What Is Cloud Computing? [Everything You Need to Know]

Tracy King updated on Aug 31, 2022 to Knowledge Center

Cloud-based storage enables you to save files to a remote database rather than a proprietary hard disc or local storage device. An electronic IOT device has access to the data and the software applications needed to run it.

For several reasons, cloud computing is a common option for people and businesses, including cost savings, increased productivity, speed and efficiency, performance, and security.

cloud-computing

This article will give an overview of cloud computing, its working principle, its benefits, and its characteristics. Some examples and cases will help you relate to the situation. 

What Is Cloud Computing and How Does it Work?

In this part, we will have a great in-depth discussion about cloud computing and its working principle. So, let's start it.

Definition

Cloud computing delivers computer services such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence over the Internet (the "cloud") to promote faster innovation, flexible resources, and scale economies. Only the cloud services you actually use have to be paid for, which reduces operational cost, enhances infrastructure management, and lets you scale as your business's needs change.

History 

The term "cloud computing" was first used in a 1996 internal Compaq document. The word "cloud" was first associated with the idea of distributed computing, which gained popularity at Apple-founded General Magic in the early 1990s and had previously been mentioned in scholarly writing. According to Computer world, the idea was first broached by J.C.R. Licklider, the first director of the Information Processing Techniques Office at the Pentagon's ARPA division in the 1960s.

When Bob Taylor and Larry Roberts created ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Networks) in 1969, Licklider's concept revolutionized computing and eventually became the forerunner of the Internet that we know today.

Working Principle

Say you work as an executive for a sizable company. Making sure your staff have the hardware and software required to perform their tasks is one of your specific responsibilities. It is not enough to buy computers for everyone; you also need to purchase software or licensing for the software to provide your staff with the necessary capabilities. When you hire a new employee, you must either buy additional software or ensure that your current software license permits a different user. Because of how stressful it is, you have a hard time sleeping on your enormous cash stash every night.

There might be another option soon for CEOs like you. You must load one application on each machine instead of an entire software package. Employees would be able to log onto a web-based service that holds all the programs they would require for their jobs using that application. Everything from email to word processing to sophisticated data analysis software would run on remote equipment owned by a different corporation. It is known as cloud computing, and it has the potential to transform the whole computer sector.

There is a significant shift in workload in a cloud computing system. Applications can now be run remotely without burdening local PCs with all the work. Instead, the cloud's network of computers takes care of them. The user's requirements for hardware and software are reduced. The cloud computing system's interface software, which can be as essential as a web browser, is all that the user's computer needs to be able to run; the cloud's network handles the rest.

cloud-computing-process

There's a decent probability that you've previously used cloud computing in some capacity. You may already be familiar with cloud computing if you use a web-based email service like Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, or Gmail. You sign into a Web email account remotely rather than running an email software on your PC, and your account's software and storage are located on the service's computer cloud, not your PC.

Characteristics and Benefits of Cloud Computing

In this part, there are some characteristics and benefits of cloud computing. So, first, let's have a look at the characteristics. 

Provisioning using self-service: End users can instantly fire up computing resources for virtually any kind of workload. End users can now provision computing resources such as server time and network storage, doing away with the requirement for IT administrators to traditionally provision and manage computing resources.

Elasticity: Companies can scale up as computing needs rise and down once more as conditions fall. So, there is no longer a need to make substantial expenditures on local infrastructure that may or may not remain functional.

Pay as you go: Users can only pay for their workloads and resources because compute resources are assessed precisely.

Workload adaptability: CSPs frequently implement redundant resources to enable resilient storage and maintain users' critical workloads—often across different global regions.

So let's move on to the benefits of cloud computing.

Benefits with examples:

Companies from all industries can profit from using cloud-based software, which can be accessed by the browser or native apps on any device. Users may seamlessly transfer their files and settings from one device to another as a consequence.

Using cloud computing for file access is simply the tip of the iceberg. Thanks to cloud computing, users may check their email on any computer and store files using services like Dropbox and Google Drive.

Users can back up their music, files, and images using cloud computing services, ensuring they always have access to them during a hard drive accident.

Large firms can save a tonne of money this way as well. Companies had to invest in costly information management infrastructure, technology purchases, construction, and maintenance before the cloud became a practical substitute. Fast Internet connections can replace expensive server farms and IT staff in businesses, allowing workers to do jobs online by interacting with the cloud.

People can conserve storage space on their computers or laptops using the cloud infrastructure. Software businesses can now sell their wares online rather than through more conventional, tangible ways like discs or flash drives, which allows customers to upgrade software more quickly. Customers of Adobe, for instance, can use an online subscription to access the applications included in its Creative Cloud. This makes it simple for consumers to download updates and fixes for their programs.

