Cloud Computing : Definition, Types, Benefits and Advantages

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Cloud computing is the delivery of different services through the Internet. These resources include tools and applications like data storage, servers, databases, networking, and software.

It is a method of utilizing on-demand computer services via the internet. There is no need to maintain physical servers; instead, service providers, such as Amazon Web Service (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform, provide users with necessary storage, databases, networking, and software.

How does Cloud Computing work?

Rather than owning their own computing infrastructure or data centers, companies can rent access to anything from applications to storage from a cloud service provider.

One benefit of using cloud computing services is that firms can avoid the upfront cost and complexity of owning and maintaining their own IT infrastructure, and instead simply pay for what they use when they use it.

In turn, providers of cloud computing services can benefit from significant economies of scale by delivering the same services to a wide range of customers.

History of Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing as a term has been around since the early 2000s, but the concept of computing-as-a-service has been around for much, much longer — as far back as the 1960s, when computer bureaus would allow companies to rent time on a mainframe, rather than have to buy one themselves.

These ‘time-sharing’ services were largely overtaken by the rise of the PC which made owning a computer much more affordable and then in turn by the rise of corporate data centers where companies would store vast amounts of data. But the concept of renting access to computing power has resurfaced again and again — in the application service providers, utility computing, and grid computing of the late 1990s and early 2000s. This was followed by cloud computing, which really took hold with the emergence of software as a service and hyper-scale cloud computing providers such as Amazon Web Services.

Types of Cloud Computing

  1. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) involves the licensure of a software application to customers. Licenses are typically provided through a pay-as-you-go model or on-demand. This type of system can be found in Microsoft Office’s 365.
  2. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) involves a method for delivering everything from operating systems to servers and storage through IP-based connectivity as part of an on-demand service. Clients can avoid the need to purchase software or servers, and instead procure these resources in an outsourced, on-demand service. Popular examples of the IaaS system include IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure

3. Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is considered the most complex of the three layers of cloud-based computing. PaaS shares some similarities with SaaS, the primary difference being that instead of delivering software online, it is actually a platform for creating software that is delivered via the Internet. This model includes platforms like Salesforce.com and Heroku.

Who is using Cloud computing?

Organizations of every type, size, and industry are using the cloud for a wide variety of use cases, such as data backup, disaster recovery, email, virtual desktops, software development, and testing, big data analytics, and customer-facing web applications. For example, healthcare companies are using the cloud to develop more personalized treatments for patients. Financial services companies are using the cloud to power real-time fraud detection and prevention. And video game makers are using the cloud to deliver online games to millions of players around the world.

Benefits of cloud computing

Cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources. Here are seven common reasons organizations are turning to cloud computing services:

Cost

Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running on-site datacenters—the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. It adds up fast.

Speed

Most cloud computing services are provided self-service and on-demand, so even vast amounts of computing resources can be seen in minutes, typically with just a few mouse clicks, giving businesses a lot of flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.

Global scale

The benefits of cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. In cloud speak, that means delivering the right amount of IT resources—for example, more or less computing power, storage, bandwidth—right when it is needed and from the right geographic location.

Productivity

On-site datacenters typically require a lot of “racking and stacking”—hardware setup, software patching, and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for many of these tasks, so IT teams can spend time on achieving more important business goals.

Performance

The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure data centers, which regularly upgrade to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate data center, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.

Reliability

Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity easier and less expensive because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.

Security

Many cloud providers offer a broad set of policies, technologies, and controls that strengthen your security posture overall, helping protect your data, apps, and infrastructure from potential threats.

Uses

1.  File storage

With cloud computing storage services such as Amazon S3DropBox, or OneDrive, you will be provided with secure access and the scalability to increase or decrease storage based on your needs and budget. For this reason, this type of storage is not only secure but also extremely affordable.

2. Social Networking

Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are examples of the Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud computing model. Social media platforms are developed to help you find people you know – or connect with those you don’t know. They also give you many tools for sharing information and data such as tweets, photos, instant messages, and posts.

