What Is Cloud Computing and the Top Cloud Technologies to Look Out for in 2021

Everybody’s talking about the cloud today. Granted, not everyone has a clear picture of what cloud computing is and what it does, but that doesn’t stop the topic from being discussed by professionals and “regular folk” alike.

Let’s take a few moments and discuss cloud computing, what it is, how it works, and what kinds of cloud technologies we can expect to see in 2021.

We begin with a refresher on the meaning of the term “cloud computing.”

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is the process of delivering on-demand IT services, including analytics, databases, networking, servers, and storage via the internet. These virtual services provide faster innovation, ease of scalability, and greater resource flexibility.

Most cloud models require you to pay only for the resources you use, making it a cost-effective method of incorporating IT into your business without investing in an in-house data center.

Cloud technologies include virtual services such as software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS), to name a few.

If you’d like some more in-depth information about cloud computing, check out this Video.

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How Does Cloud Computing Work?

If we want to better understand how cloud technologies work, we need to look at the three cloud technology deployment models.


Public clouds are the most common and popular type. This product is offered to customers by cloud providers, and the resources are accessible via the public internet. The providers take care of everything concerning infrastructure. Providers include (but aren’t limited to) Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform.


The private cloud is like an in-house data center. The organization pays for and manages the infrastructure and staff and enjoys the usual cloud computing benefits like scalability and resource sharing by leveraging virtualization.

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The hybrid cloud combines the public and private models, linking them via the internet and virtual private networks. The hybrid model is ideal for businesses that want to have an offsite virtual backup for disaster mitigation or if the organization has used up all its in-house resources and requires additional computing power. Hybrid works particularly well if an organization has data stored on a public cloud, thereby freeing up storage space in the private cloud for private and confidential data.

Regardless of the chosen model, customers shop around for their ideal cloud provider and decide what services they want to use (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS). In fact, you may already be using a SaaS without realizing it! If you use apps such as Slack, Dropbox, Microsoft Office 365, or DocuSign, then congratulations, you’re using SaaS.

Since providers offer cloud services as subscriptions, the customer decides the usage level (many providers offer ascending tiers of user ranges) and pay a monthly, or annual, fee to access the resources in question.

Now before we look into cloud technologies, let us learn the advantages of cloud computing.

The Advantages of Cloud Computing

The primary, all-encompassing reason to adopt cloud computing is that the business doesn’t need to concern itself with building, staffing, and maintaining an in-house data center. The company pays the provider to worry about all that.

However, there are many more advantages to using the cloud, such as:

  1. Cost-efficiency. Customers don’t have to buy equipment or pay the salaries of an entire IT department to maintain and upgrade infrastructure and related software. And let’s not forget the elimination of other related expenses like utility costs (e.g., electricity).
  2. Speed. Cloud providers supply their customers with rapid, on-demand self-service, so just a few clicks of a mouse brings any needed resource expansions up and running online.
  3. Elastic scaling. Maybe a company needs more cloud resources during certain times of the year (e.g., holiday sales, month-end accounting) and fewer resources at other times. Elastic scaling gives the customer access to the right amount of resources (e.g., storage, processing power, bandwidth) only when they’re needed through automation.
  4. Increased productivity. As a rule, cloud computing doesn’t result in the complete removal of the customer’s IT department, but it does reduce the necessity of having a vast department. With the cloud provider handling time-consuming, mundane chores like software patches and hardware setup, the customers can have a streamlined, efficient IT department free to handle the more strategic business needs.
  5. Security. Although the idea of having confidential data stored offsite on a shared server sounds scary, cloud providers know that if they want to stay in business, they better provide excellent security. Fortunately, they do.
  6. Business continuity. Cloud computing can back up and mirror useful data on many redundant network sites, making it easier for businesses to recover from disasters.

The Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

If cloud computing were perfect, everyone would be doing it. And although cloud computing is a prevalent and continuously growing platform, it brings along its share of drawbacks that prevent it from being universally embraced.

  1. What was that about the cost? Just like renting a living space isn’t necessarily cheaper than buying a house outright, cloud computing platforms aren’t always a great bargain. The cost comes down to the business’ unique needs and situations. It could be that it’s cheaper to have a small, in-house data center that runs the same applications as clockwork every month.
  2. Migration can also be expensive. In some situations, migrating from an in-house system to the cloud may incur excessive expenses and pose a significant difficulty.
  3. There are still trust issues. Some businesses balk at the idea of their confidential information stored on the same servers as their competitors’ data, potentially crippling a competitive advantage.

We will now learn about the top cloud technologies.

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The Top Cloud Technologies

The term “technology,” when used in context with cloud computing, is fluid. For example, some experts consider the above-mentioned deployment models (SaaS, etc.) “cloud technologies.” With that in mind, here are other technologies and terms that will figure prominently in the cloud industry in 2021.

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Edge cloud computing will cut into the traditional cloud platform market shares. Rather than a centralized cloud network, network edge computing leverages smaller, containerized, portable components being processed on a network of decentralized servers. This architecture involves positioning processors, data storage, and servers as close as possible to the users who need them the most. Edge cloud computing reduces the distances between the processor and the end-user points of network functionality, resulting in minimal latency, easier maintenance, and a smaller carbon footprint.


According to the Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud report, serverless was one of the five fastest-growing PaaS cloud services that year. Often referred to as Function as a Service (FaaS), serverless computing lets developers write and deploy code without concerning themselves with provisioning cloud resources. Automation takes care of the server’s configuration and provisioning, so that developers can devote their time and energy to coding.


Secure Access Service Edge (or SASE and pronounced “sassy”) is a network architecture that improves remote access by combining software-defined wide area network (WAN) functions with cloud-native network security assets. These assets include secure web gateways, firewalls as a service, zero-trust network access, and cloud access security brokers. We can thank the increased work at home practices brought about by COVID-19 for SASE’s rising importance.

Cloud Migration and Data Privacy

The new workforce reality spurred by COVID-19 has also pushed secure data migration to the forefront of IT and data governance teams. With more people working remotely, the concepts of data encryption and consumer privacy will take on increased importance.

Automated Cloud Orchestration 

Sometimes, the sheer number of interconnected services overwhelms the best of IT organizations. These increased demands for better quality and more significant quantities of interconnected services have boosted the development of automated cloud orchestration and optimization to a high-priority undertaking.


Increased competition among cloud platform providers has resulted in some providers partnering up in interconnecting relationships. These multi-cloud environments help smaller providers take on the big guys, such as AWS. This arrangement, also called “joint cloud provider offerings,” lets customers migrate across linked cloud platforms, giving them more power to run their heavier workloads.

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Your New Career is in the Clouds

The future of cloud computing looks bright, and that translates into more career opportunities in an ever-growing field. However, to get established in a cloud-based career, you need to master specific skills.

Simplilearn offers a whole range of cloud-based training courses and bootcamps, perfect for both the aspiring beginner and as a means of upskilling for the experienced cloud professional.

For the beginner, check out the AWS Solutions Architect Certification Training Course. This course enables you to design, plan, and scale AWS implementations utilizing over 70 cloud computing services. You will master AWS architectural principles and services such as IAM, VPC, EC2, EBS, and elevate your career to the cloud and beyond. Additionally, the AWS course is aligned with the latest AWS exam featuring Amazon designated best practices.

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According to Ziprecruiter.com, cloud architects can earn an annual average of USD 153,318, with a ranger between USD 89,500 and 210,500. Let Simplilearn open the door to an in-demand, well-paying career on the cutting edge of information technology. Check out these cloud courses today!

About the Author


Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

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