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What is Cloud Computing?7 min read

by Abu Zar Mishwani
cloud computing

The delivery of various services through the Internet is known as cloud computing. 

These resources include data storage, servers, databases, networking, and software, among other tools and applications.

Cloud-based storage allows you to store files in a remote database rather than storing them on a local hard drive or local storage device. 

As long as an electronic device has internet connectivity, it has access to the data as well as the software applications needed to run it.

People and businesses use cloud computing for various reasons, including cost savings, enhanced productivity, efficiency and speed, reliability, and security.

Cloud Computing: An Overview

It is termed Cloud computing because the information accessed is located remotely in the cloud or a virtual place.

Cloud service providers allow users to store data and applications on remote servers and then access the information via the Internet.

This implies that the user does not need to be at a certain place to access it, allowing them to work from anywhere.

Cloud computing offloads all of the heavy lifting associated with crunching and processing data from the device you carry or sit at.

All of the work is also moved to massive computer clusters in cyberspace.

The Internet becomes the cloud, and your data, work, and apps are accessible from any device with an Internet connection, anywhere around the globe.

Both public and private clouds are available.

For a price, public cloud providers deliver services over the Internet.

On the other hand, private cloud services offer a limited number of customers.

These services are a network system that provides hosted services.

A hybrid option is also available, including components of both public and private services.

Types of Cloud Services

Cloud computing services, regardless of the kind, provide customers with a number of features, including:

  • Creating and testing apps
  • Analyzing data
  • Audio and video streaming
  • Storage, backup, and data retrieval
  • Email
  • Delivering software on demand

Although cloud computing is still a relatively new technology, it is being utilized by a variety of organizations, including large enterprises, small businesses, NGOs, government entities, and even individual customers.

How Does Cloud Computing Work?

Companies can buy access to anything from apps to storage from a cloud service provider rather than having their own computing equipment or data centers.

One advantage of cloud computing is that businesses can avoid the upfront costs and complexity of building and maintaining their own IT infrastructure by paying only for what they need when they need it.

As a result, cloud-computing service providers may achieve enormous economies of scale by providing the same services to diverse consumers.

Why Is It Called Cloud Computing?

The location of the service and many other variables such as the hardware or operating system on which it is running are essentially irrelevant to the user in cloud computing.

The cloud metaphor was drawn from earlier telecommunications network designs, in which the public telephone network (and subsequently the internet) was typically shown as a cloud to indicate that the location didn’t matter — it was just a cloud of stuff.

Of course, this is an oversimplification; for many consumers, the location of their services and data is still a major concern.

Examples of Cloud Computing?

A large number of services rely on cloud computing. This covers anything from customer services like Gmail and online backups of your smartphone photos to commercial services like hosting all of your data and running all of your apps in the cloud.

Netflix, for example, uses cloud computing to power its video-streaming service as well as its other business operations.

Software providers are increasingly delivering their software as services through the internet rather than as separate products. 

They aim to shift to a subscription model, and cloud computing is becoming the default option for many apps.

However, cloud computing has the potential to generate additional expenses and risks for businesses that use it.

History of Cloud Computing:

The name “cloud computing” has been used since the early 2000s. However, the concept of “computing as a service” dates back to the 1960s, when computer bureaus offered businesses the opportunity of renting time on a mainframe rather than purchasing one.

These ‘time-sharing’ services were mainly replaced by the Pcs, which made owning a computer much cheaper. Subsequently, the growth of corporate data centers allowed businesses to store massive quantities of data.

However, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the concept of renting access to computing power reappeared in the form of application service providers, utility computing, and grid computing.

With the rise of software as a service and hyper-scale cloud-computing companies such as Amazon Web Services, Cloud computing started to take hold.

What are The Core Elements Of Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing can be divided into several components, each concentrating on a distinct aspect of the technological stack and a particular use case. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most well-known.

  1. Software-as-a-service (SaaS): Software as a Service (SaaS) is the distribution of software as a service, and it is most likely the version of cloud computing that most people are familiar with. The end-user, who will access the service via a web browser or app, is unconcerned with the underlying hardware and operating system; it is frequently purchased per seat or user.
  2. Platform-as-a-service (PaaS): The next layer up is Platform as a Service (PaaS), which comprises the tools and software that developers need to construct applications on top of the underlying storage, networking, and virtual servers, such as middleware, database management, operating systems, and development tools.
  3. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS): Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) refers to the basic components of computing that may be rented, including real or virtual servers, storage, and networking. Companies who want to create applications from the ground up and control almost all of the aspects will find this appealing. Still, it needs the technical capabilities to coordinate services at that level.

Public and Private Cloud:

Private Cloud:

Because it is tucked away behind the company firewall, the private cloud allows enterprises to benefit from some of the benefits of the public cloud without the worries about ceding control over data and services.

Companies have complete control over where their data is stored and may build their own infrastructure – mostly for IaaS or PaaS projects – to provide developers access to a pool of computing power that expands on-demand without compromising security.

However, the added security comes at a cost since few organizations will have the scale of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, or Google, limiting their ability to achieve economies of scale.