Types of Cloud Computing Services

The majority of cloud computing services are provided via Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Serverless, and Software as a Service (SaaS). These are frequently referred to as the "stack" of cloud computing since they stack one on top of the other. It is easier to accomplish your company goals when you are aware of what they are and how they differ from one another.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), a particular type of cloud computing service, offers fundamental computing, storage, and networking resources on demand and a pay-as-you-go basis. One of the four types of cloud services is IaaS; the others are serverless, platform as a service, and software as a service (SaaS).

You can reduce the maintenance of on-premises data centers, save money on hardware, and obtain real-time business insights by moving your organization's infrastructure to an IaaS service. IaaS solutions give you the flexibility to change your IT resource allocation in response to demand. They let you swiftly provide new apps and increase the dependability of your underlying infrastructure.

You may avoid the expense and difficulty of purchasing and managing actual servers and data center equipment using IaaS. You only pay for a specific resource for as long as you use it because each resource is provided as a separate service component. While you buy, install, configure, and manage your software, including operating systems, middleware, and apps, a cloud computing service provider manages the infrastructure.

Platform as a service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a full-featured cloud development and deployment environment with the tools you need to produce everything from essential cloud-based apps to complex corporate applications. You pay for the resources you require on a pay-as-you-go basis from a cloud service provider and access them through a secure Internet connection.

Along with infrastructure (servers, storage, and networking), PaaS comprises middleware, development tools, business intelligence (BI) services, database management systems, and other things. PaaS provides support for all phases of a web application's lifecycle, including development, testing, deployment, management, and updating.

You can save money and time using PaaS instead of purchasing and managing software licenses, the middleware, and infrastructure that underlies applications, container orchestrators like Kubernetes, or development tools and other resources. The cloud service provider generally manages everything else while you manage the apps and services you design.

Serverless computing

Serverless computing frees developers from handling infrastructure, allowing them to create apps more quickly. In serverless applications, the infrastructure needed to run the code is automatically provisioned, scaled, and managed by the cloud service provider.

It's crucial to remember that servers are still running the code while understanding what serverless computing is. The name "serverless" means that infrastructure provisioning and management duties are hidden from developers. With this strategy, developers may concentrate more on business logic and add value to the organization's core. Serverless computing helps teams work more productively and launch products more quickly, enabling businesses to utilize their resources better and maintain an innovation-focused mindset.

Software as a service (SaaS)

Users can connect and utilize cloud-based applications through the Internet thanks to the software as a service (SaaS). Email, calendaring, and office tools are typical examples (such as Microsoft Office 365).

A cloud service provider that offers SaaS offers a complete software solution that you can pay for as you use it. Your users connect to an app you rented for your business through the Internet, typically using a web browser. The service provider's data center houses all of the supporting infrastructure, middleware, app software, and app data. With the applicable service agreement, the service provider, who also oversees the hardware and software, will guarantee the app's accessibility, security, and privacy. 

Cloud Computing Examples and Use Cases

The infrastructure and software concept known as cloud computing makes access to shared networks, servers, storage, and software.

It permits data processing on a server held by a third party or a privately owned cloud. Maximum speed and dependability result from this. However, its primary advantages are ease of installation, cheap maintenance, and scalability. It adapts to meet your demands in this way.

Since 2009, the use of IaaS and SaaS cloud computing has exploded and is now pervasive. You're actually reading this on the cloud right now, and we'd wager.

Here are a few real-world instances of cloud computing to give you an idea of how important technology is to our daily lives. There are some examples and use cases of cloud computing. Have a look!

  • Today, both organizations and people employ a variety of cloud computing applications. Streaming platforms for audio or video, where the actual media files are kept remotely, are one type of cloud service. Platforms for data storage like Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, or Box would be an additional option.
  • SaaS technology has entered the market to store, organize, and maintain that data as businesses expand and gather more. CRM, marketing automation tools, and other technologies have helped lines of business operate more effectively. SaaS solutions, sometimes known as "software on demand," are housed centrally in the cloud and accessible from any location at any time. 
  • Building and maintaining infrastructure involves many steps. There are hardware, space, electricity, and overhead costs to construct and maintain it. A data center's construction can easily cost businesses millions of dollars. Because of this, companies are choosing to house their data in service provider-run data centers rather than investing in capital projects. Companies can save money on expensive infrastructure investments and have simple cloud access to their data.
  • An intermediary called a cloud carrier connects cloud providers and cloud consumers and transports their requests for cloud services. Most ISPs have assumed the role of cloud carriers since they offer the necessary bandwidth to link customers with providers and the tools to support that connectivity. 

Role of Cloud Computing:

  • Cloud solution architect
  • Cloud Developer
  • Cloud DevOps Engineer
  • Cloud Data Engineer
  • Cloud Operations Engineer

Sum Up

This article discusses cloud computing, as it distributes computing services over the Internet (the cloud). And it provides web-based services that hold the programs. So, it helps large organizations to work smoothly. 

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