In recent years, cloud computing has observed a major surge in terms of popularity due to most of the work being moved online. It’s possible that you have come across this term a lot lately and might have wondered – what is cloud computing?
If you are looking to enhance your knowledge about cloud computing, you have landed just at the right place. In this article, we are going to tell you all the essential information about cloud computing in an extensive manner.
What Exactly Cloud Computing Means?
Cloud computing is the process of delivering computing services like storage, servers, databases, software, intelligence, analytics, and networking on the web, i.e. “the cloud”. An average person uses cloud computing to store and access data and programs on “the cloud” rather than on a computer’s local storage.
The activity of storing and managing data on the physical hard drive available on your computer is known as local storage computing. That is how the computer industry functioned for decades, and it allows you to access your data easily and quickly. Cloud computing, on the other hand, requires the internet for you to store data and run programs. It allows you to access data and run programs anytime, anywhere with the help of an internet connection.
What are the Benefits of Cloud Computing?
There are numerous advantages of cloud computing but here we are going to discuss only the most prominent ones that are likely to benefit almost any user:
By using cloud computing services, you do not need to purchase any specialized hardware and software, hire IT specialists to manage the physical server, set up and run data centers, or bear the expenses for maintaining physical server infrastructure.
2. Globally scalable
With cloud computing, you do not have to worry about getting the required IT resources. A cloud service provider will ensure that it delivers the exact amount of IT resources that you require to run your business operations smoothly. You can get the desired amount of storage, bandwidth, power depending upon your business needs irrespective of where you are located in the world.
3. Increased productivity
With on-site servers, your company’s responsibility is to set up the hardware, patch software, and undertake many other IT management-related tasks. However, with cloud computing, your company does not need to perform such tasks, which leads to increased productivity. As you no longer need to manage your IT infrastructure by yourself, you can focus more time and energy to achieve your business goals.
4. High performance
Most of the top cloud services are run by secure data centers located all across the world. These data centers are updated at regular intervals of time, providing cloud computing users with the latest computing hardware and top-notch performance.
Cloud providers offer automated data backup and data recovery services, which makes your life easier and makes cloud services incredibly reliable.
Many users are worried about the security of their data when using cloud computing. However, you need to know that all the leading cloud service providers encrypt your data when they store it on their server. Even their employees cannot see or access your data, ensuring data privacy and security. In addition to this, they also have a wide array of policies and technologies that make sure your data is strongly secured and protected.
Types of Cloud Computing
There are multiple types of cloud computing and each one is suitable to meet certain requirements of users. It is for you to decide which one is the right one for you. Now, let’s take a look at the three types of cloud computing: public, private, and hybrid.
1. Public cloud
A public cloud is under the control of a third-party vendor who is responsible for delivering cloud computing services such as servers and storage over the web. One of the typical examples of a public cloud is Microsoft Azure. A public cloud provider owns all the infrastructure, including hardware, software, etc.
2. Private cloud
Private cloud is used and supervised exclusively by one company and it may or may not be located on a company’s premises. You can also get a third-party cloud provider to host your private cloud. Also, keep in mind that a private cloud maintains the services and infrastructure on a private network.
3. Hybrid cloud
The combination of public and private clouds makes up hybrid clouds. Hybrid clouds have such technology that enables the sharing of data and applications between public and private clouds. Many companies prefer hybrid clouds because they are more flexible, have more options for software deployment, and provide maximum optimization of security and infrastructure.
Companies also have the option to use multiple cloud computing services for moving toward innovation and adding more business activities, for example, establishing new sources of income and broadening the catalog of products/services. Multi-cloud environments can lead to many potential advantages, due to which a large number of businesses prefer them.
Types of Cloud services
There are mainly three types of cloud computing services: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, and they are also often referred to as the cloud computing stack because they tend to build on top of each other.
IaaS stands for infrastructure as a Service and it allows you to lease the entire IT infrastructure from a cloud service provider, including virtual machines, operating systems, servers, storage, and networks on pay-as-you-go-basis.
