Since the birth of industry and commerce, humans have needed increasingly better ways to store data and access it whenever required. While valuable information was stored physically on paper in the pre-computer era, today, data is predominantly stored in hard drives of computers and servers. These hard drives and servers can store, process, and retrieve a considerable amount of data quickly and conveniently.
However, both hard drives and servers come with their limitations, and with the rate at which today’s businesses and industries are growing, the need for storage that can store and process increasingly more significant amounts of data has become a priority. This is where Cloud Computing has come to the rescue!
Before the inception of Cloud Computing platforms, businesses predominantly relied on servers, databases, hardware, software, and other peripherals to take their businesses online. Companies had to buy these components to ensure that their website or applications reached the users.
Besides, businesses also needed a team of experts to manage the hardware and software, and to monitor the infrastructure. While this approach was practical, it came with its unique issues, like the high cost of setup, complex components, and limited storage space, to name a few. Cloud Computing was created to address these problems.
Let’s now dive into what is cloud computing and understand the concept of cloud.
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What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud Computing is a network of remote servers hosted on the internet for storing and retrieving data. The cloud provides a number of IT services such as servers, databases, software, virtual storage, and networking, among others. In layman’s terms, Cloud Computing is defined as a virtual platform that allows you to store and access your data over the internet without any limitations.
Companies that offer all the services mentioned above are called cloud providers. They provide you with the ability to store and retrieve data and run applications, managing them through configuration portals. Two of the best cloud providers available today are Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
Now that you know what is cloud computing, let’s see what are the benefits of cloud computing.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
Cloud platforms offer some significant benefits today, which are driving businesses to adopt Cloud Computing. Those major benefits include:
- Better Security
If you want an IT resource or service from the cloud, it is available almost instantaneously, and ready for production virtually at the same time. This means that the product, service, and the go-live date hit the market almost immediately, a considerable advantage over using a legacy environment. This has helped many businesses’ services generate revenue much sooner after they go live.
Planning and buying the right kind of hardware has always been a challenge in the traditional legacy environment. If you purchase hardware that doesn’t fit your needs, then chances are you might need to live with that purchase indefinitely. However, this is not an issue with the cloud, since you do not need to buy any hardware. Instead, you pay to use the host’s hardware, and once it does not fit your needs, you can release it and can replace it with a better configuration. In that way, you save a lot of money since you only pay for the time you use.
In a legacy environment, forecasting demands is a full-time job, but with cloud services, you can easily set up an automated monitoring tool to do the job for you. That information will let you accurately upscale or downscale the rate of work you do depend on the needs.
Cloud Computing allows you to access resources, data, services, and applications from anywhere you want, as long as you are connected to the internet. If you are not connected to the internet, some tools and techniques will allow you to access the cloud whenever needed.
5. Better Security
Ensuring that your data is stored in a secure, durable place is a priority for all businesses. The cloud provides highly secure storage for customers’ data, yet letting it be accessed anytime and anyplace that it’s required. Also, all data stored in the cloud is encrypted and secured so that it cannot be tampered with.
Let’s now look at the types of cloud computing in this what is cloud computing article.
Types of Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing is multiplying, resulting in it being classified into several different categories. However, out of various categories, there are six that stand out. These six categories are further divided into two parts: the category of cloud-based deployment and the category of cloud-based services.
Cloud Computing is divided into three categories based on deployment, including:
- Public cloud
- Private cloud
- Hybrid cloud
The remaining three categories are divided based on the services they offer, including:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
Now that you have a better idea of what the cloud categories are let’s learn more about them in-depth.
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Cloud Categories Based on Deployment Models
1. Public Cloud
In a public cloud, everything is stored and accessed through the internet. This deployment system allows anyone with proper permissions to access some of the applications and resources. The most exciting part about the public cloud is that you own none of the components present in it, be it the hardware, software, or application. All the components here are managed by the provider. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are two prominent examples of the public cloud.
2. Private Cloud
A private cloud is used exclusively in organizations, which they can run locally or choose to outsource it to other cloud services providers. This infrastructure runs strictly on a private network, which means that people present in the network can only access it. VMware cloud and some of the AWS products are some of the examples of a private cloud.
3. Hybrid cloud
It is probably the fascinating form of Cloud Computing that contains the functionality of both public and private clouds. Organizations using the hybrid cloud can choose to keep some of their data locally and some on the cloud. NASA is the best-known example of an organization that uses a hybrid cloud. It uses a private cloud to store sensitive data and uses the public cloud to save and share data that can be viewed by the public worldwide.
Cloud Categories Based on Service Models
1. IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
This category consists of IT infrastructure that you can rent from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis, including servers, networks, and others. The best part about this service is that you have access to the services you provisioned, and some grant you root-level access as well. EC2, or the AWS Elastic Compute Cloud, is an excellent example of IaaS.
2. PaaS (Platform as a Service)
In this model, you are supplied with a pre-built platform from the cloud providers, where you can deploy your codes and applications. You only need to manage the codes and the applications, not the infrastructure. AWS Elastic Beanstalk is an example of a PaaS cloud.
3. SaaS (Software as a Service)
Here, the cloud providers offer you the end product, which could be an application or software that you can buy directly on a subscription. As a part of this service, the client maintains control of the software environment but does not maintain any equipment. There are some products of AWS and Microsoft Azure that provide SaaS.
Now, as you know what is cloud computing, its benefits, and the cloud categories, let's have a look at the difference between Iaas, Paas, and SaaS.
Difference Between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS
Here’s a chart that clearly shows you the difference between the cloud categories based on their services:
Let’s now look at who uses the cloud in this what is cloud computing article.
Who Uses Cloud Services?
There are several well-known organizations across the world that have already migrated to the cloud environment. Some of the examples include:
SpotifyUses the AWS cloud environment to store its vast repository of songs.
NetflixOne of the largest video streaming services, it uses AWS to allow users to stream shows from anywhere in the world.
ExpediaUses AWS cloud services to accommodate a highly scalable infrastructure.
With 83% of the total enterprise workload expected to be on the cloud by the year 2020 and 75% of all the non-cloud apps expected to move to the cloud, today’s computing landscape is witnessing a great transition. Most organizations and businesses are finding ways to migrate to the cloud for better storage opportunities, scalability, and various other services that the cloud offers. Even with all of this, the cloud journey for many organizations has just begun, and the future with cloud services looks very bright with endless opportunities to explore.
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