Cloud Computing usually tend to be twice the number of storage devices to keep client information stored securely and safely. What’s the reasoning behind that requirement? Servers and hard drives have physical parts that are prone to break down. Furthermore, there could be issues in code or frameworks that can produce bugs and crashes. Multiple sources of storage will ensure that there is always a steady stream of data and information that is also secured and safe.

Uses of Cloud Computing

You may not be surprised to learn that you are using cloud computing at the very moment. The systems of Cloud Computing can:

  • Create new apps and services
  • Test and build applications
  • Store, back up, and recovery data
  • Analyze data
  • Stream audio and video
  • Embed intelligence
  • Deliver On-Demand Software

As a summary of common elements offered by providers, we can mention self-service and instant provisioning, auto-scaling plus security, compliance and management features.

Now you might be asking. Just how important is cloud computing for the industry?

It would be an understatement to say that is not a common practice nowadays. According to the 2018 Cloud Computing Survey, we can say that:

  • 73% of organizations have at least one application or a portion of their computing infrastructure already in the cloud.
  • 17% of organizations that do not have an application running in the cloud plan to do so within the next 12 months.
  • Organizations are utilizing a mix of cloud delivery models. Currently the average environment is 53% non-cloud, 23% SaaS, 16% IaaS and 9% SaaS. The trend indicates that within the next 18 months non-cloud environments will see a reduction to 31%
  • Enterprise organizations are under more pressure for total cloud migration rising up to a 38%

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