Everywhere you turn these days, the term “Cloud Computing” is bandied and talked about on the internet. Most businesses employ it without even understanding its basics and the underlying concept.
The most obvious benefit of cloud computing for entrepreneurs and CIOs is that they can put “Everything” in the cloud and increase the efficiency of their business operations and services. However, cloud computing is much more than just an approach to access computing power, handle storage capacity, and store/access data & resources; it’s the great equalizer for today’s SMBs, enterprises, and also for startups. That’s because it’s the only place where even a recent startup gets unrestricted access to the same resources and immense benefits as large corporations.
Compared to the traditional method that usually takes weeks or even months to deploy and use services, the cloud provides you with ready for use services and allows you to rapidly run them just in a matter of a few minutes. For this reason, businesses of all sizes have shifted their focus towards using scalable cloud computing services for their big data and handling disruptive technologies plus models within their existing infrastructure. A cloud service provider delivers value to its consumers through its cloud-native platforms like SaaS & IaaS and advanced computing capabilities.
What Exactly is Cloud Computing?
More and more, we are listening to everyone talking about cloud computing and moving to efficient, contemporary cloud platforms. While this technology is not new, most businesses still don’t have any idea how the cloud exactly works and what it has to offer to them.
The cloud is an emblem for the internet that involves the provision of hosted services and reusability of IT computing resources in order to store and run large databases, build and deploy complex apps, and expand computational services on demand. The businesses can use these services as needed and only pay for resources and administrations they use. That enables them to use a shared pool of apps, storage, processing power, and other configurable utilities over the network, stored in high-end networks and server computers and managed by tech giants or third-party companies.
The Prominent Characteristics of Cloud Computing
Here are the top five essential distinctiveness of this advanced platform:
- On-Demand Self Service: The user can unilaterally, automatically make use of configurable computing capabilities, like network & memory storage and servers, when needed and pay for their use without needing any human interaction with their cloud computing service provider.
- Broad Network Access: It allows businesses to access hosted services and capabilities over the internet through standard mechanisms and client platforms, including laptops, desktops, smartphones, and PDAs.
- Resource Pooling: The resources and physical or virtual servers dynamically allocated and reassigned by a cloud computing provider, such as Amazon, are available to use for multiple consumers, according to their demand.
- Rapid Elasticity: In cloud computing, you can elastically and flexibly increase or decrease the capabilities as per your operational demand. By using various handles, you can not only quickly scale out but also can scale in at the same speed when requested.
- Measured Services: Cloud systems use a metering facility to automatically, impeccably manipulate and optimize the effective provision of services and utilities appropriate to the type of service.
Types of Cloud Computing Service Models
Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service enables a consumer to deploy and run different arbitrary and subjective software, apps, and data by leveraging networks, processing, storage, and other underlying assets. While you don’t manage or handle the virtualized infrastructure, you still have control over operating systems, deployed apps, and selected networking components. The external cloud company manages and provides pre-configured and installed hardware or software through a secure digital interface. That means you can essentially make the most of the scaling potential and advanced server space (either by renting or purchasing it) guaranteed while controlling every minute detail of your app. Some classic examples of the usage cases of IaaS are backup and recovery, web hosting, automation, clustering, internal networking, etc.
PaaS is built on top of IaaS, in which the cloud service provider offers computing capabilities to build, test, and deploy secure, scalable apps and infrastructures using programming languages and development tools. Since the model comprises both cloud hardware as well as software components, you need not worry about low-level and underlying elements of the infrastructure such as operating system, middleware, runtime, etc. Thus, you can directly, rapidly host onto the provider’s consumer-specific apps in the cloud infrastructure.
On the contrary, having access over hosted apps and hosting production configurations allows the user to design, manage, and host development tools, a forest of data sets, business analytic apps, and other high-level systems. Top key players that deliver PaaS solutions are Salesforce, AWS, SAP, HANA, Bluemix, and Heroku.
SaaS is a comprehensive combination of both IaaS and PaaS, designed to handle fully-functional apps, web-based solutions, and the entire infrastructure. The computing resources delivered are leveraged to access and utilize apps already deployed and running on the cloud. The SaaS provider allows you to make changes in an existing data set, run tests, and then launch your project immediately while managing all the technical as well as operational stuff. It is an excellent option if there’s a need to deliver high-end functionalities to your end-users but you lack resources required to carry out the development process. Not to mention, you don’t have to invest in any servers and dedicate huge upfront development costs to running your app.
The consumer won’t have visibility and control of either individual, specific application capabilities or fundamental cloud infrastructure, but they will get fully provisioned solutions with a constructive feature set to support your suite of apps. While you get constrained access to the configurations and capabilities of the development and software tools, you can successfully integrate with the external systems. The SaaS solutions can be availed on subscription-based, pay-as-you-go paradigm, or trial basis.
To conclude, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) acts as the foundation of designing the infrastructure of a cloud-based service, from simple software to content. The platform-as-a-service platform allows businesses to build scalable, well-defined apps without needing to host them. And the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model usually targets business users and provides them with web-browser interfaces and APIs.