Cloud computing and cloud storage are terms you may have heard people use, but you probably had no idea what they mean. The term cloud computing refers to data and software being stored and run in the cloud as opposed to being stored and run locally on Your local computer or any equipment that you own.
Through the internet, the user can access these data and applications in the cloud
In other words, the workload is no longer focused on your computer or any other equipment that you own but is now in the cloud.
So What is cloud computing?
To simplify things even further, the cloud is simply a big building that’s filled with computers. You can think of it as a big building filled with servers, and servers are nothing more than computers that provide services on behalf of clients. There are huge buildings when you look inside, but when you look inside, it’s a giant data center containing servers as far as the eye can see. Each server performs hundreds of tasks at once.
such as running applications, storing data, data processing, web hosting, and so on. And they are also all networked together and they can be accessed on the internet.
So what is the purpose of a cloud?
A company that owns clouds is called a cloud provider, and its purpose is to sell its computers as a service. The term “service” now simply means you pay someone else to do something for you instead of completing the task yourself. An individual or business would hire a third party to do part or all of their computing work. Then, they would use cloud computing, so let’s take the example of email back in the day before cloud computing. To send or receive an email, you would need your own email server at home or at the office. So you would have a server, an operating system, and email software such as Microsoft exchange. And then after some configuration, you would be able to use email. But the problem is, is that if anything goes wrong with the server, such as a hardware failure or a software problem, or if the operating system crashed, then you would be responsible for fixing the problem, not to mention any maintenance that is needed to keep the server up and running. However, you do have the option of eliminating all the hassle and upkeep of your own email server and having another company host all of your emails on their servers in the cloud for you, such as Gmail Hotmail and a bunch of others. But email is just one example of cloud computing. There are also other services such as productivity software, web servers, databases, etc.
So another question is, why would an individual or a company use cloud computing? Well as I just mentioned a major reason is cost. With cloud computing, a person or company eliminates a lot of the expense of buying their own hardware and software, along
with the building maintenance and electricity it takes to run their own data center. Using the cloud is a better solution. There is also a reliability factor. Since a cloud provider is responsible for data backup, disaster recovery, and data security. And if one of its data centers goes down, they will also have several redundant sites as a backup which will ensure that there is no downtime. And another reason is scalability.
Cloud providers will offer a ‘pay as you go method that allows you to only pay for what you require. It doesn’t matter if you need a few or a lot of computers. For starters, you can rent a small number of computers. In addition, as your company grows, you can instantly rent more computers that suit your needs, and if you don’t need as many computers anymore, you can instantly reduce your rental needs.
So who are the cloud providers today? Well the major cloud providers today are Amazon
Web Services or (AWS). Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Alibaba, and IBM. Amazon Web Services is the biggest of them all – taking about a third
of the cloud market share.
Now there are three different types of cloud computing. There’s infrastructure as a service or (IaaS). Platform as a service or (PaaS) and Software as a service or (SaaS). And these three vary in control and flexibility. So it’s up to the user to decide what suits their needs. So the first one is infrastructure as a service. Now, this type is basically where you’re going to let the cloud provider manage a portion of your business which is going to be the hardware
portion. The cloud provider will manage the servers, storage, virtualization, and networking portion.
on the other hand, will still have control over the software portion. Such as the applications, data, operating system, middleware, and runtime. Some examples of infrastructure as a service that the common person would use would be online data backup services, such as iDrive and Carbonite which provide cloud storage.
And the next one is called platform as a service. Now (PaaS) like (IaaS) allows the cloud provider to manage a portion of your business. But the cloud provider has more control.
In a (PaaS) the cloud provider not only manages the hardware such as servers, storage, and networking, but it also manages the operating system, middleware, and runtime. You on the other hand are only responsible for the applications and the data. And finally, there’s a software as a service or (SaaS) Now this is probably the most common cloud service by far. In this type, all the applications are hosted by the cloud provider. There is no software to install on your computer and no hardware to manage. You just simply access and run the application from your computer when you connect to the cloud service through the internet. So the cloud provider manages all the hardware, software, networking, operating system, and storage.
A good example of (SaaS) is something that I use all the time, which is Google Docs. Google Docs is a free online office suite that is accessed using a web browser. There is no
additional software that needs to be installed on your computer to use Google Docs. Everything is accessed and managed from your web browser.