What is cloud computing and how does it work?

You must have heard about cloud computing once or at some point of time and after hearing this term, you must have got many doubts, like what is cloud computing, how is it used, What are its advantages or disadvantages or where did this technology come from etc.

In this article, we will cover these topics, so if you also want to know the answers to all these questions, then read this article completely.

What is cloud computing ?

If you are unsure about what is cloud computing, then you are probably among 95% of people who are already using cloud services, such as online banking. , social networks and Google Apps but do not realize it.

“Cloud” is a set of different types of hardware and software that work collectively to deliver many aspects of computing to the end-user as an online service.

Cloud computing is the use of hardware and software to deliver service over a network or internet. With Cloud Computing, users can access files and use applications and that too from any device that can access the Internet.

An example of a cloud computing provider is Google’s Gmail. Gmail users can access Google-hosted files and applications via the Internet from any device.

There are 4 models of cloud computing in terms of different access and security options. Before moving your data to the cloud, you need to consider which model will work best for your business and data needs.

Private cloud

A private cloud is where services and infrastructure are maintained and managed by you or a third party. This option minimizes potential security and controls risks, and will suit you if your data and applications are a core part of your business and you need a high level of security or sensitive data needs.

Community cloud

A community cloud exists, where multiple organizations share access to a private cloud with similar security considerations. For example, a series of franchises have their own public clouds, but they are hosted remotely in a private environment.

Public cloud

A public cloud is a place where services are stored off-site and accessed over the Internet. Storage is managed by an external organization like Google or Microsoft. This service provides the greatest level of flexibility and cost savings; However, it is more vulnerable than private clouds.

Hybrid cloud

A hybrid cloud model takes advantage of both public and private cloud services. By spreading your options across different cloud models, you get the benefits of each model.

For example, you can use a public cloud for your email to save on large storage costs, while keeping your highly sensitive data safe and secure behind your firewall in a private cloud.

How does cloud computing work?

So far we have known what is Cloud Computing and what are its four main models, let us now know how it works:

There are three main types of cloud computing service models available, commonly known as:

  1. Software as a Service (SaaS)
  2. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  3. Platform as a Service (PaaS).

Depending on your needs, your business may use one of these service models or a mix of all three.
Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is the most common form of cloud computing for small businesses. You can access software applications hosted on the Internet using a browser, instead of traditional applications stored on your PC or server.

The software application host is responsible for controlling and maintaining the application, including software updates and settings. You, as a user, have limited control over the application and configuration settings.

Typical examples of SaaS are web-based mail service or customer relationship management system.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS usually means buying or renting your computer power and disk space from an external service provider. This option allows you to access over a private network or the Internet.

The service provider maintains the physical computer hardware, including CPU processing, memory, data storage and network connectivity. Examples of IaaS include Amazon EC2, Rackspace, and Windows Azure.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS can be described as a crossover of both SaaS and IaaS. Essentially you rent the hardware, operating systems, storage and network capacity that IaaS provides as well as software servers and application environments. PaaS gives you more control over the technical aspects of your computing setup and the ability to customize it to suit your needs.

Cloud computing Benefits

The exact benefits will vary according to the type of cloud service used, but, fundamentally, using cloud services means that companies do not need to buy or maintain their own computing infrastructure.

The company does not need to worry about updating the application or operating system or disposing of the hardware or software when it is out of date as these are all taken care of by the supplier.

For commodity applications such as email, it is better to switch to a cloud provider than rely on in-house skills.

A company that specializes in running and securing these services is likely to have better skills and more experienced staff than a small business, so cloud services may be able to provide a more secure and efficient service to end users. .

Using cloud services means that companies can move on projects faster and test concepts without lengthy purchases and large upfront costs, as firms only pay for the resources they consume. This concept of business agility is often mentioned by cloud advocates as a major advantage.

The ability to spin up new services without the time and effort associated with traditional IT procurement should mean it’s easy to move up quickly with new applications. And if a new application makes the cloud’s elastic nature wildly popular, it means it’s easy to scale up.

Advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing

Cloud computing is not necessarily cheaper than other forms of computing, just as renting is not always cheaper than buying in the long term. If there is a regular and predictable need for an application for computing services, it may be more economical to provide that service in-house.

Some companies may be reluctant to host sensitive data on a service that is also used by rivals. Moving to a SaaS application can also mean that you are using the same applications as a competitor, which can make it harder to make any competitive advantage if that application is core to your business.

While it may be easy to start using a new cloud application, migrating existing data or apps to the cloud can be more complex and costly.

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