Could you imagine a device or software developed in the 1960s that may be affecting your life right now? Could you imagine it may have evolved so much through the decades that you don’t even realize you are actually using it as you are reading this article?
Enter the world of Cloud Computing.
In this article, we are going to discuss the following topics:
- Introduction to Cloud Computing
- How Cloud Computing Works?
- Cloud Computing in IT Industries
- Types of Cloud Computing (As a Service)
- Types of Cloud Computing (As Deployment Models)
Introduction to Cloud Computing
The terminology of cloud computing may be around from the early 2000s, but you have to go back until the 60s to find its first use. In fact, at that time computer bureaus allowed companies and firms to rent time for some of their projects, instead of buying a computer facility for their needs.
Move on to the era of PC and buying computers became quite affordable. These “renting” services became obsolete, and yet the idea for a company to pay when needed an access to computer power came back under different forms, such as service providers, utility computing, and grid computing of the late 1990s and early 2000s.
It’s around this time that cloud computing rose as the best solutions as a service for business needs.
By definition, cloud computing refers to providing on-demand computing services through an internet connection, and it’s offered as a pay as you go service.
The next question you may have is: how does it work?
How Cloud Computing Works?
Companies may not have the need to own a computing storage or data centers, so they pay for a service to rent their computing infrastructure and they have access to their applications or stored data from the cloud service provider.
Is it really a good thing to trust an outside company with your data? It may sound strange, but the answer is yes. Companies and firms don’t have to put up with the upfront costs of building and maintaining their own IT infrastructure. They just pay the computing space they need, when they need it. For a cloud computing service, this becomes a profitable business, as they only have to sell the same product (cloud storage) to more and more customers.
So, if you think about it, somewhere in every corner of the world there must be huge buildings that contain these massive computer storages, but why then are they called cloud computing (services)? An underlying concept about cloud computing is that the location of the storage and all its features (such as hardware or operating system) doesn’t concern the end user at all. This is why the people in charge call it the cloud computing. They took the metaphor of the cloud from old telecoms network schematics, in which the public telephone network (and later the internet) was often represented as a cloud to denote that the underlying technologies were irrelevant.
Okay, we’ve seen so far how cloud computing has become an integral part of many businesses’ existence, let’s talk now how important it actually is.
Would you like to know how much the IT industry can count on money spent for cloud computing services? Would you like to know how much this number grew in 2017? Well, here are the facts.
Cloud Computing in IT Industries
Thanks to a research by IDC, more than a third of all the money spent on IT goes to building the infrastructure to host cloud computing. And at the same time, the expense foreseen for in-house IT capabilities will keep going down as more and more companies prefer to opt for the cloud, no matter if the cloud computing service is a public service (which means the company rely on a cloud service outside of its direct control) or a private service. Another research conducted by 451 Research says that in 2017 companies spent on IT hosting and cloud as much as one-third of their entire IT expense “indicating a growing reliance on external sources of infrastructure, application, management and security services”.
Also, analyst Gartner says that the firms that are now using the cloud globally will opt for this service in full by 2021. According to Gartner, global spending on cloud services reached $260bn in 2017 up from $219.6bn. The analysts also highlighted the fact that cloud computing services are increasing in size at a faster pace than they imagined. Although data can’t say yet if this growth is caused by the demand of the market or if cloud services are accountable because of the different products they are putting in front of the companies. Surely cloud subscriptions are a more profitable solution than one-off licenses.
You have now a clear image of what cloud computing is and how it is going to affect companies worldwide. It’s time to dive deep into the different options a cloud service may present itself to satisfy a client’s need.
Let’s now discuss the cloud computing types, which are used as a service.
Types of Cloud Computing (As a Service)
There are three main cloud computing types used as service. Let’s learn about each type.
1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
First of all, cloud computing can be identified as Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS. This type of cloud service is aimed to provide enterprises access to vital web architecture, such as storage space, servers, and connections. Still, at the same time, the companies don’t have to buy and manage this internet infrastructure by themselves. IaaS is a totally scalable service, and this helps to save money both for the clients and the companies offering this solution. IaaS lets a business develop and grow on demand. It is also the foundational ground for the other types of cloud computing services, as it also provides the infrastructure that runs the service. This service offers you high flexibility and management control over your IT infrastructure.
Examples: AWS EC2, Rackspace, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Digital Ocean, etc.
Some common business scenarios in IaaS
- Lift-and-shift Migration
This method is the fastest and least expensive to migrate any application or business to the cloud. Using this method, you can increase the scalability and performance of your application, improve security, and reduce costs as much as possible without restructuring your existing infrastructure.
- Development and Testing
Setting and breaking up test and development environments is relatively easier for your teams, which helps in quickly bringing new applications to the market. IaaS helps in scaling test or development environments up and down at a rapid pace with a reduction in costs.
