What is Cloud Computing? The Ultimate Guide
Cloud computing is a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store and retrieve data. The cloud provides a variety of IT services such as servers, databases, software, virtual storage, and networking. In general, cloud computing is defined as a virtual platform that allows data to be stored and accessed over the Internet without restrictions. A company that provides all of the above services is called a cloud provider. Provides the ability to store and retrieve data and run applications to manage it through the configuration portal. Two of the best cloud service providers currently available are Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
Types of Cloud Computing
In general, there are three basic types of cloud services.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
The most common type of cloud service is known as software as a service (SaaS). This broad category includes a variety of services such as file storage, backup, web-based email, and project management tools.
Examples of cloud service providers include SaaS Dropbox, G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, Slack, and Citrix ShareFile. Each of these applications allows users to access, share, store, and secure information in the “cloud”.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides the infrastructure that many cloud providers need to manage their SaaS tools, but don’t want to keep their own. It serves as a complete data center framework, eliminating the need for resource-intensive on-site installations.
Examples of IaaS include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and the Google Compute Engine. These providers maintain all of the storage servers and networking hardware, and they can also provide load balancing, application firewalls, and more. Many well-known SaaS providers operate on IaaS platforms.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
The cloud services model, known as a platform as a service (PaaS), serves as a web-based environment for developers to build cloud applications. PaaS provides a database, operating system, and programming language that organizations can use to develop cloud-based software without maintaining the basics.
Many IaaS vendors, including the examples above, provide PaaS capabilities as well.
How are Cloud Services Provided?
When deciding how to take advantage of cloud services, organizations must also decide what type of environment is best for their business (public cloud, private cloud, or a combination of both).
The services that service providers provide to many customers over the web are called public cloud services. The above examples of SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS provide public cloud-based services. The biggest benefit of using public cloud services is that by sharing resources at scale, organizations can provide more capabilities to their employees than would be possible on their own.
Services that providers do not usually provide to business users or subscribers are called private cloud services. A private cloud service model makes applications and data available through an enterprise’s internal infrastructure. The Platform and Software are provided by one company only and may not be used by external users. Companies that operate with highly sensitive data, such as the healthcare and banking industries, often use private clouds to take advantage of advanced security protocols and scale their resources in virtual environments as needed.
In a hybrid cloud environment, private cloud solutions are combined with public cloud services. This arrangement is often used when organizations need to store sensitive data in a private cloud, but want their employees to access applications and resources in the public cloud to communicate and collaborate on a daily basis. Proprietary software is often used to enable communication between cloud services through a single IT management console.
Example of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is the use of off-site hardware or software that is accessed over a network for computing requirements. Cloud computing examples depend on the type of cloud computing service provided.
The main types of cloud computing include Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service. Server less computing, also known as Function as a Service (FaaS), is also a popular cloud computing method in enterprises.
SaaS or Software as a Service: SaaS means accessing the platform online rather than installing software on your computer. for example:
- Online Payment Processing Arena
- Google apps like Google Drive or Calendar
- Slack allows collaboration and chat between other users
IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): IaaS provides infrastructure components such as servers, storage, networking, security, and the cloud. for example:
- Dropbox, a file storage and sharing system
- Microsoft Azure provides backup, disaster recovery, hosting, and more
- Rackspace offers data, security and infrastructure services.
PaaS or Platform as a Service: PaaS provides computing platforms such as operating systems, programming language implementation environments, databases, and web servers. for example:
- Google App Engine and Heroku, which enable developers to develop and deliver apps
- Server less computing. Server less computing (sometimes called “server less” for short) is simply the use of servers in the cloud. This provides more flexibility, ease of maintenance, and is often more cost-effective than hosting servers on site.
When providing cloud infrastructure to users, cloud service providers separate computing functions from hardware components as follows:
- CPU processing power
- Active memory in a random access memory (RAM) chip
- Graphics processing unit (GPU)
- Availability of data storage in the data center or hard disk
This abstraction is usually done through virtualization and virtual machines. Once separated, the storage, compute, and networking components are delivered to users over the Internet as infrastructure, or IaaS. This type of cloud service has given rise to cloud storage for storing big data as part of the Internet of Things (IOT). RackSpace is an example of an IaaS provider.
Cloud service providers can also use hardware resources to create cloud platforms, which are online environments where users can develop code or run applications. Building a cloud platform requires more than just extracting computer functionality from hardware components, such as when providing a cloud infrastructure. Delivering a cloud platform requires an additional level of development to integrate technologies such as container, orchestration, application programming interfaces (APIs), routing, security, management, and automation. User experience (UX) design is also an important consideration for creating navigable online experiences. A cloud platform is a type of PaaS. And if the infrastructure components that contain PaaS are highly scalable and shareable, it can be considered cloud. The best examples of PaaS clouds are public and managed private clouds.
Public Cloud Provider: Public cloud providers extract their infrastructure, platforms, or applications from the devices they own. Collect them in your data lake. Share with multiple tenants. It can also provide public cloud services such as API management, cloud-based operating systems, or development model libraries known as frameworks. Some of the popular public clouds include Alibaba Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and IBM Cloud.
Managed private cloud: A private cloud provider, also known as a managed cloud provider, provides customers with a private cloud that is deployed, configured, and managed by someone other than the customer. A cloud delivery option that helps businesses or small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that lack IT teams or lack the skills to deliver private cloud services and better infrastructure to their users.
What are the Benefits of Cloud Services?
The main benefits of using cloud services are:
Cloud service solutions that enhance scalability: The cloud service provider provides all the necessary infrastructure and software, eliminating the need for companies to invest in their own resources or allocate additional IT personnel to manage services. This in turn makes it easier for companies to scale their solutions as the user needs to change, which means either increasing the number of licenses or expanding and improving the application itself to accommodate the growing workforce.
Cut money: Many cloud services are offered as monthly or yearly subscriptions so you don’t have to pay for on-premises software licenses. This allows organizations to access software, storage, and other services without having to invest in basic infrastructure or deal with maintenance and upgrades.
Increase flexibility with cloud services: Cloud services allow businesses to purchase on-demand and on-demand services. When a particular app or platform is no longer needed, the company can simply opt out or terminate the service.
What is the Future of Cloud Services?
As the availability of cloud services continues to expand, so will their applications in the enterprise world. Whether companies expand their existing on-premises software deployments or move 100% to the cloud, these services will continue to simplify the way organizations deliver critical applications and data to their employees. From application delivery to desktop virtualization solutions and the choices in between, cloud services are changing the way people and businesses work.