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What is cloud computing? Explained Everything you need to know about the cloud

Cloud computing refers to the on-demand availability of computer system resources, particularly data storage and computational power, without the user’s direct active supervision. Large clouds frequently have functions dispersed over numerous locations, each of which is a data center. Cloud computing relies on resource sharing to accomplish coherence and often employs a “pay-as-you-go” approach, which can assist reduce capital expenditures but can also result in unanticipated operational fees for uninformed users.

Why is it called cloud computing?

A fundamental concept behind cloud computing is that the location of the service, and many of the details such as the hardware or operating system on which it is running, are largely irrelevant to the user. It’s with this in mind that the metaphor of the cloud was borrowed from old telecoms network schematics, in which the public telephone network (and later the internet) was often represented as a cloud to denote that the location didn’t matter – it was just a cloud of stuff. This is an over-simplification of course; for many customers, the location of their services and data remains a key issue.

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How does cloud computing work?

Companies can rent access to everything from apps to storage from a cloud service provider rather than having their own computing equipment or data centres. One advantage of employing cloud computing services is that businesses may avoid the upfront cost and complexity of building and maintaining their own IT infrastructure by just paying for what they need when they need it. In turn, cloud-computing service providers can profit from enormous economies of scale by providing the same services to a diverse set of consumers.

cloud computing

What is Infrastructure as a Service?

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) refers to the fundamental building blocks of computing that can be rented: physical or virtual servers, storage, and networking. This is attractive to companies that want to build applications from the very ground up and want to control nearly all the elements themselves, but it does require firms to have the technical skills to be able to orchestrate services at that level.

What is Platform as a Service?

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the next layer up – as well as the underlying storage, networking, and virtual servers, this layer also includes the tools and software that developers need to build applications on top, which could include middleware, database management, operating systems, and development tools.

What is Software as a Service?

Software as a Service (SaaS) is the delivery of applications as a service, probably the version of cloud computing that most people are used to on a day-to-day basis. The underlying hardware and operating system are irrelevant to the end-user, who will access the service via a web browser or app; it is often bought on a per-seat or per-user basis.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of cloud computing?

Cloud computing is not necessarily cheaper than other forms of computing, just as renting is not always cheaper than buying in the long term. If an application has a regular and predictable requirement for computing services it may be more economical to provide that service in-house. Some companies may be reluctant to host sensitive data in a service that is also used by rivals. Moving to a SaaS application may also mean you are using the same applications as a rival, which might make it hard to create any competitive advantage if that application is core to your business.

What is a public cloud?

The public cloud is the classic cloud-computing model, where users can access a large pool of computing power over the internet (whether that is IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS). One of the significant benefits here is the ability to rapidly scale a service.

What is a private cloud?

The private cloud allows organizations to benefit from some of the advantages of the public cloud – but without the concerns about relinquishing control over data and services, because it is tucked away behind the corporate firewall.

What is a hybrid cloud?

A hybrid cloud is perhaps where everyone is in reality: a bit of this, a bit of that. Some data in the public cloud, some projects in the private cloud, multiple vendors, and different levels of cloud usage.

What is the future of cloud computing?

Cloud computing is reaching the point where it is likely to account for more enterprise tech spending than the traditional forms of delivering applications and services in-house that have been around for decades. However, the use of the cloud is only likely to climb as organizations get more comfortable with the idea of their data being somewhere other than a server in the basement and now cloud-computing vendors are increasingly pushing cloud computing as an agent of digital transformation instead of focusing simply on cost.

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