- Storage, Backup, and Recovery
The storage management in an organization is very complex, requiring highly skilled staff to manage your data and meet legal requirements. IaaS helps you handle high demand and growing storage requirements. IaaS simplifies the planning and management of backup and recovery systems.
- Web Applications
IaaS offers you everything you need to manage and support your web applications, like storage, web servers, and networking resources. The deployment of your web applications is relatively easy and faster on IaaS.
- High-performance Computing
Supercomputers have a high-performance computing capability, where they help you solve complex problems that involve millions of variables and calculations. Some examples of high-performance computing on supercomputers are earthquake simulations, weather and climate prediction, evaluation of product design, and financial modelling.
Advantages of IaaS
- Reduction in capital expenditure and optimization of costs
The expenses required to configure and manage physical data centers are eliminated by IaaS, making it cost-effective to migrate your infrastructure to the cloud. IaaS offers the pay-as-you-go subscription model that helps in the reduction of hardware costs and maintenance, which enables your organization to focus more on your business.
- Helps to increase scalability and performance of IT workloads
IaaS allows you to scale your resources globally at a rapid pace, which also improves the performance of your applications.
- Helps to increase stability, reliability, and support
Using IaaS, you need not require to upgrade your hardware and software or troubleshoot a problem with the equipment. The cloud service provider offers support to your infrastructure with reliability using Service-level Agreements (SLAs).
- Improvement in business continuity and disaster recovery
The expenses required for business continuity and disaster recovery are relatively high, which requires a massive amount of staff and technology. IaaS, with the help of SLA, helps in reducing the expenses.
- Security Enhancement
IaaS provides you with better security for your business and its applications with the help of an appropriate SLA.
- Allows you to innovate and release new applications to customers faster
IaaS provides you with the necessary computing infrastructure at a rapid pace when you want to release any new product or service. As you don’t require to set up any infrastructure, IaaS enables you to release and deliver your applications to customers quicker.
2. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
After IaaS, you can find Platform as a Service or PaaS. This particular service is often created inside IaaS clouds by specialized engineers that render the scalability and deployment of any application trivial and help make your expenses scalable and predictable. Very low budget companies can start their application on a PaaS and focus on its development. You can also scale and design your product since it is based on cloud computing. A downside to PaaS is that there may be some restrictions that could affect your line of work.
Examples: AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Heroku, OpenShift, Apache Stratos, Magento Commerce Cloud, etc.
Some common business scenarios in PaaS
- Development Framework
If you want to develop or customize your cloud-related applications, PaaS offers a framework that the developers can use. Using PaaS, the developers can create cloud-based applications with the help of built-in software components. PaaS also provides you with high scalability, availability, and multi-tenant capability, which ultimately reduces the burden on developers to code.
- Analytics and Business Intelligence
PaaS provides various tools that enable an organization for data mining and analyzing, discovering insights and patterns and predicting outcomes for improving forecasting, investment returns, decision making for product design, and several other business applications.
- Other Miscellaneous Services
PaaS providers offer several other services, which helps in enhancing your applications, like workflow, directory, security, and scheduling.
Advantages of PaaS
- Reduces development time
The development tools provided by PaaS helps to reduce coding time while building new applications, like workflow, directory, security, and scheduling.
- Provides additional development capabilities without adding staff
The components of PaaS offer you new abilities for your development team without the need to add extra staff who have the necessary expertise.
- Development capabilities for various platforms
Some PaaS providers offer you development capabilities for various platforms, like computers, mobiles, and browsers, which makes it easier and quicker for you to develop cross-platform applications.
- Usage of advanced tools is affordable
PaaS provides you with the pay-as-you-go model, making it possible for organizations to use highly advanced software development, business intelligence, and analytics tools, which was not affordable for purchasing them all together.
- Geographical support for distributed development teams
PaaS provides geographical support to development teams as it can be accessed over the internet. Although these teams are in remote locations, they can work together on various projects.
- Manages the application lifecycle efficiently
PaaS offers you all the abilities you require to support the complete lifecycle of a web application, starting from building, testing, deploying, managing, and updating under the same integrated environment.
3. Software as a Service (SaaS)
Last but not least, Software as a Service (SaaS) is a well-known cloud service, and its existence dates way back to cloud computing. This application will allow you to work on the cloud and will help you to make your project scalable since you are using the software architecture of the cloud. It will also sensibly decrease the problems given by maintenance, support, and operations by having the application run on computers belonging to the vendor.
Examples: BigCommerce, Google Apps, Salesforce, Dropbox, DocuSign, Slack, Hubspot, etc.
Some common business scenarios in SaaS
- Email Services
Some common email services like Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, etc., use SaaS. With the help of SaaS, you can log in to your email account using the internet. The SaaS provider’s network has the email software, where your emails and messages are stored. You can access these emails or messages from any internet-connected device, like computers, smartphones, etc.
