What is Cloud Computing?

People usually take things literally when it comes to technology. Having your data on the cloud doesn’t mean literally in clouds 🙂

Cloud Computing is nothing but leasing resources from a cloud service provider on a pay-as-you-go basis such as storage, hardware, network, servers, infrastructure etc over the internet.

Let me simplify it for you

Consider you have a system at home be it your personal computer or a laptop where all your data is stored. Now 10-fold this data, will it be feasible for you to store all this data at your own infrastructure? Organizations and businesses generate massive amount of data and information consistently.  In cloud computing, you store this data in the cloud which means you host your data in a datacentre service providers hardware which is accessible via the Internet from any location.

If that all sounds a little far-fetched, think about an email service you are already using e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc. None of those emails you send and receive are actually taking up space on your local hard drive, they are stored on the cloud service providers servers this is a form of cloud computing that is the reason why you can access these emails from any devices such as mobiles, laptops, tablets etc from anywhere, all you need is an internet connection.

However, many of us don’t realize that despite being held in a cloud infrastructure the data has to be stored somewhere physically this is the part where datacentres play a vital role. All this data is stored in a datacentre.

Most of you might get panicked after reading that my data is on the internet and it’s not safe and publicly accessible. Don’t worry 🙂 your data is safe as datacentres today are in compliance with security standards and are protected with firewalls and redundant network connectivity.

Uses of Cloud

Cloud computing’s full potential is yet to be realized and there can be multiple possibilities cloud can be implemented which can revolutionize the complete aspects of technology as we use it today. All of us are using cloud computing knowingly unknowingly. Cloud computing is hardly a decade old but today 90 out of 100 organizations are using some sort of cloud technology. Gmail, YouTube, Google, Facebook etc. all are using cloud based technology to host their humongous databases. Cloud computing is majorly used for developing testing environments, another use which is trending these days is Big Data analytics which enables organizations to gather a huge amount of unstructured data which when processed eventually helps in harnessing business values. Along with this cloud computing is also used in file storage, disaster recovery, Backups, hosting, IoT, AoT, IIoT Etc and the list can go on.

Types of Cloud Services

Cloud computing is divided into 3 major categories viz IaaS, PaaS & SaaS which are based on each other consecutively.

  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

The word “Infrastructure” means basic physical and organizational structures and facilities, with IaaS you lease IT- infrastructure such as the server, hardware, OS, Network, space etc from a cloud service provider who also takes care of the maintenance and services of your IT infrastructure. IaaS Examples: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metapod, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Joyent

  • PaaS (Platform as a Service)

PaaS Stands for Platform as a Service, organizations require on-demand environments for developing, testing & managing their software applications. Cloud service providers provide these pre-setup environments or platforms to the organizations as per their requirements which are termed as PaaS. Examples: AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, Heroku, Force.com, Google App Engine, Apache Stratos.

  • SaaS (Software as a Service)

SaaS is Software as a Service; many software service providers provide ready software applications on a subscription basis on the internet. The process of deploying, hosting, maintaining and managing the underlying infrastructures by the cloud service provider is termed as Software as a Service. SaaS Examples: Google Apps, Salesforce, Workday, Concur, Citrix GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx.

Types of Cloud Implementations

Well, cloud deployments completely depend on the requirement of the organizations. Though nowadays, there are 4 major ways how cloud is deployed viz Public cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud & Enterprise Cloud.

  • Public Cloud

Public cloud is a platform where a cloud service provider segregates resources via virtualization such as storage, applications, and software, where the whole infrastructure is shared among multiple customers. The services are usually provided on a pay-as-you-go basis thus making it very cost efficient. Best suitable for small and mid-sized organizations but security can be a concern here.

  • Private Cloud

In Private cloud environment, an organization or business are allotted with dedicated resources such as hardware, network, & security which is exclusively available for that specific organization only. In private cloud, organizations also have the flexibility to host their cloud infrastructure on-premise. Though it is a bit costlier than public cloud, it is a value for money as it nullifies the security concerns making it ideal for bigger organizations with huge and critical databases.

  • Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud as the name suggests is the combination of public cloud and private cloud it has both the flexibility of public cloud and the reliability and security of the private cloud. Suitable for large enterprises or business.

  • Enterprise Cloud

Recently trending, Enterprise cloud is a tailored cloud computing platform designed to give competitive advantages to enterprises. Every enterprise cloud is a customized solution as per the organizations specific requirements considering all aspects such as security, flexibility,  & scalability etc.