Cloud Computing – The Ins and Outs

What Exactly is Cloud Computing? 

Cloud computing is commonly known as the on-demand delivery of IT resources with the internet as a distributing platform, using pay-as-you-go pricing. Instead of buying, owning and maintaining physical data centers and servers, the user is able to access technology services such as computing power, storage, and databases on an as-needed basis from cloud providers. Such providers often include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and IBM Cloud. 

The Cloud is used by organizations of every type, size, and industry for a wide variety of cases. These things include: data backup, disaster recovery, email, virtual desktops, software development and testing, big data analytics, and customer-facing web applications. Healthcare companies, for example, are using the Cloud to develop more personalized treatments for patients. Similarly, financial services are using the Cloud to power real-time fraud detection and prevention, and video game developers are using it to deliver online games to millions of buyers around the world. 

 

What are the Benefits of Cloud Computing?

Agility 

The Cloud gives users easy access to a broad range of technologies, allowing for faster innovation; using the Cloud, you can access materials and tech that will help you build anything imaginable. Users can quickly spin up resources as needed–from infrastructure services such as computers, storage, and databases, to Internet of Things, machine learning, data lakes and analytics, and much more. 

Users can deploy technology services in a matter of minutes, moving from the conceptual idea to implementation far more quickly than ever before. This provides the freedom to experiment, test new ideas, differentiate customer experiences, and entirely transform a business. 

 

Elasticity 

With cloud computing, you don’t have to over-provision resources up front in order to handle peak levels of activity in the future. Instead, users provision the amount of resources that are actually needed at the time. You can scale these resources up or down to instantly grow and shrink capacity as the need for change arises. 

 

Cost Savings 

The Cloud also allows users to trade capital expenses (such as data centers and physical servers) for variable expenses, only paying for IT as it’s consumed. Furthermore, the variable expenses are much lower than what users would pay to do it themselves, due to the economics of scale.  

 

Deploy Globally in Minutes 

With the Cloud, you can expand to new geographic regions and deploy globally in mere minutes. AWS, as an example, has infrastructure all over the world, so you can deploy your application in multiple physical locations with just a few clicks. Putting applications in closer proximity to end-users reduces latency and improves their experience.

 

Types of Cloud Computing: 

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) 

IaaS contains the basic building blocks for Cloud IT, typically providing access to networking features, computers (virtual or on dedicated hardware), and data storage space. IaaS gives users the highest level of flexibility and management control over their IT resources; it is most similar to the existing IT resources with which many IT departments and developers are familiar.  

 

Platform as a Service (PaaS) 

PaaS removes the need to manage underlying infrastructure (usually hardware and operating systems), and allows users to focus on the deployment and management of applications. This aids in efficiency as users don’t need to worry about resource procurement, capacity planning, software maintenance, patching, or any of the other undifferentiated heavy lifting involved in running an application.  

 

Software as a Service (SaaS) 

SaaS provides a complete product that is run and managed by the service provider. In most cases, people referring to SaaS are referring to end-user applications (such as web-based email). With an SaaS offering, you don’t have to think about how the service is maintained or how the underlying infrastructure is managed, only about how you will use that particular software.