What is Cloud Computing?
Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services, servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence and more. Particularly over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use. Moreover, this helps to lower your operating cost, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale up during a business change.
How it works
While cloud computing services all work a little differently, many provide a friendly, browser-based dashboard that makes it easier for IT professionals and developers to order resources and manage their accounts. Some cloud computing services are also designed to work with REST APIs and a command-line interface, giving developers multiple options.
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Who uses Cloud Computing services and why?
For instance, corporates and government entities utilize cloud computing services to address a variety of application and infrastructure needs. Such as CRM, database, computing, and data storage. Unlike a traditional IT environment, where software and hardware are funded up front by the department and implemented over a period of months, cloud computing services deliver IT resources in minutes to hours and align costs to actual usage. As a result, organizations have greater agility and can manage expenses more efficiently. Similarly, consumers utilize cloud computing services to simplify application utilization, store, share, and protect content, and enable access from any web-connected device.
You’re probably using cloud computing right now, even if you don’t realize it. If you use an online service to send email, edit documents, watch movies or TV, listen to music, play games, or store pictures and other files, it’s likely that cloud computing is making it all possible behind the scenes. The first cloud computing services are barely a decade old, but already a variety of organizations—from tiny startups to global corporations, government agencies to non-profits—are embracing the technology for all sorts of reasons. Here are a few examples of what’s possible today with cloud services from a cloud provider:
1. Create new apps and servicesQuickly build, deploy, and scale applications—web, mobile, and API—on any platform. Access the resources you need to help meet performance, security, and compliance requirements.
2. Test and build applicationsReduce application development cost and time by using cloud infrastructures that can easily be scaled up or down.
3. Store, back up and recover dataProtect your data more cost-efficiently—and at massive scale—by transferring your data over the Internet to an offsite cloud storage system that’s accessible from any location and any device.
4. Analyze dataUnify your data across teams, divisions, and locations in the cloud. Then use cloud services, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, to uncover insights for more informed decisions.
5. Stream audio and videoConnect with your audience anywhere, anytime, on any device with high-definition video and audio with global distribution.
6. Embed intelligenceUse intelligent models to help engage customers and provide valuable insights from the data captured.
7. Deliver software on demandAlso known as software as a service (SaaS), on-demand software lets you offer the latest software versions and updates around to customers—anytime they need, anywhere they are.
Benefits of cloud computing
Cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources. Here are seven common reasons organizations are turning to cloud computing services:
1. Reduced running Cost
Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running on-site datacenters—the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. It adds up fast.
2. High-performance Expectations
The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure data centers, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate data center, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.
3. Large scale Productivity
On-site datacenters typically require a lot of “racking and stacking”—hardware set up, software patching, and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for many of these tasks, so IT teams can spend time on achieving more important business goals.
4. Improved and increased Speed
Most cloud computing services are provided self-service and on demand, so even vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, typically with just a few mouse clicks, giving businesses a lot of flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.
5. High-end Security
Many cloud providers offer a broad set of policies, technologies, and controls that strengthen your security posture overall, helping protect your data, apps, and infrastructure from potential threats.
6. Global scale Coverage
The benefits of cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. In cloud speak, that means delivering the right amount of IT resources—for example, more or less computing power, storage, bandwidth—right when it’s needed, and from the right geographic location.
Types of cloud computingNot all clouds are the same and not one type of cloud computing is right for everyone. Several different models, types, and services have evolved to help offer the right solution for your needs. There are different types of cloud computing; including public, private, and hybrid. First, you need to determine the type of cloud deployment, or cloud computing architecture, that your cloud services will be implemented on. There are three different ways to deploy cloud services: on a public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud.
Public cloudPublic clouds are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service providers. Which deliver their computing resources like servers and storage over the Internet. Microsoft Azure is an example of a public cloud. With a public cloud, all hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider. You access these services and manage your account using a web browser.
Private cloudA private cloud refers to cloud computing resources used exclusively by a single business or organization. A private cloud can be physically located on the company’s on-site datacenter. Some companies also pay third-party service providers to host their private cloud. A private cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network.
Hybrid clouds combine public and private clouds. Specifically bound together by technology that allows data and applications to be shared between them. Eventually, by allowing data and applications to move between private and public clouds. A hybrid cloud gives your business greater flexibility, more deployment options, and helps optimize your existing infrastructure, security, and compliance.
Types of cloud services: IaaS, PaaS, serverless, and SaaSMost cloud computing services fall into four broad categories. Including, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), serverless, and software as a service (SaaS). In particular, they are also called the cloud computing stacks because they build on top of each other. Knowing what they are and how they’re different makes it easier to accomplish your business goals. In addition, cloud computing services have several common attributes: which includes;
- Virtualization: Utilizing the server and the cloud storage virtualization extensively. Especially in allocating and or reallocating resources rapidly.
- Multi-tenancy: Pooling and sharing the resources among multiple users gaining an economy of scale.
- Network-access: Accessing resources via web-browser or thin client using a variety of networked devices (computer, tablet, smartphone).
- On-demand: Self-provisioning resources from an online catalog of pre-defined configurations.
- Elastic: Automatically scaling the resources down or up.
- Metering/chargeback: Tracking and billing of the resources usage based on the service arrangement
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)To point out, this is the most basic category of cloud computing services. With IaaS, you rent IT infrastructure servers and virtual machines (VMs). Also, the storage, networks, operating systems from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis. To learn more, see What is IaaS?
Platform as a service (PaaS)Platform as a service refers to cloud computing services that supply an on-demand environment. Such as for developing, testing, delivering, and managing software applications. PaaS is designed to make it easier for developers to quickly create web or mobile apps. Especially without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network, and databases needed for development.
Serverless computingOverlapping with PaaS, serverless computing focuses on building app functionality. Especially without spending time continually managing the servers and infrastructure required to do so. On the other hand, the cloud provider handles the setup, capacity planning, and server management for you. Serverless architectures are highly scalable and event-driven. Surprisingly, only using resources when a specific function or trigger occurs.
Software as a service (SaaS)
Software as a service is a method for delivering software applications over the Internet. Especially, on demand and typically on a subscription basis. Moreover, with SaaS, cloud providers host and manage the software application and underlying infrastructure. Additionally, they handle any maintenance like software upgrades and security patching. In this case, users connect to the application over the Internet. Usually with a web browser on their phone, tablet, or PC.[caption id="attachment_14938" align="aligncenter" width="846"] Cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources.[/caption]
Microsoft and cloud computing
Microsoft is a leading global provider of cloud computing services for businesses of all sizes. To learn more about the Microsoft cloud platform, our serverless application platform, and how Microsoft Azure compares to other cloud providers, see What is Azure? and Azure vs. AWS. Visit the jmexclusives website to learn more about other Cloud Computing Technology Research Articles.
In conclusion, cloud computing services are changing how businesses and public institutions use information technology. For example, today cloud services are readily available to meet most ICT needs. Although there’s great variety among cloud computing services, all such services have certain basic features. And benefits in common, where all can be categorized into a few basic cloud service types.