Cloud computing provides users with on-demand access to computing resources, such as servers, storage, applications, and services all over the internet, instead of storing and managing them locally on their own servers or data centers.
Cloud computing offers various services and deployment options that businesses can customize to meet their needs, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
Cloud computing is different from edge computing, but they are complimentary services - each has its strengths and appropriate applications.
Cloud computing is good for general purpose applications that require centralized IT, computing and storage, processing power for machine learning, hyper scale capabilities, and broad reach.
Edge computing works well when you want to move computational processing to the edge of the network, at or near the source of the data, instead of centralized infrastructure.
Cloud computing provides organizations and users with a flexible, cost-effective, and reliable way to manage their computing resources, collaborate and share information while staying innovative and competitive.
Scalability: Cloud computing allows businesses to scale their computing resources up or down based on demand. This ability means they can quickly respond to changes in their computing needs without investing or planning for expensive infrastructure.
Cost-effectiveness: Organizations can reduce their capital expenditure on hardware and software and offset their operating costs on maintenance and upgrades. Both of these options lead to massive savings over time.
Accessibility: Cloud computing allows users to access their data and applications from anywhere via the internet. This function makes it easier for remote workers and teams to collaborate and share information.
Reliability: Cloud computing providers often offer high levels of reliability and uptime. They have built-in redundancies and failover systems to ensure data and applications are always available.
Security: Cloud computing providers offer advanced security features and protocols to protect data and applications from unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security risks.
Cloud computing provides access to any of the following - servers, storage, and networking, all available over the internet. Instead of owning and managing their own physical resources and infrastructure, organizations can leverage cloud computing services to quickly and easily issue the help they need, as they need it.
As a simplified version of how this may work, an organization identifies its specific computing needs, such as running a website, maintaining a database, processing data, or running an application. Then they select a cloud provider and a service model that meets their needs - IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS.
The chosen solution provides the necessary computing resources, such as a virtual machine, some networking infrastructure, or virtual storage, all through the cloud provider’s web interface or application program interface (API).
They can then transfer their information to the cloud provider’s infrastructure and access data, applications, and content anywhere via the internet. The cloud provider will automatically manage the underlying infrastructure, including scalability, security, and maintenance, ensuring availability and reliability maintains intact.
Most cloud computing solutions are based on a consumption model, meaning that the organization will only pay for the resources they use as they scale their solution up and down. For this reason, cloud computing allows organizations to rapidly scale resources based on demand without investing in expensive hardware or having a dedicated team to manage their infrastructure.
Cloud computing solutions can also provide additional tools and services such as machine learning (ML), data analytics (DA), and development platforms to help organizations innovate and compete more effectively in their business spaces.
Each service model provides a different level of abstraction and management for organizations.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): The cloud provider offers virtualization for computing resources. Examples of these resources could be servers, networking devices, or storage. An organization can then use these resources to build and manage its IT infrastructure. IaaS provides the most control and flexibility but requires organizations to manage their infrastructure.
Platform as a Service (PaaS): The cloud provider offers a platform where an organization can build, test and deploy its web applications. The platform typically includes everything necessary to build web applications with tools and services. Examples of these include databases, middleware, and development frameworks. PaaS provides a high level of abstraction while making it easier for organizations to develop and deploy their applications, but with less infrastructure control.
Software as a Service (SaaS): In this model, the cloud provider offers a functional software application that organizations can use over the internet. The cloud provider manages and hosts the software; customers typically pay a subscription fee. SaaS provides the highest level of abstraction, with customers simply using the software supplied by the provider without any control over the underlying infrastructure.
There are many valuable use cases and opportunities for users, such as:
File storage - store files in a central workspace to connect your remote teams and get work done faster.
Big Data Analytics - Big Data is a concept that deals with storing, processing and analyzing large amounts of data. Cloud computing offers the infrastructure to enable such processes in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
Data backups and archiving - cloud backup is a service in which the data and applications on a business's servers are backed up and stored on a remote server.
Serverless computing is a cloud computing model in which the cloud provider manages the infrastructure and automatically allocates computing resources as needed, without the organization's need to manage or provision servers. In serverless computing, organizations write and deploy code in the cloud. The cloud provider scales the computing resources up and down as needed to handle the workload.
In this model, organizations pay for the actual usage of computing resources rather than paying for a fixed amount of computing resources in advance. This may result in significant cost savings as organizations only pay for the resources they use rather than over-provisioning to handle their peak workloads. Organizations use serverless computing for event-driven or microservice architectures, where specific events, such as changes in data or user actions, trigger small pieces of code. The cloud computing provider will automatically provision and scale the necessary computing resources to run the code in response to these events.
Function as a Service (FaaS): In this model, the customers write their functions in a serverless environment. The cloud provider manages the infrastructure and automatically scales the necessary computing resources up and down to handle the workload. Specific events activate the functions, and the cloud provider provisions and scale the resources required to run the functions in response to these events.
A cloud deployment refers to deploying applications, services, or infrastructure in a cloud computing environment. This exercise involves setting up the necessary resources, such as computing instances, storage, networking, and security, and configuring them to run active workloads. In a cloud deployment, a third-party cloud provider typically owns and operates the cloud infrastructure. The cloud provider offers various services and tools that organizations can use to deploy and manage their applications and infrastructure in the cloud.
Organizations can customize cloud deployments to meet specific business needs, such as scaling and handling high traffic volumes, improving web application performance and availability, or increasing data security. Cloud deployments also simplify the management and maintenance of company IT resources, outsourcing tasks to the cloud provider and freeing internal resources for more critical projects.
The choice of deployment model often depends on factors such as an organization's security requirements, performance needs, and budget.
Public cloud: A third-party provider owns and operates the cloud infrastructure, and organizations share resources. Organizations access the resources via the internet and pay for the resources they use on a consumption basis.
Private cloud: A single organization owns and operates the cloud infrastructure and has dedicated resources. Private clouds can be hosted on-premises or by a third-party provider. This deployment provides increased control and customization over the infrastructure and compliance and security but is more costly.
Hybrid cloud: An organization uses public and private cloud resources. This deployment allows the organization to utilize the scalability and cost-effectiveness of the public cloud for specific workloads while keeping their sensitive data and critical applications on a private cloud for greater control and security.