What is Cloud Computing: Hands-on Guide for Startuppers
In its 2nd decade, cloud computing has become a full-fledged technology, but users have only scratched the surface of the cloud’s full potential as a provider of digital business transformation.
With access to key business apps, analytics, and collaboration tools, this system is a steady path for business innovation. It gives organizations the agility to scale and adapt their business model to market conditions and opportunities.
It has created the foundation for a flexible innovation infrastructure for enterprises’ growth strategies. The next line up of intelligent technologies that build onto the cloud is emerging, including the AI, machine learning, and IoT. Mixed with smart technologies and digital services, it skyrockets companies into a new dimension of competitiveness.
Read the article and learn about the different platforms and service models, and how cloud computing can transform your business.
What is Cloud Computing?
History of cloud computing starts in the 1950s when companies have been using a highly complicated and ever-changing platform of mainframe computers to process their data. In the early days, mainframe devices were huge and prohibitively expensive.
Today, this platform is the delivery of computing services – including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence over the Internet – the cloud – to enable quicker innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.
You standardly pay only for cloud services you use, aiding you to lower operating costs, run the infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your company requires change.
How Does Cloud Computing Work?
Rather than running their own computing infrastructure or data centers, organizations can rent/lease access to anything from apps to storage from cloud computing companies.
A big bonus of using these services is that companies can escape the upfront cost and complexity of having and maintaining their own IT infrastructure, and instead (as mentioned above), simply pay for what you use when you use it.
In turn, these providers can profit from significant economies of scale by providing the same services to a wide range of clients.
Types of Cloud Computing
The most typical and widely adopted cloud computing services are SaaS (Software as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), and PaaS (Platform as a Service).
Software as a Service is unique in that it integrates both PaaS and IaaS. in this case, the cloud service provider delivers the entire software suite as a pay-per-use model. It allows you easily access software apps – like emails over the Internet.
The most common examples of SaaS are Microsoft Office 365, G Suite, Zoho, Salesforce, Adobe Creative Cloud, AppDynamics, Marketo, Oracle CRM, Pardot Marketing Automation, and more.
- You can sign up and quickly start using innovative business apps;
- Applications and data are accessible from any connected device;
- No data is lost if your PC breaks since the data is in the cloud;
- The service is capable of scaling to usage needs dynamically.
Infrastructure as the Service is a platform where virtualized infrastructure is offered to and managed for companies by external cloud providers.
With this service, businesses can outsource for storage, servers, data center space, and cloud networking components connected via the Internet, providing similar functionality as that of on-premises infrastructure.
Some models of the extensive usage of IaaS are automated, policy-driven processes such as backup, recovery, monitoring, clustering, internal networking, website hosting, etc.
The provider is responsible for building the storage and servers, networking firewalls/security, and the physical data center.
Some key players offering IaaS are Microsoft Azure, Amazon EC2, Google Cloud Platform, Rackspace, DigitalOcean, and GoGrid, among others.
- No need to invest in hardware;
- Infrastructure scales on-demand to support dynamic workloads;
- Flexible, up-to-date services are available on demand.
Platform as a Service builds on IaaS. Here, cloud services bring resources, both cloud software and hardware infrastructure elements such as middleware and OS, required to develop and test apps.
The PaaS environment allows cloud users (accessing them through a webpage) to install/host data sets, development tools, and business analytics applications, apart from building and maintaining necessary hardware.
There’re several types of platform services. Every PaaS model is either public, private, or a hybrid (mix of the two).
- Public PaaS is housed in the cloud, and its infrastructure is organized by the provider;
- Private PaaS is hosted in onsite servers or private networks and is maintained by the user;
- Hybrid PaaS applies components from both public and private and is able to execute apps from multiple cloud infrastructures.
Some big names offering PaaS are Google App Engine, Bluemix, CloudBees, Heroku, AWS, Microsoft Azure, OpenShift, SAP, and OracleCLoud.
- Develop an app and get to market faster;
- Deploy new web apps to the cloud in minutes;
- Minimize complexity with middleware as a service.
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
Businesses of all sizes/shapes are now turning to cloud computing. But nothing is ideal, and this service is no exception.
While there’re many benefits of cloud computing, it also has some risks and concerns that shouldn’t be overlooked. So, in this paragraph, let’s discuss the pros and cons of cloud computing.
