Cloud computing is the use of a network of remote servers hosted online to store, manage and process data. This is different from a local server or a personal computer. Cloud computing facilitates the sharing of resources and services rather than direct ownership. Cloud computing services tend to be flexible in scale, with most services available through the Internet.
Cloud computing shares many attributes with grid computing and utility computing, but differs from these in that cloud systems are designed to be more elastic (i.e., capable of growing and shrinking rapidly), on-demand (users can access systems when needed without having to predict ahead of time when that need will arise), metered (users pay only for what they use), secure (through encryption), modular (allowing parts of a system to be upgraded without disrupting other parts), scalable (capable of delivering an application across multiple computers at once) or interoperable.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, and applications) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.
The cloud symbolizes the Internet in general and represents an abstraction of hardware and software layers above an information technology infrastructure. Examples include:
- Software as a Service (SaaS), which delivers applications over the internet for use by end users through web browsers or dedicated client programs such as Skype for Business, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online or Google G Suite.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS), which allows developers to build their own custom applications using third party tools such as Salesforce1 Orchard Project Management Toolkit.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), where customers rent virtual machines hosted in remote data centres.
And Software plus Services (S+S), which is a combination of software and services delivered over the internet.
How does it work?
Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.
The cloud model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service. These characteristics are sometimes called “cloud principles”.
The cloud model is an approach to providing network and computing resources that has evolved over the past several years. The term “cloud” was originally used as a metaphor for the Internet, based on characteristics such as on-demand self-service, broad network access and resource pooling. Today, however, it is often associated with infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS).
Benefits of cloud computing
Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services). These resources can be rapidly provisioned via virtualization and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.
Cloud computing benefits are:
- On-demand self-service – users can provision infrastructure as needed without human interaction with each other or with the provider’s systems; this allows them to quickly scale up or down as demand changes.
- Elasticity – provides additional capacity that can be allocated automatically based on actual usage patterns rather than predetermined plans; this enables providers to charge more (per unit time) when demand is high while still maintaining reasonable prices when it falls below a certain threshold level
Broad network access – allows users to access the provider’s services from a variety of locations and devices; this eliminates the need for most organizations to invest in extensive hardware and software infrastructure. Cloud computing technologies can reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) by enabling more efficient resource utilization.
Impact of cloud computing
Cloud computing impacts many ways, including:
- Cost savings. Cloud computing can reduce costs by up to 80% compared with on-premises solutions.
- Accessibility. You can access your data from anywhere at any time. This allows for additional flexibility in how you work and collaborate with others in your organization. This also makes employees who travel often or work remotely more productive than before. This is because they do not have to worry about losing access to their files if they are away from their desktops or laptops (or even if those devices are damaged).
- Security benefits such as disaster recovery/business continuity capabilities allow users greater peace of mind knowing that their data will be protected no matter what happens–whether there is an earthquake or hurricane that destroys the office building where everyone works together every day; someone hacks into another person’s account without permission; etcetera…
This is especially relevant for organizations that rely on data for their business, such as healthcare providers and financial services companies. Scalability. Cloud computing allows you to scale up or down depending on your needs. If you are experiencing a sudden influx of new customers (because you launched an innovative product or service), it is easy to add more servers to accommodate the load–without having to buy expensive hardware from manufacturers and wait weeks for them to be delivered.
Cloud Computing Drawbacks
Cloud computing has drawbacks. First, there’s data security and storage. As you might imagine, people are not always thrilled about their personal information being stored on a remote server that they do not have access to. This is especially when it comes to sensitive information like credit card numbers and Social Security numbers. Cloud providers claim they take several precautions to ensure security, but we all know how easy hackers can break into even the most secure systems these days.
Second, there are privacy concerns: if someone else owns your cloud services provider’s servers (that would be Google), your data is not yours anymore–it belongs to them! And if there is anything I have learned from movies like The Circle or The Net, it is that giving up control over our own information can have profound consequences (like getting fired because someone found out that one time in college when we smoked weed).
Finally, there’s performance. As anyone who has ever tried a remote desktop connection knows, it is not always the fastest way to get things done. While cloud computing can work well for things like email and office documents, it does not make sense for more intensive tasks like video editing or gaming (unless you have a fast internet connection).
In the end, it is critical to remember that the cloud is not a panacea for all your business needs. It has its own set of drawbacks and limitations, but there are also ways to mitigate them with careful planning and research. If you are considering adopting this modern technology for yourself or your business, we hope these tips have given you some insight into what makes an excellent cloud provider!