What Is Cloud Computing: When you ask a number of people, “What is cloud computing?” you will find a variety of different answers each of which presents a different point of view. If you ask enterprise IT experts they will tell you that Cloud Computing is a solution that helps companies increase productivity while reducing the cost of IT infrastructure. Other individuals will say that Cloud Computing offers you an alternative source for storing your data, photos, and important files in the event your PC crashes. Another group of people will say that cloud computing provides you with a wide range of access to software and hardware applications which are available on a ‘pay as you go’ basis.
So, is there a Universal Definition or Answer to the Question – What is Cloud Computing?
If one were to define Cloud Computing in the universal sense of the word, it involves the use of the Internet which is commonly referred to as “the cloud” to run software and hardware applications and store important data for backup and disaster recovery.
Up until the inception of Cloud Computing, the end user run applications directly from a PC. In the case of a business or large company IT servers are set up and configured to handle all business needs. Cloud computing has changed this configuration by moving the applications to a remote server which is still accessed by the company over the Internet but maintained by a remote cloud computing service provider.
The result is a cost-effective IT infrastructure that grows as your business grows without the exorbitant costs of adding hardware as needed and footing the bill for software licensing. In the case of a small business or individual, Cloud Computing provides an affordable way to back up important information and easily recover it from any device and from any location.
Cloud Computing Infrastructure
When you ask the question “What is cloud computing?” it also raises questions in terms of what is involved in the infrastructure and Cloud Computing Technology. If you were to define this aspect of cloud computing in-depth the number of capabilities which can be offered by cloud services is endless thanks to new innovations in technology. However, one concept remains constant when determining what is involved with cloud computing infrastructure: there are three primary categories that define Cloud Computing Resources.
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): SaaS is software that is available on-demand from a SaaS provider which the end user accesses in “the cloud” or generally speaking, over the Internet. The concept is used to alleviate the exorbitant costs of enterprise software which makes it a great option for many companies. SaaS provides pre-built and customized applications, automated processes, and business intelligence without the costs of maintaining and updating IT infrastructure to remain competitive.
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): To clearly define IaaS it is basically a method used to access computing applications by renting server space from an IaaS provider. This allows the company to focus on using applications instead of being required to purchase the required IT infrastructure to set up applications onsite. IaaS is used to carry out data-intensive tasks, perform core database functions, data backup and easy disaster recovery, data storage, and security, and access a Web service interface for accomplishing administrative tasks.
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): PaaS offers an entire computing platform from a remote cloud computing service provider for access by companies and ends users. This removes all of the heavy liftings of setting up the IT infrastructure while making the process of creating web applications faster. PaaS can deliver on-demand solutions that provide a one-stop environment that offers all the required tools, systems, and applications that help a business to remain competitive and maintain customer retention. PaaS also prepares a company for emerging industry trends that are on the horizon.
These are the three main categories when it comes to using cloud services for business and business applications. Now let’s take a look at What Cloud Computing is in terms of the different types of cloud services.
Cloud Computing Services
Similar to a cloud computing infrastructure there are different types of cloud services that determine the type of individual requirements they serve. For example, a business will have different needs than one individual that simply wants to back up the contents of their PC. Here are some of the different ways that Cloud Services accommodate diversified requirements:
- Private Cloud: A private cloud is typically utilized by corporate organizations and is a virtual service that is provided to a designated number of individuals. The cloud can be hosted on the premises or through a cloud provider and is limited to specific users and protected by a firewall and other security resources.
- Public Cloud: A public cloud is just as the name implies and offers services such as data backup and file sharing. It allows you to pay only for what you use while you still maintain control of data storage and sharing on your personal device.
- Personal Cloud: A personal cloud is what you create inside of a public cloud. For example, if you use a cloud service such as Carbonite for data backup, you create your own account and designate the amount of space you want to rent and then this acts as your personal cloud for storing data and information.
- Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud is typically used by companies that want to maintain control of a portion of their IT infrastructure onsite while allowing a cloud services provider to handle the remaining portion from a remote location. The infrastructure that is managed by cloud services is accessible by the company over the Internet while the remainder is accessed in-house.
Cloud Computing And Security
Although many people that hear about cloud computing express concerns about security issues the reality is that security is one of the aspects that attract people to cloud computing. In terms of businesses, Cloud Computing provides the security which is required by different company policies and external regulations however, the IT infrastructure which is required to achieve compliance is sometimes out of the range of most company IT budgets. Using a cloud service brings the security back within reach while the cloud service provider furnishes advanced security features such as encryption, secondary servers, underground vaulting, and other tech requirements which are necessary for disaster recovery and protecting critical data.
So when you ask “What is cloud computing?” there is a universal answer and then cloud computing is also about all of the aspects we discussed in this article.