In our fast-paced and technologically advanced world, the way we store, access, and process data has been revolutionised using technology like the cloud. Cloud is a universal force that has exceeded all limitations and can empower businesses and individuals.
But what is cloud actually, and how does it work to make such a huge impact in our lives? Stay with us as we unravel the true essence of cloud technology and its profound impact on our lives.
What is Cloud Technology?
The term cloud is not a novel term in technological or computing language. In simple words, the cloud is the internet. It refers to everything that you access remotely using the internet. When you store data on the cloud, it is stored on internet servers rather than your local computer.
Cloud servers help deliver reliable cloud computing services, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the cloud or internet to guarantee flexibility, versatile resources, and massive savings. With the cloud, individuals and organisations can access files, applications, and software stored on the data from anywhere at any time, even on any device.
Before cloud computing, organisations maintained their servers to avoid the risk of breakdowns and disruptions. But modern cloud services reduce this need to purchase and maintain servers, lower operating costs, and offer vast storage and networking services for seamless business operations.
Examples of Cloud Computing:
Individuals and businesses use several cloud computing services. One type of cloud service is audio and video streaming platforms like Netflix, whereas storage platforms include Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Yahoo, Mail, Dropbox, OneDrive, or Box.
How Does Cloud Computing Work?
Cloud technology works on virtualisation that authorises the formation of an artificial, digital computer that works as a physical computer with its separate hardware. Such computers are known as virtual machines.
However, the virtual machines on the same host cannot interact, and the data from one computer will not be visible to other virtual machines, even if they are using the same physical computer or device. A single server can manage several virtual servers, which allows a host of data centres to serve several organisations. The service is offered at a low cost to a large number of customers all at one time.
Therefore if a single server brokes down, cloud servers are always online and allow users to access their data remotely. Cloud service providers back up their data on multiple machines and varying regions to ensure the safety of their data.
Users can access their data through web browsers or an app that connects with the cloud using the internet regardless of their device or location.
What Are The Major Types Of Cloud-Based Systems?
Cloud computing is a broader term, but three main categories of cloud services include Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Function as a Service (FaaS). They are often called ‘stacks’ as they are built on one another.
Understanding their distinct goals and functionalities helps organisations achieve their goals easily.
These are cloud-based applications that can be accessed through a web browser. You can also download the application on your devices. Usually, end users subscribe for a fee depending on the length of time they would want to use the service. And they can usually cancel the subscription at any time. It does not require the involvement of the IT department for management or maintenance.
Examples include Gmail and Salesforce CRM and cloud storage services like OneDrive and Dropbox.
Software developers usually use these platforms for creating, testing, and deploying software applications without maintaining the backend environment. PaaS is a complicated platform, but highly helpful for developers to test the efficiency and success of their software before launching. Their additional tools include storage resources, compile services and version control.
Examples: Heroku and Microsoft Azure
Iaas are built for organisations seeking access to servers, storage, network, and virtualisation. It offers complete control over the computing environment for individuals and organisations. The cloud service provider maintains all data storage servers and networking hardware relieving the businesses from maintaining resource-intensive on-site installation.
Examples: Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
This system is also known as serverless computing. It breaks down the cloud applications into smaller components that function when needed. The model is called serverless because it does not work on specific machines, and the clients working to build applications do not have to manage servers. They can scale up when more people use the application.
The offer allows for efficient resource utilisation, automatic scaling, and pay-per-use prices, making it an easier and more cost-effective method to develop and deploy large-scale applications.
Examples: Google Cloud Functions, Azure Functions, OpenFaaS, and IBM Cloud Functions.
What Are The Types of Cloud Computing Deployment Models?
Apart from the above discussed cloud services, here are the different cloud deployment types that explain where the cloud servers are and who manages them. The major cloud deployment models include:
1. Private Cloud:
A private cloud is a server or computing resource dedicated to a specific organisation. It can either be located in the company’s on-premises data centre or at the vendor’s place. Some companies pay a third party to host and maintain their exclusive servers off-site. Here the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network.
The advantages of using a private cloud include customised architecture, progressive security protocols, and extending computing resources in a virtualised environment as needed.
2. Public Cloud:
Public clouds, in contrast to private clouds, are utilised by several businesses. Many businesses may share individual servers using virtual machines; this is known as “multitenancy” since numerous users utilise server space on the same server.
The public cloud deployment strategy enables enterprises to grow more quickly since these resources are distributed via the internet.Public cloud service providers offer strong security measures to guard against unauthorised access to user data by other tenants.
3. Hybrid Cloud:
Public and private clouds are combined, which allows sharing of data and applications among them. A company may utilise the public cloud as a backup for its private cloud. Synchronising data between public and private clouds allows organisations to enjoy better flexibility and enhances the existing infrastructure, security, and compliance. Using a hybrid cloud approach, companies can keep private information locally and access it using apps hosted in the public cloud.
Additionally, enterprises can use several public cloud services or a multi-cloud strategy. Through the distribution of workloads across several cloud platforms, you can enhance the performance, adaptability, and financial efficiency of your environments.
It is a type of cloud computing that utilises several public clouds at once. In other words, a company using many clouds rents virtual servers and services from outside providers. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft (Azure), and IBM are examples of multi-cloud. Hybrid cloud deployments can be multi-cloud deployments and vice versa.
Is Cloud Computing Safe?
Cloud service companies take cloud security seriously. Cloud service providers have created intricate security measures based on identification and encryption, and they take precautions to make sure one client cannot view or breach the data of their clients even if they use the same device.
Generally, servers are subject to the laws of the nation in which they are located. It implies that the regulation of data held on a European server will differ from that of a U.S. server. All laws that could be relevant to their cloud solutions must be known by organisations that manage private user data.
When choosing a cloud service provider, a few things should consider. Although pay-per-use models are the norm for cloud-based systems, certain providers typically have tricky pricing structures that must be considered carefully.
The physical location of the cloud provider’s servers should also be considered if sensitive data will be stored there. The benefits of cloud computing are endless. From reducing the cost of managing extensive data on-site to extended flexibility, improved performance, and top-notch security, cloud computing is the future of data storage.
Aside from being more affordable, easy to install, secure, and productive, moving to the cloud is also healthier for the environment. The carbon emissions associated with commuting are decreased by organisations enabled by the cloud that provides employees access to their programs and data anytime and from anywhere.