What Is Cloud Computing? Everything You Need To Know
The cloud is one of the most important innovations of the information era. Not only does the cloud help businesses reduce their IT costs but it also helps the rest of us be more productive whether we’re in the office or at home. The cloud also enables businesses to lower costs and knowledge barriers that once prevented them from leveraging the latest and greatest technology.
On Demand Computing
The cloud refers to web-connected servers and software that users can access and use over the internet. As a result, you don’t have to host and manage your own hardware and software. It also means that you can access these systems anywhere that you have access to the internet.
You come across cloud computing every day. When you check your Gmail inbox, look at a picture on your Dropbox account, or watch your favorite shows on Netflix, you’re accessing information that is located on a server somewhere in the world. Those emails, video files, or whatever else you need are not being stored on your computer, but you can access them quickly, easily, and cheaply thanks to modern cloud computing technology.
Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud
There are three distinct deployment models for the cloud: private, public, and hybrid. Ultimately, all three models will grant users anytime, anywhere access to the files and applications that drive their business. The difference lies in how they do it. The type of cloud that you should deploy for your business depends on several factors, such as what you are using your cloud environment for, regulations that dictate how data can be stored and transmitted, and other considerations.
Private clouds serve a single entity. Some businesses build and maintain their own environment, while others rely on service providers to handle that task. Either way, private clouds are expensive, and are antithetical to the economic and IT labor productivity benefits of the cloud. However, since some businesses are subject to stricter data privacy and regulatory forces than others, private clouds are their only option.
Public clouds are hosted by cloud service providers, and distributed over the open internet. Public clouds are the most popular and least expensive of the three, and frees customers from having to purchase, manage, and maintain their own IT infrastructure.
Hybrid cloud is the combination of one or more public and private clouds. Let’s say you work in an industry that must adhere to very strict data privacy regulations. While you don’t want to host data that is subject to regulation in the cloud, you want to access it as if it was. At the same time, you want to deploy your CRM in the cloud, through which you can access data stored in your private cloud. In these cases, using a hybrid cloud makes the most sense.
Everything as a Service
There are several layers that make up the cloud “stack”. A stack refers to the combination of frameworks, tools, and other components that make up cloud computing’s under-the-hood infrastructure. This includes Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) modules. These services provide customers with varying levels of control and responsibility in their cloud environment.
Infrastructure as a Service
With IaaS, the customer is responsible for managing everything from the OS and middleware, to the data and applications. The service provider handles other tasks, such as virtualization, servers, storage and networking responsibilities. Customers are charged based on the amount of resources they use, like CPU cycles, memory, bandwidth and more. Examples of IaaS products include Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
Some businesses use IaaS as part of their “lift and shift” strategy, wherein they migrate their data and applications to the cloud. For example, a small business may migrate their file, email, and web servers to the cloud, rather than hosting them on-premises.
Others may use IaaS as part of their disaster recovery plan. Cloud service providers store redundant backups across several data centers. Even if there is a problem in one of their data centers, your data is safely stored somewhere else. This provides businesses with the ability to recover their data should it get ransomed, accidentally deleted, or destroyed by a flood, fire, or other natural disasters.
Platform as a Service
PaaS solutions provide customers with a place to develop, test and host their own applications. The customer is responsible for managing their own data and software, and the service provider handles everything else. With PaaS solutions, you don’t have to worry about software updates, operating systems, or storage needs. PaaS customers pay for whichever computing resources they consume. Examples of PaaS solutions include Google App Engine or SAP Cloud.
Software as a Service
In the SaaS model, customers purchase licenses to use an application hosted by the provider. Unlike IaaS and PaaS models, customers typically purchase annual or monthly subscriptions per user, rather than how much of a particular computing resource they consumed. Some examples of popular SaaS solutions would be Microsoft 365, Dropbox, and DocuSign.
SaaS solutions are great for small businesses that lack the financial and/or IT resources to deploy the latest and greatest solutions. Not only do you skirt the costs and labor concerns that come with deploying your own hardware, but you also don’t have to worry about the high upfront costs of software. Plenty of large businesses have also enjoyed the flexibility and agility afforded by SaaS solutions. In summary, nobody in your organization has to worry about managing software updates, because your software is always up to date.
Benefits of the Cloud
The cloud can help your business save money, become more agile, and operate more efficiently. Businesses can reduce their physical IT footprint and eliminate the tedious, intensive work that comes with managing data centers. Cloud solutions also help your workforce at large work more efficiently, whether they’re at home, in the office, in a coffee shop, and anywhere in between.
Optimize Your IT Budget
Company-maintained data centers are expensive. So are the IT professionals who look after them. The cloud helps businesses mitigate these cost problems by eliminating costly IT infrastructure. Customers reported saving between 30 and 50 percent by switching to the cloud. With less infrastructure to look after, IT workers don’t have to spend hours patching servers, updating software and doing other tedious maintenance. Businesses can instead refocus the IT department’s precious attention span on higher-value tasks.
The pay-as-you-go model provides businesses with the ability to be agile. Since you don’t need to lay down a large investment upfront to get up and running, you can deploy solutions that were once too expensive (or complicated) to handle on your own. The cloud also provides you with the elasticity you need to scale your environment based on your need, without having to pay extra for what you don’t.
Let’s say you run an accounting firm. During tax season, traffic to the website that you host surges ten-fold. To handle that surge, you’ll need equipment that can handle ten times the normal traffic. That means paying extra for the power that you’ll need for a fraction of the time. This is not a problem in the cloud. As traffic to your website surges, the resources supporting the site scale to accommodate the surge automatically. With a cloud solution, you only pay for what you use. This lets you meet your demand without spending a great deal of money on your own server hardware and everything that entails.
While many lean companies depend on cloud computing, they usually don’t stop with cloud-based solutions. They may also outsource accounting, human resources and payroll, and they probably rent not own their buildings.
Anytime, Anywhere Access
With the cloud, you have on demand access to all the files and applications that drive your business from virtually anywhere on the globe. This enables workers to be productive no matter where they are, and enables businesses to provide a consistent user experience across several office or branch locations.
Let’s say you’re visiting a client, and you realize that you left the proposal that you stayed up all night to complete. In a world without the cloud, the only way you’re getting that proposal is by physically retrieving it. But in a world with the cloud, you can access that proposal from anywhere on the globe with an internet connection.
This article originally appeared on forbes.com, to read the full article, click here.
Nastel Technologies is the global leader in Integration Infrastructure Management (i2M). It helps companies achieve flawless delivery of digital services powered by integration infrastructure by delivering Middleware Management, Monitoring, Tracking, and Analytics to detect anomalies, accelerate decisions, and enable customers to constantly innovate, to answer business-centric questions, and provide actionable guidance for decision-makers. It is particularly focused on IBM MQ, Apache Kafka, Solace, TIBCO EMS, ACE/IIB and also supports RabbitMQ, ActiveMQ, Blockchain, IOT, DataPower, MFT and many more.
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