Along with cloud storage, social networking is one of the most common use cases for consumer-driven usage of cloud services.

3. Big Data Analytics

Companies of all sizes need big data for a myriad of reasons. Some collect it to discover new opportunities for business growth, while others do so to find solutions to complex problems.

The primary benefit of cloud computing is that it comes with a pay-as-you-go pricing strategy. This means that you will not have to pay for unused time – saving your business a significant amount of money. You only access resources and pay for them when you need them.

Cloud computing makes big data analytics simple, useful, and inexpensive. For more information, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offer several analytics services for various use cases.

4. Disaster recovery

Traditionally, building a disaster recovery site and testing your business continuity plan has been an extremely expensive and time-consuming task.

With cloud computing, you can build a disaster recovery solution in the cloud. In this model, you create a replica of your production site and constantly replicate data and configuration settings.

An example of an automated and orchestrated disaster recovery solution is CloudEndure by AWS.

5. Data backups and archiving

Traditional methods of data backup have proven effective in backing up data for a long time. They are prone to viruses, and due to their portable nature, they can get lost and pose a threat to modern businesses.

Cloud-based backup and archiving is a solution to these challenges. It is easy to implement and provides maximum data security. With this approach, you can backup or archive your sensitive files to cloud-based storage systems. This provides the assurance that your data is still intact even if your live data becomes somehow compromised.

Some cloud computing services allow you to schedule backups to meet your unique needs. Additionally, you can encrypt your cloud backups and make it impossible for hackers and snoopers to access. With cloud storage, you can get as much space as you require and store as much data as you need and will only pay for what you actually use.

Advantages of Cloud Computing

Cost Savings

Cost-saving is one of the biggest Cloud Computing benefits. It helps you to save substantial capital costs as it does not need any physical hardware investments. Also, you do not need trained personnel to maintain the hardware. The buying and managing of equipment are done by the cloud service provider.

Strategic edge

Cloud computing offers a competitive edge over your competitors. It is one of the best advantages of Cloud services that helps you to access the latest applications any time without spending your time and money on installations.

High Speed

Cloud computing allows you to deploy your service quickly in fewer clicks. The faster deployment allows you to get the resources required for your system within fewer minutes.

Reliability

Reliability is one of the biggest benefits of Cloud hosting. You always get updates about the changes.

Mobility

Employees who are working on the premises or at remote locations can easily access all the could services. All they need is Internet connectivity.

Unlimited storage capacity

The cloud offers almost limitless storage capacity. At any time you can quickly expand your storage capacity with very nominal monthly fees.

Back-up and restore data

Once the data is stored in a Cloud, it is easier to get the back-up and recovery of that, which is otherwise a very time taking process on-premise.

Automatic Software Integration

In the cloud, software integration is something that occurs automatically. Therefore, you don’t need to take additional efforts to customize and integrate your applications as per your preferences.

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

Performance can vary

When you are working in a cloud environment, your application is running on the server which simultaneously provides resources to other businesses. Any greedy behavior or DDOS attack on your tenant could affect the performance of your shared resource.

Technical Issues

Cloud technology is always prone to an outage and other technical issues. Even, the best cloud service provider companies may face this type of trouble despite maintaining high standards of maintenance.

Internet Connectivity

Good Internet connectivity is a must in cloud computing. You can’t access the cloud without an internet connection. Moreover, you don’t have any other way to gather data from the cloud.

Lower Bandwidth

Many cloud storage service providers limit the bandwidth usage of their users. So, in case if your organization surpasses the given allowance, the additional charges could be significantly costly

Security Threat in the Cloud

Another drawback while working with cloud computing services is a security risk. Before adopting cloud technology, you should be well aware of the fact that you will be sharing all your company’s sensitive information with a third-party cloud computing service provider. Hackers might access this information.

Conclusion:

Despite all the Cloud Computing advantages and disadvantages, we can’t deny the fact that Cloud Computing is the fastest-growing part of network-based computing. It offers a great advantage to customers of all sizes: simple users, developers, enterprises, and all types of organizations. So, this technology is here to stay for a long time.

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