Still, for businesses that want extra security, a private cloud might be a good starting point for learning about cloud services or rebuilding internal applications for the cloud before moving to the public cloud.

Public Cloud:

The basic cloud computing approach is the public cloud. Users can join a large pool of computing capacity over the internet (IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS).

The ability to quickly grow a service is one of the significant advantages here.

The ‘multi-tenant’ architecture allows cloud computing providers to distribute massive quantities of computer power across a large number of customers.

Because of their large size, they have enough spare capacity to readily deal if any particular customer requires additional resources, which is why it is frequently used for less-sensitive applications requiring different amounts of resources.

What are The Major Cloud Computing Companies?

There are just a few major cloud providers when it comes to IaaS and PaaS.

Amazon Web Services is in the first place, followed by Microsoft’s Azure, Google, and IBM.

According to Synergy Research, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google continue to attract well over half of the global cloud spending, with market shares of 33%, 20%, and 10%, respectively, in the third quarter.

And, with faster growth than the total market, their percentage of gross sales continues to rise.

However, the chasing pack of corporations still has $17 billion in sales to work with. According to the analyst, “Clearly, there are challenges with the big three companies lurking in the background, so the name of the game is not competing with them head-on.”

What’s the difference between AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud?

Each of the top three cloud service providers has its own set of advantages. AWS is the most established player and was responsible for Amazon’s ability to handle large seasonal fluctuations in customer demand.

It has become the industry leader by being the first to market with cloud services and aggressively pursuing market share, and it continues to innovate.

Azure has become a critical component of Microsoft’s strategy, and the company has the enterprise history and solutions to help organizations transition to the cloud.

Google Cloud is the smallest of the big three, but it certainly benefits from the advertising-to-Android giant’s resources.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing:

Now we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing.

Advantages of Cloud Computing:

Let’s take a look at the advantages of cloud computing:

  • Cost Savings: One of the most significant advantages of Cloud Computing is cost savings. It allows you to save a lot of money because it doesn’t require any physical hardware. Maintenance of the hardware does not require trained staff. The cloud service provider is in charge of buying and managing equipment.
  • High Speed: With cloud computing, you can instantly launch your service with fewer clicks. With this speedier deployment, you can obtain the resources you need for your system in less time.
  • Strategic advantage: Cloud computing gives you a head start on your competition. One of the best features of Cloud services is that you can access the most recent applications at any time without having to spend time and money installing them.
  • Back up and restore data: Once data is saved on the Cloud, it is much easier to back it up and restore it, which is a time-consuming procedure.
  • Automatic Software Integration: Software integration is something that happens automatically on the cloud. As a result, you won’t have to put in any extra work to personalize and integrate your apps to your preference.
  • Reliability: One of the most important advantages of cloud hosting is its reliability. You will always be kept up to date on any changes.
  • Mobility: Employees working on-site or in remote locations can simply access all of the company’s services. All they require is Internet access.
  • Unlimited storage capacity: The cloud provides nearly infinite storage space. With relatively low monthly fees, you can simply increase your data storage at any moment.
  • Quick Deployment: Last but not least, cloud computing allows you to deploy applications quickly. When you choose to use the cloud, your setup may be up and running in minutes. However, the length of time required is dependent on the technology used in your company.

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing:

Let’s take a look at the advantages of cloud computing:

  • Performance might be affected: When you operate in a cloud environment, your application runs on a server that provides resources to other enterprises. Any opportunistic activity on your tenant’s part, or a DDOS assault, might degrade the performance of your shared resource.
  • Technical Issues: Cloud computing is prone to outages and other technological problems. Even the most significant cloud service provider businesses may run into problems despite maintaining excellent maintenance standards.
  • Security Threat in the Cloud: Another disadvantage of using cloud computing services is the security risk. You should be aware that if you use cloud computing, you will be sharing all of your company’s sensitive data with a third-party cloud computing service provider. This information might be accessed by hackers.
  • Downtime: When working with cloud computing, downtime should also be considered. Because your cloud provider may experience power outages, poor internet access, or service maintenance, among other things.
  • Internet Connectivity: Cloud computing requires reliable Internet access. Without an internet connection, you can’t access the cloud. Furthermore, there are no alternative means to collect data from the cloud.
  • Lower Bandwidth: Many cloud storage service companies limit their users’ bandwidth use. As a result, if your company exceeds the allocated budget, the additional costs might be significant.
  • Lacks of Support: Customers are not adequately supported by cloud computing companies. They also encourage their users to rely on FAQs or online support, which may be a time-consuming task for non-technical individuals.

The Future of Cloud Computing:

Cloud computing is approaching the point where it will likely account for more corporate IT investment than the decades-old methods of providing applications and services in-house.

However, as businesses get more comfortable with the concept of their data being stored somewhere other than a computer in the basement, cloud computing will only grow.

Instead of concentrating just on cost, companies are increasingly emphasizing cloud computing as a driver for digital transformation.

According to the argument, moving to the cloud may help companies reimagine business procedures and accelerate change by breaking down data silos.

This argument may appeal to certain companies looking to gain traction with their digital transformation initiatives. Still, as the expenses of making a moving mount, excitement for the cloud may wane.

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