Cloud Computing is an on-demand service that has obtained mass appeal in corporate data centers. The cloud enables the data center to operate like the Internet and computing resources to be accessed and shared as virtual resources in a secure and scalable manner.
Like most technologies, trends start in the enterprise and shift to adoption by small business owners. For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the benefits of cloud computing are currently driving adoption. In the SMB sector, there is often a lack of time and financial resources to purchase, deploy and maintain an infrastructure (e.g. the software, server, and storage).
In fact, there are many people out there who believe the term cloud computing is just another buzzword that is used to describe too many technologies. Making it confusing to understand. Moreover, when most people use the term, they may have one of these ideas in mind, but the listener might be thinking about something else.
What Is Cloud Computing?
In Cloud Computing, the word “cloud” (also phrased as “the cloud”) is used as a metaphor for “the Internet.” So, the phrase cloud computing means a type of Internet-based computing. Whereby, different services — including servers, storage, and applications — are delivered to an organization’s computers and devices through the Internet.
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.
It’s key features are:
- Cost & Scale
In addition, you typically pay only for the cloud services you use. After all, this helps to lower your operating cost, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale up during a business change.
How Does Cloud Computing Work?
In the first place, while cloud 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. The term has been used over the years to mean a number of technologies.
Such as grid computing, utility computing, software-as-a-service (SaaS), Internet-based applications, autonomic computing, peer-to-peer computing, and remote processing. Cloud denotes a computing platform that is outside of an organization’s firewalls on shared systems. In this scenario, your cloud service provider is in control of the infrastructure.
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In Cloud Computing, small businesses can access these resources using an Internet connection and a Web browser. You can expand (or shrink) services as your business needs change. In contrast, a private cloud is the same platform. However, it is implemented within the corporate firewall, under the control of the organization’s IT department.
A private cloud is designed to offer the same features and benefits as public cloud systems. But, it removes a number of objections to the computing model. Including control over corporate and customer data, worries about security, and issues connected to regulatory compliance.
Why Use the Cloud Computing Services?
An example of a cloud computing file storage provider is Dropbox. Dropbox files can be accessed from any device via the Internet. In other examples, on-premises or off, public or private, bare metal or multi-cloud, IBM Cloud makes it faster and easier to create innovative experiences with the latest technologies.
Equally important, build new Artificial Intelligence (AI) apps. Particularly, that learn from every interaction, modernize core systems with microservices and lift and shift VMware apps without massive rework.
Additionally, the right data architecture provides a solid foundation for AI to improve organizational processes, create enriching customer experiences and pursue new revenue streams. Even though you’re on a journey with no shortage of complexity.
The IBM Cloud is designed to make your life easier. Especially with the right tools that integrate, broker, and give you greater visibility across all your vendors, clouds, and IT to maximize the value of your new and existing investments. Learn more about IBM’s faster, and more secure journey to the cloud.
What Are The Cloud Computing Key Benefits?
Cloud Computing offers your business many benefits. It allows you to set up what is essentially a virtual office to give you the flexibility of connecting to your business anywhere, at any time. With the growing number of web-enabled devices used in today’s business environment (e.g. smartphones, tablets), access to your data is even easier.
You’re probably using cloud computing right now, even if you don’t realize it. If you use an online service to send an 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.
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For your information, 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 nonprofits — are embracing the technology for all sorts of reasons.
By the same token, cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources. In general, below are some common reasons why organizations are turning to cloud computing services:
a. Reduced Running Cost
Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software. As well as setting up and running on-site data centers — the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, and the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. It adds up fast.
b. 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.
c. Large-scale Productivity
On-site data centers typically require a lot of “racking and stacking”— hardware setup, 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.
d. 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.
e. 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.
f. Global-scale Coverage
The benefits of cloud 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, and bandwidth — right when it’s needed, and from the right geographic location. You can see other benefits in detail.
Where Is Cloud Computing Used?
For instance, corporates and government entities utilize cloud computing services to address a variety of applications and infrastructure needs. Such as CRM, database, computing, and data storage. As a result, organizations have greater agility and can manage expenses more efficiently.
For your information, Microsoft is a leading global provider of cloud services for businesses of all sizes. To learn more about the Microsoft cloud platform, the Serverless application platform, and how Microsoft Azure compares to other cloud providers, see What is Azure? and Azure vs. AWS.
Similarly, consumers utilize cloud computing services to simplify application utilization, store, share, and protect content, and enable access from any web-connected device. Below are a few examples of what’s possible today with cloud services from a cloud provider:
1. Create new apps and services
Quickly build, deploy, and scale applications — web, mobile, and API — on any platform. But, to access the resources you need to help meet performance, security, and compliance requirements.
2. Test and build applications
Reduce application development costs and time by using cloud infrastructures that can easily be scaled up or down.
3. Store, back up, and recover data
Protect your data more cost-efficiently — and at a 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 data
Unify 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 video
Connect with your audience anywhere, anytime, on any device with high-definition video and audio with global distribution.
6. Embed intelligence
Use intelligent models to help engage customers and provide valuable insights from the data captured.
7. Deliver software on demand
Also 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 them, anywhere they are.
The Main Cloud Computing Technology Types
Not all clouds are the same and not one type of cloud 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 implementing. There are three different ways to deploy cloud services: on a public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud.
Public clouds are owned and operated by third-party cloud service providers. Which delivers their computing resources like servers and storage over the Internet. Microsoft Azure is a great 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.
A private cloud refers to cloud computing resources used exclusively by a single business or organization. A private cloud can be physically located in the company’s on-site data center.
Some companies also pay third-party service providers such as Bulk’s Nordic data centers to host their private cloud.
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, and more deployment options, and helps optimize your existing infrastructure, security, and compliance.
IaaS, PaaS, Serverless, and SaaS
Most 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). They are also called 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.
Some of them include:
- Virtualization: Utilizing the server and 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 a 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
Among the many types of cloud computing services delivered internally or by third-party service providers, the most common are:
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
To point out, this is the most basic category of cloud services. With Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), you rent IT infrastructure servers and virtual machines (VMs). Also, the storage, networks, and operating systems from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis. You can learn more about What is IaaS? in detail.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
In reality, a Platform as a Service (PaaS) refers to cloud services that supply an on-demand environment. Such as for developing, testing, delivering, and managing software applications. Seamlessly, designed to make work easier for developers to create web platforms and mobile apps.
Especially, without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network, and databases needed for development.
Serverless Cloud Computing
Overlapping 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 use resources when a specific function or trigger occurs.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service (SaaS) 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.
Eventually, cloud services are changing how businesses and public institutions use information technology. That’s why, for example, today cloud services are readily available to meet most ICT needs. Although there’s great variety among cloud computing services.
Surprisingly, cloud technologies will continue to bring transformative change to businesses well into the 2020s and beyond. So, it is worth reflecting on the most important cloud developments this decade. And then, predict how they might shape the future of the enterprise.
All cloud-based services have certain basic features. And also, their benefits are also common. Therefore, with 2022 almost halfway here, it’s amazing to think about cloud technologies clearly. More so, how the cloud industry as a whole has transformed over the past decade.
Finally, I hope the above-revised guide was helpful to or even to your team. But, for additional contributions, suggestions, or even questions, please Contact Us and let us know how we can help. If you’ll have a personal thought you’d like us to address or help you with, you can also share it in our comments section below.
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