Wondering what is cloud computing and how it actually works? Whether you are already doing business online or just getting started, you will definitely need to learn more about the basic principles behind cloud computing. Our article explains the businesses uses of cloud computing in simple terms.
What Is Cloud Computing In Simple Terms?
Cloud computing is a modern movement in technology resources that shifts away from local storage and switches instead towards an internet-based model. The cloud represents all online data, which individuals access through their computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Moving products and services to the cloud makes them accessible anywhere and at any time. Cloud computings meaning in simple words is that it represents the structure of today’s internet.
How Does Cloud Computing Work?
Cloud computing relies on central shared infrastructure, typically hosted by a third party company. These hosting companies run large data centres that contain servers, storage devices, and networking equipment. They essentially rent these resources out to other companies and individuals who want to host an online application but do not want the burden of maintaining their own local hardware.
Once a customer has paid for IT resources from a cloud computing company, they gain remote access to those services and can deploy software to them over the internet. To improve the performance or add capacity, the customer can scale up their cloud usage and add more server power to their cloud platform on the fly.
As a typical individual browsing the internet, you will notice how cloud computing works on a daily basis. Much of your data travels between these third-party data centres and cloud hosting companies. Data storage is typically housed in one location and replicated to other environments so that in case of an outage or natural disaster, your data can still be accessed over the web.
Uses Of Cloud Computing
Any industry that relies on technology resources or internet communications will have a compelling use case for cloud computing. By moving software products and applications to the cloud, a company can reduce costs and become more agile.
Many of the most common internet applications run on cloud platforms, as the scope of who uses cloud computing continues to expand. For example, modern email services are cloud-based, as you can access them through any web browser or through dedicated mobile applications. Your messages live in the cloud rather than taking up local storage space on your own devices.
Cloud computing has also played a major role in the recent trend of streaming music and video. These types of services store all of their audio and video content in the cloud and distribute it to individual customers over the internet. In the past, users would have to take the time to download individual songs and videos and find storage for them on their own hardware.
Types Of Cloud Services: Cloud Service Models
Most cloud computing services fall into three broad categories as follows:
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a generic term used to describe any web-based application that runs on cloud computing hardware. In the early days of computing, software application were installed through physical media like floppy disks or CDs and ran locally on each user’s computer. With SaaS, the applications are hosted in a cloud data center and are accessed over the public internet, through modern web browsers and mobile devices.
One of the big advantages in SaaS is the payment model associated with it. Users no longer have to pay for an entire product, as most software companies now offer subscription pricing. Customers simply pay based on how much they use the software and what features they want access to in their environment.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a cloud offering that targets large enterprises involved in application development and business intelligence. With PaaS, a provider packages a set of cloud resources, including servers, storage, and operating system, and then adds a layer of development tools on top of it. This allows software companies to quickly build new code without having to manually set up resources in a separate environment.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the core backbone of the cloud computing model. It includes everything within a third-party data centre that is made available for customer consumption. This typically covers servers, storage devices, and networking equipment. When a new customer requests access to a certain amount of resources, they are provisioned from the data centre pool and accessed over the internet. Customers pay based on their cloud usage of these resources.
Types Of Cloud Deployments
Below are three different ways to deploy cloud computing resources: public cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud.
- Public Cloud
The most common cloud computing model is the public cloud. It can be used for any product or application that will be made open to the general public, regardless of whether it charges a fee or is offered for free. From the provider’s perspective, a public cloud involves central resources that can be shared by multiple customers. This means that when you rent server space from a cloud provider, you will likely be using a small amount of space on equipment that is shared among other companies. Your data remains secure, as only the computing power is shared.
- Private Cloud
A private cloud deployment is the most secure option available for customers. It is typically used by organizations with rigorous security policies, such as governments and contractors. In a private cloud model, you acquire resources in a third-party data centre but you retain exclusive rights to access that equipment. Any servers or storage devices you acquire cannot be accessed by anyone outside of your organization. This ensures your data remains private while still being accessible in the cloud.
- Hybrid Cloud
As its name suggests, a hybrid cloud model combines feature of the public cloud and private cloud. This scenario is popular in cloud computing for business. Typically, a company will host sensitive data within a private environment while allowing its less critical applications to run through a public sector of a data centre. As part of a hybrid cloud, organizations may also decide to have certain servers managed locally so that specific data is not accessible on the cloud at all.
Top Benefits Of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has gained immense popularity over the past decade because it is faster, cheaper, and more reliable than previous distribution models. In terms of speed, third-party data centres offer high performance across the world so that companies can reach global customers quickly and provide a consistent experience on the web.
When it comes to money, cloud computing allows companies to only pay for the usage they need, rather than having to buy individual servers and cover all maintenance costs for the life of the machines. Lastly, cloud data centres provide for replicated solutions, so that your software and applications can stay online even if a single site or piece of hardware goes down.
Often, cloud servers are considered similar to virtual private servers because both are set up in a virtualized environment. However, the crucial difference between the terms could make a lot of difference for organizations planning to host their business or move from shared hosting. While cloud hosting can be freely scalable and offers advanced automated redundancy, comparatively, VPS can be more cost-effective, especially companies with a small budget easily can go for it.
In order to keep pace with the modern internet age, both companies and individuals should understand cloud computing for beginners and see the many ways it can enhance their online experience. Whether you are sending a simple email or deploying an enterprise application to a business audience, cloud computing makes the process more efficient and more reliable.