- Business Applications
SaaS can be used in complex business applications, like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Document Management. The payment for these services can be done through the pay-as-you-go model.
Advantages of SaaS
- Provides access to various complex applications
If you want access to SaaS applications, you do not require to purchase, install, update, or maintain software, middleware, or hardware. Using SaaS, you can gain access to various complex applications, such as CRM and ERP. In some organizations, it is challenging to gain access to CRM and ERP applications as they lack resources or couldn’t afford them.
- Pay-as-you-go Model
You can only pay for the services you use, which reduces costs as the SaaS service scales up and down automatically as per the usage level.
- Uses free client software
Most SaaS applications can be run by users directly from their web browsers that do not require downloading or installing any software; however, few applications require plugins. You don’t need to purchase and install any particular kind of software for your customers or users.
- Makes it easy to mobilize your workforce
SaaS helps to mobilize your workforce quickly as SaaS applications can be accessed by users from anywhere through an internet-connected computer or smartphone. SaaS providers help you develop applications that can run on multiple platforms. They also help in maintaining the security of your data and resources.
- Gain access to application data from anywhere
As the cloud stores all your data, users can access their data and information from anywhere in the world through internet-connected devices, such as computer or smartphone devices. When the application data is stored in the cloud, you need not worry about the loss of data even if the user’s computer or mobile device fails. The application data is safely stored in the cloud with advanced security.
The following image consists of all the pointers we discussed above on these cloud computing types used as a service:
Types of Cloud Computing (As a Deployment Model)
There are four main cloud computing types used as deployment models. Let’s learn about each type.
1. Public Cloud
As the name implies, the public cloud is available to everyone. The users can store and access their data and information using any internet-connected devices on a pay-per-usage basis. When you use a public cloud, all software, hardware, and other supporting infrastructure are owned and managed by the third-party cloud vendor.
This cloud offers services and infrastructure to businesses who want to save their IT operational costs. However, the computing resources are created, managed, and operated by the third-party cloud vendor. The vendor takes care of everything, and you just need to pay for the costs or rentals expenses your vendor provides you.
Examples: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (AWS EC2), IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure Services Platform, etc.
Advantages of Public Cloud
- The costs of relatively low where you pay only for the services you use
- You need not require to maintain anything as the cloud service vendor takes care of the maintenance
- It is highly scalable as on-demand resources are available to fulfil your business requirements
- Highly reliable where a significant network of servers ensures against failures
Disadvantages of Public Cloud
- Higher security risks as the data and information in the public cloud can be used by others
- When the user traffic is high, network performance problems occur
2. Private Cloud
The private cloud is exclusively designed for a single organization or business. This cloud can be physically located at the on-site data center of your organization or can be managed by a third-party cloud vendor. All the functions of a private cloud are similar to that of a public cloud, except that the public cloud has no privacy.
The services and infrastructure in a private cloud are always maintained on a private network where software and hardware resources are committed entirely to your organisation or business. The private cloud makes it easier for an organization in order to customize its resources to fulfil certain IT requirements. This cloud is used by various sectors, such as government, financial agencies, mid-to-large organizations, etc.
Examples: HP Data Centers, Microsoft, Elastra-private cloud, Ubuntu, etc.
Advantages of Private Cloud
- It has higher flexibility, which makes it easier to customize the cloud environment to fulfil all the business requirements
- It has more control over the resources, and they are shared with anyone, ensuring privacy
- It ensures more scalability compared to on-site infrastructure
Disadvantages of Private Cloud
- The significant drawback is the pricing of the public cloud, which is quite expensive than the public cloud
3. Community Cloud
The community cloud is very similar to the private cloud. In the private cloud, the computing resources are dedicated to a single organization. Whereas in the community cloud, multiple users or organizations use the same cloud. These cloud service providers share the computing resources with numerous organizations working on common goals.
Examples: U.S.-based dedicated IBM SoftLayer cloud for federal agencies, Health Care community cloud, etc.
Advantages of Community Cloud
- Less expensive than the private cloud
- Provides good security
- Numerous options are available for sharing data
Disadvantages of Community Cloud
- More expensive than the public cloud
- The bandwidth is very low for the resources used
4. Hybrid Cloud
As the name implies, this cloud gives you the hybrid approach with all the functions of the public cloud, private cloud, and community cloud. The hybrid cloud enables you to move data and applications between these environments.
Most companies prefer the hybrid cloud because of the business benefits, like fulfilling regulatory and data requirements, addressing low latency problems, etc.
Examples: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Suite (Gmail, Google Apps, and Google Drive), Microsoft Office 365 (MS Office on the Web and OneDrive), etc.
Advantages of Hybrid Cloud
- Provides you good control over your assets
- Has higher flexibility and security
- Very cost-effective
These are the cloud computing services you can find to help your company with storage issues or application issues. Look out for the best solution and you will be on your way to leverage cloud computing.