An Introduction To Cloud Computing And How It Works
By: Shree Das
In the advanced tech-driven era of today, cloud computing has become a buzz word. Cloud computing refers to the delivery of different on-demand computing services, which includes databases, storage, software, analytics, intelligence, and networking over the internet. In layman terms, cloud computing involves storing as well as accessing the different programs and data over the internet as opposed to the hard drive of a computer. This technology has emerged as an optimum solution for businesses to launch new innovations and extend their infrastructure.
Cloud computing has brought about a huge transformation in the way businesses view IT resources. Lowering the operation cost is among the prominent benefits that cloud computing provides the businesses. Flexible resources, faster innovation, improved economies of scale, and increased productivity are among the other benefits of cloud computing.
Moreover, the optimum performance strengthened security, and exceptional reliability offered by cloud computing cannot be overlooked. Leveraging cloud computing can provide your business with a competitive edge in a highly competitive market. It has also enabled enhancing workplace flexibility and improving communication as well as collaboration among the employees.
Let’s take a look at the success stories!
Millions of businesses are thriving all over the world because of successful cloud deployment. This brilliant innovation has transformed so many businesses and turned them into a global brand with its never-ending features. The shift is so obvious in every part of the world, that according to a study, by 2025, 80% companies will be migrating to cloud computing for better and more secure systems. Some of the top companies from various parts of the globe, that are enjoying an exponentially accelerated growth because of cloud computing are:
- Accenture (US)
How does cloud affect security?
Just because you can access crucial data anytime anywhere doesn’t mean that anyone without the authority to access will get that advantage too! With cloud computing, you can expect the maximum amount of security for all your files as well as essential business data. With off-site data storage there are zero chances of internal data theft. According to the recent surveys, 94% companies faced lower security risks after cloud deployment. A major reason for such an elevated level of security is because, in case of cloud computing, data is stored safely in the databases while the encrypted data is transmitted over the various networks. The encryption prevents anyone unauthorized from accessing the data. To add an extra layer of security, the security settings are altered basing on the different users accessing the data. This is the reason why these days, most companies are making the ultimate switch to cloud systems.
How can it help your business to stay compliant?
There’s not one but multiple ways in which cloud systems make it easier for the various companies to stay compliant with the ever evolving rules & regulations. This is mainly because it gives the companies an opportunity to streamline reporting, simplify control, improve accountability, scale securely and standardize operations to ensure a complete compliance. As per the survey reports, 91% companies find it easy to meet the numerous government compliance requirements after implementing the cloud system. The same thing goes for the legal compliance too, so you can get both government as well as other legal compliances without much hassles if you are using cloud computing.
Types of Cloud Computing
In order to understand cloud computing better, it is important to gain an idea about the different types of cloud computing technologies. As not all enterprises have the same requirements, the different enterprises can choose from the various cloud types and avail the appropriate solutions. Depending on the manner in which the cloud platform will be implemented, there are majorly three types of cloud deployment. It includes public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud.
- Public Cloud
The public cloud refers to the cloud computing model that is owned as well as operated by third party service providers. It enables the users to access the computing power pool over the cloud network. Here the third party service providers offer computing resources like storage and servers over the internet.
It follows a multi-tenant architecture and enables the users to access as well as manage the cloud services through their account. High versatility is a major advantage of the public cloud. The cloud services offered by Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are prominent examples of the public cloud.
- Low maintenance cost
- Highly flexible & scalable
- Easy to use
- Private Cloud
When you want an exclusive cloud-computing resource for your enterprise, a private cloud is an ideal option. For the businesses having strict regulatory requirements, an on-premise cloud is an optimum solution. With the private cloud, organizations can avail of the highest level of control as well as security.
A private cloud enables the companies to build infrastructure in the desired way and control the data location effectively. It allows only the authorized users to store, utilize, and access data over the cloud network. In order to host the private cloud, certain enterprises may also choose to make payments to third-party service providers.
- Highly compliant
- Efficient & scalable
- Hybrid Cloud
As the name suggests, a hybrid cloud is a combination of both the public as well as the private cloud. It allows seamless interaction between both the cloud platforms. The hybrid cloud perfectly blends the scalability of the public cloud with the superior control and security of the private cloud.
It allows the sharing of data as well as applications between the private cloud and the public cloud. It creates a parallel environment and enables easy movement of application from one cloud platform to the other. With increased flexibility, better optimization of the existing infrastructure, and more deployment options, hybrid cloud can benefit your business the best.
