In the last decade, an IT term that has revolutionized the dynamics of the computing world is “Cloud.” It is often understood as a complex term, but it is not. Cloud is straightforward, and that’s why organizations are adopting cloud computing services to append or complement their regular functioning.
Cloud computing services are often misunderstood, and so, many organizations miss the opportunity to use them. This article briefs everything about the cloud; the definition of cloud, types of cloud, its benefits, etc. So, continue reading.
What is Cloud?
In the IT framework the word ‘Cloud’ refers to the server that the users can access through the internet to store files, or to run software databases. The cloud allows you to access everything over the internet, be it software, platforms, storage, machines, etc. You can store whatever you want on cloud and then access it afterward with the help of the internet. You can use platforms to build, develop and test your applications over the internet without having them on your machine.
Using the cloud simply means accessing resources from external servers via the internet, and these resources are saved on these servers instead of your machine. The computing power of numerous servers is pooled to serve multiple users at the same time at an affordable price.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is the architecture that allows you to use the cloud. The use of various cloud computing resources, i.e., software, applications, servers, storage, platforms, etc., is called cloud computing.
This is an environment that allows the availability of resources through the internet at the right time and in the right amount. Organizations do not have to worry about managing resources, hardware, or buying any licenses for each service used.
Types of Cloud
Every organization uses the cloud as per its own requirements. The requirements define the type of cloud deployment, the degree of access to people, how it has been hosted, etc. Based on deployment, there are 4 types of cloud, which are explained below:
1. Public Clouds
These cloud services are offered for use by the public at large, provided by some companies that provide the infrastructure, and a large pool of resources to be utilized without breaching any user privacy. The number of resources and infrastructure offered on these public clouds is massive, and thus, there is a large room for scalability.
Individuals who need resources as per their needs at an affordable price can use public clouds. Those organizations who need large computing resources to develop and test their software programs use public clouds. Here are the major benefits of using a public cloud:
- You need to pay for only what you use. If you use fewer resources, you need to pay a lesser amount and vice-versa. This is unlike private clouds, where the costs are fixed.
- Saves you a lot of money as you don’t have to incur any capital expenditure for buying any resources or hardware.
- Provides scalability, so you can access more resources in case you need it.
- Offers data security as you can back up your data on a cloud and access it in case of an emergency.
Aside from these benefits, there are certain problems associated with the public cloud as well:
- Your data is stored with those of your competitors. It is prone to attacks if security measures are not competitive.
2. Private Clouds
A private cloud is used by a single organization and provides the same services as provided by a public cloud environment. The only difference being that instead of making it available for anyone, only those associated with the organization having the private cloud could access it.
The existing infrastructure of an organization may be used to create a private cloud, or the organization may hire a third-party service provider to create the private cloud environment.
The use of grid computing and virtualization makes it possible to harness the organizational infrastructure and create an organization’s personalized data center. The top benefits of private clouds are:
- The organizations have direct control over the environment and can use resources for sudden requirements.
- As the resources are not shared, it is more secure.
- Since resources are solely used by the organization, performance is better than public clouds.
- The organization can customize the infrastructure as per the predicted needs.
Important disadvantages of using a private cloud are:
- If the organization does not hire a third-party service provider, maintaining the cloud environment may get complex for the organization and the IT team.
- It can be more expensive than the public cloud as organizations may need to hire additional staff and even buy infrastructure.
3. Hybrid Clouds
The mix of public clouds and private clouds are termed hybrid clouds. When an organization uses a combination of private and public clouds for one or more purposes, it is called a hybrid cloud.
It gives the organization the option to save more sensitive data on the private cloud while using the public cloud for storing other data. Here are the main advantages of a hybrid cloud:
- The organization has the option to choose any cloud environment as per the use of each case.
- As compared to a private cloud, the requirement for on-premises infrastructure is less.
- The data can be easily moved from the private cloud to the public cloud when required.
The cons of hybrid cloud are:
- In case your service provider does not have significant experience in managing the hybrid cloud, you may incur more costs.
4. Community Clouds
A community cloud is a model that allows several organizations of the same community to work collaboratively on a project by sharing centralized cloud infrastructure. Any community of organizations working on a common issue can use the services of a community cloud model.