- Easy incorporation – Cloud hosting enables companies to retain the same apps and business processes without needing to deal with the backend issues. Readily manageable via the Internet, a cloud infrastructure can be entered by organizations quickly and easily;
- Accessibility – Access your info whenever you want. An Internet cloud infrastructure maximizes business productivity and efficiency by ensuring your app is always accessible. It lets for straightforward collaboration and sharing among users in multiple locations;
- No hardware needed – Since everything will be housed in the cloud, a physical storage center is no longer required. Still, a backup could be worth looking into in the case of a disaster that could stop your business’s productivity;
- Cost per head – Overhead tech costs are kept at a minimum with cloud hosting services, enabling companies to use the extra time and resources for enhancing the organization infrastructure;
- Flexibility for growth – The cloud is easily scalable – hence, you can add or subtract resources based on your requirements.
- Efficient recovery – It provides quicker and more accurate retrieval of apps and data. With less downtime, it’s the most effective recovery plan.
- No longer in control – When moving services to the cloud, you’re handing over your data and info. For businesses that have in-house IT staff, they’ll be unable to handle issues on their own. However, many computer support companies have a 24/7 live help desk that can rectify any problems instantly;
- May not get all the functionalities – Not all services are the same. Some providers offer limited versions and enable the most popular features only, so you may not receive every feature or customization you need. Prior to signing up, be sure to know what your cloud service provider offers;
- No redundancy – A cloud server isn’t redundant or backed up. As technology may fail here and there, evade getting burned by using a redundancy plan. Even though it’s an extra cost, in most cases it’ll be well worth it;
- Bandwidth issues – For perfect performance, customers have to plan accordingly and not pack large amounts of storage devices and servers into a small set of data centers.
7 Examples of Cloud Computing
The cloud computing examples are everywhere, from messaging apps to video and audio streaming services.
Here you’ll see the 7 most common examples and understand what features of this system have led to its popularity in the market.
1. Streaming Services
It offers scalable resources through different subscription models. It means that you’ll only need to pay for the computing services you use. It helps in managing spikes in demands without the need to permanently invest in hardware.
Netflix, for example, uses this potential of this platform as its advantage. Thanks to its on-demand streaming service, it faces large surges in server load at peak times.
So, to migrate from in-house data centers to cloud allowed the organization to significantly expand its client base without needing to invest in setup and maintenance of costly infrastructure.
The outspread computing power and capacity of the cloud enables you to store information about user preferences. It can be exploited to provide customized solutions, messages, and products based on the preferences and behavior of users.
Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant – all are cloud-based natural-language smart bots. These chatbots apply the computing capabilities of the cloud to deliver personalized context-relevant user experiences.
3. Communication Tools
The cloud enables clients to enjoy network-based communication tools such as calendars and emails. Most of the calling and messaging apps like Viber and Skype are also based on cloud infrastructure.
All your information and messages are stored on the service provider’s hardware rather than on your personal device. It lets you access your data from anywhere via the Internet.
4. Office Tools
Office tools such as Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs utilize cloud computing, enabling you to use your most-productive tools over the net. You can work on your presentations, spreadsheets, and documents – from anywhere, at any time.
With data stored in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about data loss if your device is stolen, lost, or damaged. Cloud also assists in the sharing of documents and allows different individuals to work on the same project at the same time.
5. CRM & ERP
Many business management applications such as CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) are also based on a cloud service provider. SaaS has become a popular way of deploying enterprise-grade software.
HubSpot, Salesforce, Marketo, etc. are famous examples of this model. This technique is cost-effective and efficient for both the service provider and customers.
It provides hassle-free management, maintenance, and security of your critical business resources and enables you to access these apps conveniently by a web browser.
6. Backup & Recovery
When you select cloud for data storage, the responsibility of your info also lies with your service provider. It saves you from the high costs for maintenance and building infrastructure. Your provider is responsible for securing data and meeting compliance and legal requirements.
The cloud also gives more flexibility in the sense that you can enjoy ample storage and on-demand backups.
Recovery is also performed quicker in the cloud since the data is stored over a network of physical servers rather than at one onsite data center. Google Drive, Dropbox, and Amazon S3 are popular examples of cloud backup platforms.
7. Social Networks
They’re the most popular and often overlooked apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and many other social networks that use cloud computing. They’re designed to find people you already know or would like to know.
In the course of finding people, you end up sharing a lot of personal information. Of course, if you’re sharing info on social media, then you aren’t only sharing it with friends but also with the social media platforms.
It means that the platform requires a robust hosting system to manage and store data in real-time – making use of cloud critical.
Secure Networks – Get Your IT to Another Level
As one of the best Los Angeles IT Company with focus on cloud computing services, we leverage Microsoft Azure and Office 365 capabilities, so you can safely work from your device, anytime, and anywhere.
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Contact us today and find out how we can increase your productivity and overcome every technology challenge!