By Lasya G | 24 January, 2021 | 6 min Read
Have you ever used Google Drive, Facebook, Dropbox and wondered how it works? Are you fascinated to know what technology runs behind these applications? Can you guess the technology?
Yes, you are right, It is Cloud Computing. Is cloud computing a buzzword with a lot of hype? Yes, it is, but why is it?
Keep reading this article to know more about how cloud computing works and the benefits of cloud computing.
Before we dive into applications and benefits, let’s understand the meaning of Cloud Computing and how it works?
Cloud Computing is defined as the delivery of different services via the internet which includes software, data storage, networking, computing power, and much more. In simpler terms, cloud computing is where computing services are accessed over the internet instead of physical hardware (hard drives). It is food for Today's digital era. There are many popular companies that are born in the cloud, understand its potential, and utilize them. Some of them include Amazon, Spotify, Flipkart, Netflix, Twitter, Uber, Slack, and much more. Generally, AI and IoT are the most widely integrated cloud technologies but any sort of technology can be combined with the cloud to unlock even greater potential.
Cloud is a repository to share, exchange, and store information through satellite networks. Every cloud application is managed by a hosting company and the hosting company is responsible for managing data centers that provide security and also manage all the data that is being uploaded by the user.
Some of the most popular hosting companies are Amazon Web Services (AWS) by Amazon, Azure Cloud by Microsoft, iCloud by Apple, and GCS by Google. There are many other medium and small companies that offer applications that run on the cloud.
Cloud Computing can be divided into two main components one is the front end and the other is the backend. The front end refers to the user’s device which is used to share and upload information. The device can be a mobile, laptop, tablet, or any other computing device. On the backend, there are various computers, servers, and data storage systems that form an ecosystem. The data that is stored on the backend can be altered, downloaded, and transferred using the front end.
Cloud matters because it is much more than just someone else's computer.
Organizations and companies using cloud computing have a lot of benefits. Here are a few key benefits of using cloud computing
Cloud offers access to the latest and highly advanced technologies in an affordable way. This helps businesses, startups, and industries to explore more and innovate more which they were never able to do before. It lowers barriers for startups to entry.
Speed is an important key. Cloud gives flexibility to quickly adjust the number of computing resources a business needs while paying only for what it uses. This enables to reduce the time of developing a new application by only focusing on the core business of the company. Cloud offers easy and faster deployments.
Elasticity plays an important role in business. As the cloud follows the pay-as-you-go method, you can scale up and down resources whenever needed. You can easily scale up resources when demand is high and scale down resources when demand is low.
Building on-premise IT infrastructure is expensive. Many businesses and startups couldn’t afford it. At times businesses might not use it fully. By using the cloud, the company can focus on its core business and pay only for computing resources it used instead of worrying about building and managing on-premise infrastructure. By using the cloud, you can save money not for a short time but over a long duration of time.
Moving from on-premise to cloud will enhance security. Cloud service providers follow advanced level security policies and monitor constantly to avoid security threats. Cloud security is much cheaper than on-premise security.
Cloud service providers always follow advanced disaster recovery techniques. Suppose if one hardware fails in the pool, it automatically allocates another hardware and stores the data of what the failed hardware was storing.
Cloud Computing Services are broadly classified into three types: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS are not independent as they are built upon each other and this is called Cloud Computing Stack. Apart from the above three “as a service”, there are many other services over the internet like Database as a Service, Security as a Service but all these other “as a service” are either specialized versions or combination versions of the above three.
Software as a Service or SaaS is the simplest service to understand as most users like us are already using it. It is simply a Software application delivered over the internet. It follows the most important qualities of cloud services like you need to be connected to the internet, uses Third-Party Hardware for storing its functionality, follows On-Demand Self-Service which means customers can request and get access to a service without involving any support team and Resource Pooling. As you don’t own the software, so basically it is a subscription model i.e. you need to pay to use the software applications but few software applications you may not directly pay for it as it works on ads or maybe free up to a certain limit.
Some of the popular examples of SaaS include Gmail, Outlook, Google Docs, Dropbox, Amazon Drive, Salesforce, OneDrive, CRM, and much more.
Main users of SaaS are the end users and others.
Platform as a Service or PaaS refers to the supply of platforms accessed via the internet, which is used for developing, testing, deploying, monitoring software applications. It makes it easy to develop applications as you don’t need to think of building the platform, security issues, and all the repetitive work as the cloud already automates those parts. PaaS is generally like SaaS, it follows all the important qualities of cloud services such as connected over the internet, uses Third-Party hardware, On-Demand Self-Service, and much more.
Some popular examples of PaaS include Operating System, Development Frameworks, Security Scanning Software, Database, and much more.
Main users of PaaS are Software Developers.
Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS refers to the supply of services such as networking, storage, and virtualization. Amazon AWS, Alibaba Cloud, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, and many more offer IaaS. Even IaaS follows all common cloud computing qualities like Multitenancy, On-Demand Self-Service, connected via the internet, resource pooling, Fault tolerance, and many more. All these cloud providers follow the pay-as-you-go method. You can scale up and down resources based on demand.
Some of the popular examples of IaaS include AWS, Google Compute Engine, Digital Ocean and much more.
Main users of IaaS are System admin and IT Professionals.
Basically, when a cloud provider allows resources available to the public, then it is a Public cloud. It is a default option. All the basic characteristics of data centers and everything in them is owned by Third-Party which are available to the public. Generally, the public cloud is not much safer even though it comes with advanced security features. It offers Ultimate scalability, cost-effectiveness, and low maintenance.
A private cloud comes into the picture when we need a set of computing resources that are completely dedicated to a single organization. A private cloud is much more secure than a public cloud. Basically, it uses a private network for greater security. It allows more customization as now we have more control over those resources. As it offers high-level security, flexibility, and scalability which automatically leads to an increase in cost.
A hybrid cloud is a mix of both public and private clouds. It also refers to the idea of combining them with on-premise equipment and applications. These will communicate with each other using APIs. For example, we can store more confidential information in a private cloud and general information in a public cloud. Thus, it is cost-effective than the private cloud and we have more control over storing the data.
Sometimes we may need some features which a single cloud provider doesn’t offer, then multi-cloud comes into the picture. Generally, it means combining solutions from more than one cloud provider. By this, we may not need to stick to a single cloud provider for our solutions. Thus, it is cost-effective and offers High scalability.
According to reports from Synergy Research group (Q3 2020) AWS has the highest cloud computing market share followed by Microsoft’s Azure and then Google Cloud.
In Q3 2020, the top four cloud infrastructure service providers were AWS (32%), Microsoft Azure (19%), Google Cloud (7%) and Alibaba Cloud (6%)