Ultimate Guide To Learning Everything About Cloud Computing7 mins - Introduction
The technical term ‘cloud computing’ has turned into a buzzword and is very popular nowadays. You must have heard it at least once from people around you! The history of this phrase and its appearance dates back to the 1990s. It was first spotted in an internal document by Compaq Computer Corporation in early 1993 and started gaining worldwide attention and popularity after Amazon launched its ‘Elastic Cloud Computing’ platform-Amazon web services-in 2006.
The new computing trend today has been around for quite some though and involves users-businesses, individuals, etcetera-buying in computing services instead of addressing their tasks the traditional and more complex way-the DIY way. This upgraded method in the computing world is called cloud computing. Let’s now dive into the details of what cloud computing is and what its main principles are!
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing simply and comprehensively means that you, as a user, are using the Internet instead of your PC’s hard drive to store and access your programs and data. The Internet is basically the ‘cloud’ here which replaces the software and hardware (local networking) usage involved in conventional computing methods and allows you to buy a relevant service from another company.
When using cloud computing services, the end-user doesn’t have a direct concern about the locations and operations of the IT infrastructures and software of the service provider-they’re just ‘simply’ buying the services they require via the Internet. Clients can quite easily make subscriptions for the computing services delivered and offered through the ‘cloud’ and gain access to strong IT resources.
Types of Cloud Computing Services
The concept of cloud computing and its operational structure includes the provision and delivery of three distinct computing services to clients and users via the ‘Internet’, regardless of the geographical distance between the users and the service providers.
Defining these three models will involve a certain level of overlapping and vagueness, but below are our easy-to-understand explanations for all three.
1) PaaS (Platform as a Service)
This service enables clients to develop & publish their very own customized applications in hosted environments. In simpler words, clients are able to use Web-tools to create applications which function on systems hardware and software provided by other companies. It allows clients to work in an integrated environment and provides them with a framework for software development, deployment, testing and maintenance.
Using this service can be compared to ordering and eating at a fast-food restaurant, such as Chipotle; you have the option of choosing from several different toppings but can only choose from a few bases-taco, burrito, bowl, etcetera. PaaS offers its clients a fixed software stack & OS on top of which they can run their own software. A very common example is Salesforce.com.
2) SaaS (Software as a Service)
Another term for this cloud computing model is ‘software on-demand’. This service enables clients to use and have access to software applications through a web browser that is connected to the Internet. It basically means that clients are able to use and work on applications that are running on ‘someone else’s’ system.
Using this service can be compared to borrowing a book from a library (keep in mind that the factor of physical access associated with this example does not apply to SaaS as it works on a remote basis); you visit the library, read the book you wanted to and come back after returning it. With Saas, clients use software that is available online (over the internet) and that’s about it! Best-known examples of this model are Google Applications & web-based email applications, such as Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail.
3) IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
This service is also known as ‘Hardware as a Service’. It enables clients to use raw IT resources & hardware-storage, firewalls, servers, etcetera-over the Internet and use the ‘pay-as-you-go’ method. IaaS is often considered to be the basic layer of the cloud computing models.
Using this service can be compared to purchasing furniture pieces from Walmart; you are provided with all the necessary materials and you need to ‘build’ it yourself. With IaaS, clients are given access to a ‘computer’ and they are free thereafter to install all software and OS on it according to their needs. Common examples include Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine and Microsoft Azure.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
Now that we know what exactly cloud computing is and the principles it is based on, taking a look at the advantages and disadvantages of this ‘new’ technology will help you in assessing it more clearly.
— Cloud computing gives users more control and authority in the sense that they can buy only the services that they need and at the time they are needed.
— These services allow users to have access to their data and programs from all around the world from any device-computers, smartphones, tablets, etcetera-which adds the element of flexibility.
— The high capital costs of buying peripherals and computers are eliminated and replaced with affordable subscription charges.
— Affordability allows small and medium-sized firms and businesses to use top-notch and high quality IT services at a low cost.
— Adding or removing services can be done at a very short span of time.
— Since everything is automatic and internet-based, users are freed of the responsibilities of fixing, monitoring and maintaining as all is taken care of by cloud computing service providers.
— One-off initial costs are replaced with ongoing frequent charges that turn into operational costs for users. This can prove to be expensive in the longer run.
— A high-speed and reliable broadband internet connection is essential for users to smoothly use and access cloud computing services. This can be a problem for those residing in rural areas or developing countries.
— Buying-in services restrict options (clients buy what service providers sell) and precise solutions for users and make them dependent on service providers. Unexpected changes made to the services provided have the potential of impacting global users and clients adversely.