What Is Cloud Computing?
What is cloud computing? The concept may seem nebulous or hard to decipher but in reality is very simple and compelling. It provides a cost effective solution, especially to IT professionals who can now reap the benefits provided by cloud computing without having to spend exorbitant amounts of cash on providing software, hardware and other services in their business model. Traditional business structures prior to the advent of cloud computing concept had to face these problems as the above mentioned services had to be delivered to each member of the team. The whole process was very complicated, painstakingly tedious and placed a huge burden on financial resources. These applications then had to be configured and maintained to ensure that the system ran smoothly and everyone had flawless and uninterrupted access to the services.
Cloud Computing Definition
What are some of the cloud computing basics that we should know of? Well to start, cloud computing eliminates all these issues and delivers a viable adaptation that allows businesses to use the internet as a backbone to provide applications and handle the flow of data. Central servers are deployed by vendors that manage and troubleshoot software upgrades and services. These servers and data storage units are the basic components of the cloud where these services are administered. Protocols implemented in these servers are usually called middleware. These protocols ensure that the all the computers present in the network can communicate with each other and services are provided throughout the model. Users can then access these services by simply accessing the internet to login into their account which exists in the central server and engage in their prospective tasks without having to install any software or service on their personal machine. This is highly efficient and adequate as all the memory and processing is centralized instead of being localized. The workload of the whole model in general also becomes centralized which reduces the dependency on local machines for running applications and services. The user becomes mobile and can use any workstation with a working internet connection for admission into the network.
Since a cloud computing network will potentially handle an abundance of users, it also has the capability to provide sufficient storage space for data that needs to be saved. Also, it saves physical space as the date stored is present in the cloud, not on drives or local servers which take up space in case of offices. Often, redundancy is also put into practice as functionality. This provides a backup for the data stored so that in case of a server crash, vital user information is preserved and remains intact.
Cloud computing has several deployment models that are adopted according to need and requirement. Each configuration is implemented according to specific circumstances and necessities. In the following paragraphs, these techniques will be discussed one by one while outlaying their general purpose and structure.
Public cloud is a model which explicitly defines cloud computing in its most traditional and grass-root essence. The utilities are provided by a vendor or any third party service provider. The equipment required for providing these services are installed by the vendor. They are also responsible for server management and troubleshooting of the network. The internet serves as a backbone via which these applications are made accessible to the prospective users. Anyone who wishes to access these services can connect to the internet and use the desired application. This eliminates the need of any added hardware or software upgrades in the user’s machine as these costs are covered by the service provider. Public cloud services can either be free or sometimes offered in a pay per usage scheme. This is an efficient way in which the resources are used since the user only pays for the applications or services he avails.
Organizations that have a common interest or public sector corporations who wish to share data and information generally reap the benefits of Community Cloud Computing. The management of the cloud is either done by the organizations or sometimes handed over to a third party service provider. In the latter case, all troubleshooting is done off-premises while the vendor charges the said organizations for providing their services. Usually, these costs are split equally between the concerned parties as both sides avail a common, shared resource. It is also important to mention here that a significantly less amount of selective users can access services in a Community Cloud.
Private Cloud, as the name suggests is an internal cloud which is specifically designed for a corporation or an organization keeping in mind their demands and requirements. Only the users present in the organization are facilitated to use these services. The management of a Private Cloud can be done in-house (by the organization) or an external service provider is hired to design and manage the network. Usually, a firewall is also implemented in this cloud computing architecture to provide security and prevent any external interference. In short, a Private Cloud empowers an organization since it allows control over the data flow and service distribution.
The amalgamation of various cloud computing techniques to provide a wide array of services is known as a Hybrid Cloud. The entities involved in a hybrid cloud serve as separate units but the applications and services that it offers are accessible throughout the network. Data flow and program usage is made possible in this multiple cloud system as all the clouds are bounded to each other and use a standard protocol which is supported throughout the architecture. This averts and inhibits any compatibility issues that may be faced in a multiple cloud environment.
The question was – what is cloud computing? and hopefully this provided a bit of useful insight.
By Chuck Weaver