- Easy deployment
- Scalable & flexible
- Highly secure
- Diverse workload support
Types of Cloud Services
The cloud computing services are categorized into four categories, which include infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and serverless computing. The different types of cloud computing services are often referred to as the cloud computing stack. With the different cloud services, achieving the core goals of a business becomes simple and easy.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is known as the most flexible as well as a comprehensive cloud service. It allows the businesses to rent the IT infrastructure from the cloud service providers on the basis of pay-per-use. When your business is looking to avoid the complexity and expenses involved in buying as well as managing private data servers, IaaS is the right choice. While the cloud provider manages the data infrastructure, you can purchase the required service component, install, and manage the applications.
The elimination of the upfront cost and lowering of the ongoing cost are the main perks of availing the IaaS cloud service. With IaaS, instead of focusing on the IT infrastructure, you can focus on the core business and enhance your productivity. It enables the organizations to scale up or scale down the resources as per the demand of the applications.
Moreover, IaaS provides the business with increased support, stability, and reliability. Some of the scenarios when the businesses require IaaS include website hosting, big data analysis, test and development, high-performance computing, and more. Amazon web services (AWS), Google Compute Engine (GCE), and Microsoft Azure are the prominent examples of IaaS.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platform as a service (PaaS) is a comprehensive deployment as well as a development cloud environment. It provides an on-demand environment to develop, test, deliver, as well as manage the different software applications of a business. PaaS delivers the fundamental framework required to build an application. Without having to worry about the basic infrastructure, it allows the developers to build web and mobile applications much easily. PaaS also helps in avoiding the complexity and expense involved in buying and managing software licenses.
Like IaaS, PaaS also provides enterprises with a number of benefits. By reducing the coding time, it helps in fastening the process of application development. With the pay-as-you-go model, it enables organizations to employ sophisticated tools for the development of software applications. PaaS offers all the necessary support and enables efficient management of the application lifecycle.
It enables the business to enhance its development capabilities without the need for additional staff. The common scenarios when PaaS is an ideal option for the enterprises is when a business requires a development framework, additional services, as well as business intelligence tools. Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure, Apache Stratos, AWS Elastic Beanstalk are some of the best examples of Platform as a service.
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
The software distribution model of software as a service (SaaS) enables the delivery of software applications over the cloud network. It can be done on a subscription basis as well as an on-demand basis. In the case of SaaS, software applications are hosted by cloud service providers and provide to enterprises over the internet.
It enables the users to connect as well as use the cloud-based apps through the internet. This cloud service can be availed on a pay-as-you-go basis from the service provider. While the cloud service provider manages all the software and hardware, you can avail of the applications at a reduced upfront cost.
Global accessibility, easier administration, easier collaboration, and high compatibility with all software versions are among the top benefits of SaaS. Moreover, by choosing SaaS, you can get access to the different sophisticated applications and pay for only what you use. SaaS makes it easier for organizations to easily mobilize their workforce.
As the data remains stored in the cloud, SaaS allows users to access the information from anywhere and at any time. It saves users from the fear of losing data in any way. SaaS also provides enterprises with automatic updates as well as easy patch management. Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, Google Apps, and Cisco WebEx are some of the important examples of the software as a service model.
- Serverless Computing
Serverless computing is yet another type of cloud services offered to organizations. Without the need to manage infrastructure, the developers can easily build software applications through serverless computing. It provides the developers with the flexibility to purchases the required back-end services on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis. With the serverless computing, you can ensure a faster time to market for your software applications. By reducing the operation dependencies, it helps in enhancing the agility of the development teams, thereby enabling increased functionality.
Lower cost, simplified backend code, quicker turnaround, and simplified scalability are among the top benefits of serverless computing. Serverless can be misleading at times. However, it actually means that without having to worry about the servers, the developers can easily work on developing software applications for businesses.
So, what’s next?
Well, the key takeaway is that Cloud computing has brought about a significant change in the way how data was stored traditionally. The use of cloud computing among modern businesses is rapidly increasing in recent times. Starting from the start-up companies to huge corporate and even government organizations, all are gradually adopting cloud computing because of the countless benefits it offers.
With different types of cloud services available online, you can choose the best option to meet the specific needs of your business. These easy to use cloud platforms enable the businesses to secure their data, boost their revenues and reach the customers easily. The ample opportunities for growth and success are expected to drive more organizations towards cloud computing in the near future. But, how to avail cloud services? Now that’s quite easy. All you have to do is, hire the right firm and they will offer you premium cloud services, customised specifically to meet the unique requirements of your business!
About the Author
Shree Das is a Technologist and works for VMware, Inc. Shree’s focus is on the Cloud, Software-Defined Data Center, Hyperconverged Platform, and other emerging technologies like, Edge Computing, Cloud Native, IoT and AI/ML. You can find him on Linkedin and Twitter.