Cloud Computing - Part One

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing involves the online delivery of computing services and is a great resource for businesses or consumers who only want to pay for the individual services they use.

An easier way to understand Cloud computing is that – rather than owning your own computing infrastructure or data centres, you can “rent” access to anything from applications to cloud storage space from a cloud service provider.

Cloud computing is a service that is available to both individuals and companies. Netflix, for example, relies on Cloud computing services to run both its video streaming platform and other business systems. You, as an individual and Netflix watcher, pay for access to Netflix’s cloud services, as well as their licensing and production fees.

This online delivery is quickly becoming the default option for many other applications, such as Google Services, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. because it offers an easy entry point for consumers. Instead of requiring individuals to possess the massive amount of computer storage space that would be needed for things like large-scale entertainment apps, it allows those customers to access what they want via an external server.

For services like Netflix, this means anyone who signs up can access their massive film and television catalogue, no matter the data or storage restrictions they may have. It also allows companies to retain consumers on an ongoing subscription basis, rather than through a one-time flat fee that may not be financially viable, particularly for historically pricey software, such as the Adobe Creative Suite. This is why software vendors are increasingly offering their applications on the internet as a service, rather than a stand-alone product.

There are three types of Cloud services:

1. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS):  With IaaS, you rent infrastructure, such as servers, networks, operating systems, etc. from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.

2. Platform as a service (PaaS):  PaaS refers to cloud computing services which supply on-demand developing, testing, delivering, and managing applications. It’s designed to make it easier for developers to quickly create web or mobile apps, without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network and databases needed for development.

3. Software as a service (SaaS): With SaaS, Cloud providers host and manage the software application and underlying infrastructure, while also handling any maintenance, such as software upgrades and security patching. SaaS allows users connect to the application over the Internet, usually with a web browser on their phone, tablet or PC.

There are also three types of Clouds:

1. Public Clouds: From the name itself, these clouds are accessible to everyone. These resources are allocated and provisioned dynamically as per request.

2. Private Clouds: Private clouds refer to the allocation of resources only within the company. A private cloud can be physically located in the company’s on-site data centre.

3. Hybrid Clouds: These clouds are a mixture of both private and public clouds. A company can decide what services they want to allow everyone to access, and what services they want to restrict to the users within the organization.

Stay tuned for part two of the article describing benefit of Cloud Computing.