What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is a catch-all term for anything involving the delivery of hosted services over the internet. These services are classified into three types of cloud computing: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS) (SaaS).
A cloud can be both private and public. A public cloud sells services to anyone with access to the internet. A private cloud is a proprietary network or data center that provides hosted services to a small group of people with restricted access and permissions. The goal of cloud computing, whether private or public, is to provide simple, scalable access to computing resources and IT services.
There are basically three types of cloud computing: public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud.
Simply put, the public cloud is a massive pool of readily available computing resources such as networking, memory, central processing unit (CPU), and storage. These resources are hosted in a publicly available cloud vendor’s globally distributed and fully managed data centers, and you can rent them to build an IT infrastructure.
Managed services such as database servers, applications, and security systems are linked to these basic computing resources. If you do not want the hassle of setting up and managing the entire solution, you can rent managed services. There are several providers of this type of cloud offering, including Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft Azure. In this type of cloud, accessing your resources is as simple as using a web browser.
Public cloud advantages
One of the most significant advantages of the public cloud is that the underlying hardware and logic are hosted, owned, and maintained by each of those vendors. This means that customers are not responsible for purchasing or maintaining the physical components that comprise their public cloud IT solutions.
The “pay-as-you-go” model used to charge for these resources makes them a more cost-effective solution than owning them yourself because you only pay for what you consume. The ability to scale the size of your solution up to accommodate peaks and troughs in usage saves the customer money while also providing enormous flexibility.
Finally, financially backed Service Level Agreements (SLAs) bind each vendor to a monthly uptime percentage and security guarantee in accordance with standards such as GDPR, FIPS, HIPAA, and others. With this in mind, public cloud vendors have invested and continue to invest tens of billions of pounds in their data centers to provide them with cutting-edge fault-tolerant power supplies, network paths, storage facilities, and automated monitoring and maintenance systems to meet these SLAs.
Private clouds are owned and used by a single private company or organization. Traditionally, they have been physically located at the company’s own data center, using its own hardware.
A company, on the other hand, may hire a third-party provider to host their private cloud on their equipment. In that case, the private cloud is similar to the public cloud in that the resources are housed in a remotely managed data center. However, while these providers will provide administrative services, they will only be able to provide a small portion of the global services provided by a public cloud.
Private cloud benefits
If the private cloud is hosted in your own data center, you will be able to fully control the entire solution yourself.
You can tailor your cloud computing strategy to your own preferences and internal processes because you have complete control over the infrastructure. Some of the more stringent security and compliance legislation requires that certain types of data and resources be kept within your own security boundary; a self-hosted private cloud will assist you in meeting this requirement.
A hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private cloud elements that are securely connected over the internet using a virtual private network (VPN) or a dedicated private channel.
For example, you could use the public cloud’s nearly unlimited storage capacity for storage while data processing takes place on your premises. Alternatively, you could extend your computer network into the cloud to avoid purchasing additional permanent hardware.
Hybrid cloud benefits
A hybrid cloud solution combines the best of both options and enables cloud bursting. In the case of extending your private cloud network, this means that if you run out of computing capacity on-premise, the public cloud can supply it. This is a cost-effective way for businesses to increase compute capacity on demand while still utilizing on-premise resources that have already been paid for.
Characteristics and advantages of cloud computing
Cloud computing has been around for several decades, and today’s cloud computing infrastructure exhibits a variety of characteristics that have resulted in significant benefits for businesses of all sizes. The following are some of the primary characteristics of cloud computing:
- Self-service provisioning
End users can instantly provision compute resources for almost any type of workload. End users can provision computing capabilities such as server time and network storage, eliminating the need for IT administrators to provision and manage to compute resources in the past.
Companies can freely scale up as computing demands rise and scale down as they fall. This eliminates the need for large investments in local infrastructure that may or may not remain operational.
- Pay as you go
Users can pay only for the resources and workloads that they use because compute resources are measured at the granular level.
- Workload adaptability
CSPs frequently use redundant resources to ensure resilient storage and the continued operation of users’ critical workloads – often across multiple global regions.
- Migration adaptability
Organizations can move specific workloads to or from the cloud – or to different cloud platforms – as needed or automatically to save money or to take advantage of new services as they emerge.
- Access to a large network
A user can access cloud data or upload data to the cloud from any device that has an internet connection.
- Resource pooling and multi-tenancy
Multi-tenancy allows multiple customers to share the same physical infrastructures or applications while maintaining privacy and security over their own data. Cloud providers use resource pooling to serve multiple customers from the same physical resources. Cloud providers’ resource pools should be large and flexible enough to service the needs of multiple customers.
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