Benefits of IaaS
- Saves hardware expenses
- The infrastructure supports dynamic workloads
- Offers on-demand services that are flexible and innovative
PaaS stands for Platform as a Service, and this category of cloud computing provides an on-demand environment to develop, test, deliver, and manage software applications. It becomes easier and quicker for the development of web or mobile apps because developers do not have to fuss over the server infrastructure.
Benefits of PaaS:
- Enables fast development of application and thus, faster delivery
- Fast deployment of new applications to the cloud
- Makes middleware as a service less complex
Software as a service (SaaS) also provides an on-demand environment for developing and delivering software applications on the web on a subscription basis. In this type of cloud service, cloud providers are responsible for hosting and managing the software applications and taking care of the maintenance tasks like introducing security patches and software upgrades.
Benefits of SaaS
- Users simply need to sign up to start using innovative applications
- Users can access their SaaS applications using any computer having an active internet connection. These apps also enable convenient team collaboration
- Data can be recovered easily even if your computer breaks down because it is stored in the cloud
- Services are dynamically scalable according to your business needs
Examples of Common Cloud Services
To fulfill our daily computing needs some of the software applications that we use on our computer deploys cloud computing for storage purposes. Here are some examples of such applications.
- Microsoft: Microsoft Office utilizes Microsoft OneDrive for storage of your documents and files. Microsoft has a set of web-based apps as well called Microsoft Office. It includes various popular apps, including Excel, Word, OneNote, and PowerPoint that you can only use on your browser, and this makes these apps an example of cloud computing.
- Google Drive: Like Microsoft’s OneDrive, Google has its cloud storage application software which is called ‘Google Drive’. It is a pure cloud computing service, and all of the files that you create on Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are stored here automatically. Other Google services such as Google Calendar, Google Maps, and Gmail are also examples of cloud computing.
- Apple iCloud: Apple iCloud stores everything that is on all of your Apple devices and provides more cloud computing services such as automated backup, synchronization of your contacts, calendar, emails, and more. It can also work on Windows devices if you install the iCloud control panel, and it also offers cloud-based versions of Pages (Apple’s word processor), Numbers (spreadsheet), and Keynote (presentations).
- DropBox: This is a cloud storage application that is extremely simple and user-friendly. Recently, it has been enhanced with several new features which you can access by opting for its specific paid plans.
- Slack: Slack is a software application that allows sharing of messages with people using different devices. It is also an example of cloud computing even though it is just an instant messaging/communication application for teams of employees and students. Apart from Slack, there are other such applications as well, like Microsoft Teams, Workplace by Facebook, and many more.
Cloud Computing Uses
Cloud computing is slowly dominating over all other forms of computing because since everything is going online, computing is too. It has not been that long since the first cloud computing providers emerged but within a short duration, cloud computing has become immensely popular. More and more businesses are switching to cloud computing every day, be it startups, multinational companies, government agencies, or non-profit organizations.
Here are some of the common uses of cloud computing services:
- Creation of cloud-native applications
- Testing and building software applications
- Storing, backing up, and recovering data
- Data analysis
- Audio and video streaming
- On-demand software deliverance
Is cloud computing suitable for you?
Cloud computing can be great for your business but it is not always economical compared to other types of computing. It depends on your company’s goals, workload, and requirements. It might be better for you to opt for on-site computing if it fulfills your needs better.
Starting a new project on cloud computing can be easy and convenient. However, if you already have an application and need to migrate the app and its data to the cloud, it can be a bit complex and expensive. Also, there is a shortage of skilled employees in DevOps and monitoring and management of multi-cloud systems.
This factor is quite obvious – you need to have a good internet connection if you are going to be operating all your business tasks through cloud computing.
After reading this article, you must have gained enough knowledge about cloud computing and how it can be beneficial for you and your business. This article aims to make you understand in simple terms the meaning of cloud computing along with the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing services.