One or more organizations may host a community cloud, or all the organizations can hire a third-party service provider for the said services. The benefits provided by a community cloud are as follows:
- The organizations can make decisions collaboratively in the best interest of all the users.
- Every organization has access to the controls and resources of the cloud.
The cons of a community cloud are:
- It may create a rift between the organizations regarding the usage of resources.
- Data security is not as good as that offered by a private cloud.
Cloud Computing Architecture
Cloud computing architecture involves every hardware, software, connection, etc., that makes a cloud-based delivery possible. It includes a front end, back end, network connection, et cetera.
The front-end includes the client’s system through which cloud services are accessed. The back-end includes servers, storage space, and every bit of infrastructure managed by the cloud service provider. The network connection between both ends may be based on the internet, intranet, or intercloud connection.
Types of Cloud Computing Services
The cloud computing environment is changing the way organizations work today. The different services provided by the cloud although share the same concept, there are significant differences between their features. Thus, it is important to understand each of them with their distinct offerings.
1. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
This is the bottom of the cloud computing service pyramid, which offers hardware resources to the users in the form of servers, storage spaces, virtual machines, computing power, etc.
An organization using IaaS does not have to worry about managing the underlying hardware, as they are managed by the service provider. A Linux user may access a Windows system for its application testing without having to worry about the physical whereabouts of the actual hardware.
A user needs to take care of the required applications, security measures, databases, etc., while the service provider takes care of everything else.
- Beneficial for small companies so that they can use a large number of resources without incurring any expense during the initial stage of their business.
- Saves the organizational cost and time for setting up and managing the machines.
- Eliminates the wastage of resources due to their underutilization.
- You need not spare a lump-sum amount but pay as per usage.
2. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
It is a cloud computing service most commonly used by developers. PaaS is more specialized than IaaS and allows users to create, manage, deploy and test their applications on the platforms available.
Apart from the infrastructure, PaaS provides the complete set of tools to build a software application. PaaS includes OS, DBMS, storage, server software, hosting solutions, and software development tools.
- It is a good choice for organizations that develop software and applications.
- There is no need to spare capital expenditure on acquiring tools for development as PaaS service providers take care of it all.
- For a large organization, remotely located team members can work on the same project together.
- There are several pre-coded applications provided by the service provider as PaaS tools. This saves a lot of time and speeds up application development.
3. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
SaaS is the most popular cloud computing service where a software application is made available to the user via the internet. The user can access it anywhere and whenever needed.
Most of the time, the user does not even need to download or install the software on the system and can access it via a browser. Again, the service provider is responsible for managing infrastructure, OS, DBMS, and everything else required to deliver the software.
- Only requires a subscription to access the software. Apart from it, no hardware cost or other cost is involved in accessing the application.
- Charges on a pay-as-you-go basis.
- The user does not need to update the software as it is the service provider’s responsibility.
- These applications are machine- as well as OS-independent and can run on multiple internet-enabled devices.
4. Function-as-a-Service (FaaS)
This is the youngest type of cloud computing service that is popular among developers involved with serverless computing. It relieves developers from worrying about server management before deploying an application or some business logic.
In FaaS, the cloud service provider takes care of the resource allocation, and the developer can deploy the function without maintaining the server.
- Increases developer efficiency as they can focus more on writing code instead of worrying about other problems.
- The developer only needs to deploy the function and inform the platform about its resource usage.
Advantages of Cloud Computing Environment
An organization that uses cloud computing services enjoys the following benefits:
- A cost-efficient way to use resources without needing to manage them.
- The storage capacity on cloud storage is unlimited.
- Facilitates automatic updates of software, so the organization does not have to worry about updating it on every system.
- The user can choose the individual software or application they need and pay according to its usage.
- Accessible from anywhere in the world where there is internet connectivity.
- Data backup and recovery are maintained on a cloud instead of physical devices, which is easier. It can be automated to save time.
In today’s era, every organization is moving towards an automated system of running business processes. However, it is not possible to manage each and everything on its own. Cloud computing provides a cost-efficient way to use resources as per the requirement. An organization must analyze its needs and choose an appropriate cloud-based solution.
It is important to learn about cloud computing before making a decision. This article will, hopefully, help you to understand things better and make an informed decision.