Cloud Computing: Everything you need to know

This blog post is a continuation of our cloud computing series. Let’s see what more there is to learn about cloud computing. So today, we’ll cover how the concept of cloud computing evolved, what are the different types of cloud services, the advantages, and disadvantages of cloud computing. Let’s get started.

Where did cloud computing come from?

Let’s talk about the origin of the idea of cloud computing. While many may credit an excellent idea of cloud computing to big names such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, the idea of cloud computing isn’t that new. Are you calling my bluff? Check the proof here. According to Technology Review, way back in 1996, the offices of Compaq decided to offer “cloud computing” to the world. Ranging to over a billion a year revenue, Compaq created a ripple in the universe.

While many couldn’t make heads or tails of the “cloud computing,” the US government asked NIST National Institutes of Standards and Technology to come up with a formal definition. According to NIST Computer Security Issue September 2011, “Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

This scholarly definition defines “cloud computing” in a fancy manner. The idea is not so complicated, bear with me, and you’ll agree. Brilliant but practical and easy to follow. Cloud computing is nothing more than an infrastructure of the third-party hosted web services provided to consumers on cheaper rates for ease and twenty-seven access. See, nothing new under the sun. Only the idea coverage is far more advanced and far more than you would’ve thought. From your work number-crunching spreadsheets to smart homes, everything is revolutionized and revolves around the idea of cloud computing.

Characteristics of cloud computing?

On-demand service: One of the essential characteristics of cloud computing is how easy and quickly the information/data/services are available to the end-user. No obstacles, hoops in between. Ironically, the information literally jumps hoops to reach you.

Broad network access: available to all devices, either mobile or desktop, the information can be exchanged over the network fast and efficiently.

Resource pooling: Servers, routers, storage, network bandwidth, pretty big words, and techy to get your head around them? One of the prime characteristics of cloud computing is to free the end-user from the shackles of these dependencies. This is handled by the hosting servers, which we’ll discuss later on.

Rapid elasticity: Remember, we talked about scalability? Well, the cloud has to be elastic to server many consumers at the same time. Instead of implementing settings each time, the cloud network bandwidth is subject to increase or decrease depending on the number of end-users.

Measured Service: Now, here is the catch. Instead of reserving a massive amount of storage, hardware, and servers, cloud computing is efficiently and effectively managing these resources. These resources can be monitored and then optimized, giving complete transparency and control to the hosting or service provider and the consumer.

Cloud Computing Service Models:

Cloud computing can be bifurcated based on service models. Let’s deal with the question of who provides these services later and focus on each model

IaaS-Infrastructure as a Service: Imagine you want to host a website or run tests on your website. Instead of allocating a specific spectrum of resources and ending up on a gravy train, the idea is to pay for only what you’ve used. Services acquired only for when and how much needed.

Few of the critical advantages of IaaS are:

  • No setup fee and reduced maintenance cost
  • Improved risk recovery and smooth business
  • Flexibility to mold according to the evolving business model
  • Focus on managing the cornerstones of business
  • Increased security and stability
  • Delivering fast and effective results (products/apps) to the end-users

PaaS-Platform as a Service: PaaS is an advance step of IaaS. Instead of just using servers, storage, and networking, PaaS is to use the full package of business intelligence, management of databases and development tools. Accessing a network based on need, PaaS can allow one to host not just simple services or applications but can also support upscale enterprise applications as well.

PaaS supports the complete development cycle reducing the coding efforts. Few advantages of PaaS are

  • Reduced Coding Costs: The development team can utilize off the shelf components, effectively covering significant milestones.
  • Reduced Resources Costs: It also aids in reducing the number of resources involved, effectively cutting costs. The fewer resources and less time required.
  • Multi-platform development: Contrary to the typical model of coding separately for web and mobile applications, the development team can work on cross platforms at the same time: reduced timelines, natural coverage.
  • Affordable tools: All the above is fancy and astonishing but the real catch is how affordable the PaaS tools are.
  • Improved software development: Enterprise systems are often built and born by geographically remote teams. With PaaS, these teams can easily communicate and work on the same components, reducing the cloud and improving the overall application management.

SaaS-Software as a Service: What could be easier? Not to bear the responsibility of hosting even your application. SaaS is just that. The application, services, databases, operating systems, storage, security walls, everything is at the service provider’s end. All the team or the consumer has to be concerned with is the actual use of the application. Can’t wind your head around the idea? How about Microsoft Office 365, rings a bell? How about the various enterprise management applications? The developers must be familiar with GitHub, or the managers must be sued by JIRA.

Few advantages of SaaS are:

  • Pay as per your use.
  • Mobilize your work. It’s here, on your phone, no need to fire up that laptop or swipe that tab.
  • Anytime. Anywhere. Period.

Like I said before, cloud computing is far more than what meets the eye. You’re so used to everything that you are subconsciously using it. Don’t you think it’s time to learn cloud computing?