What is Cloud Computing?
X – – – –
Simply put, Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services, such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence, over the internet rather than having local servers or personal devices handle applications.
“Clouds” are popular because they provide many advantages over private servers:
Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running private data centres, which would need the physical space of servers with round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling and the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. By outsourcing this to the cloud providers money can be saved.
Most cloud computing services are provided self-service and on-demand, so even vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, typically with just a few mouse clicks, giving businesses a lot of flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.
Having data saved in the cloud enables easy access from everywhere. Further on cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. That means delivering the right amount of IT resources at any time. For example, more or less computing power, storage, bandwidth—right can be provided when they are needed.
The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure data centers, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate datacenter, including reduced network latency for applications.
Types of cloud computing
– X – – –
Not all clouds are the same and not one type of cloud computing is right for everyone. There are three different ways to deploy cloud services: on a public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud.
Public clouds are owned and operated by third-party cloud service providers, which deliver their computing resources, like servers and storage, over the Internet. With a public cloud, all hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider. You access these services and manage your account using a web browser.
A private cloud is a cloud environment used exclusively by one organization. Large enterprises typically choose to keep their data and applications in a private cloud for security reasons. In other cases, private clouds are used in order to comply with company regulations.
Organizations have two options when using a private cloud: it can be set up in the organization’s own data centre, or a hosted private cloud service can be used. With a hosted private cloud, a public cloud vendor agrees to set aside computing resources and allow only one customer to use those resources.
Hybrid clouds combine public and private clouds, bound together by technology that allows data and applications to be shared between them. By allowing data and applications to move between private and public clouds, a hybrid cloud gives businesses greater flexibility, more deployment options, and helps optimize existing infrastructure, security, and compliance.
Cloud service models
– – X – –
Most cloud computing services fall into four broad categories: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), serverless, and software as a service (SaaS). These are sometimes called the cloud computing “stack” because they build on top of one another.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
The most basic category of cloud computing services. With IaaS, you rent IT infrastructure—servers and virtual machines (VMs), storage, networks, operating systems—from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Platform as a service (PaaS)
Platform as a service refers to cloud computing services that supply an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering, and managing software applications. PaaS is designed to make it easier for developers to quickly create web or mobile apps, without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network, and databases needed for development.
Overlapping with PaaS, serverless computing focuses on building app functionality without spending time continually managing the servers and infrastructure required to do so. The cloud provider handles the setup, capacity planning, and server management for you. Serverless architectures are highly scalable and event-driven, only using resources when a specific function or trigger occurs.
Software as a service (SaaS)
Software as a service is a method for delivering software applications over the Internet, on-demand and typically on a subscription basis. With SaaS, cloud providers host and manage the software application and underlying infrastructure, and handle any maintenance, like software upgrades and security patching. Users connect to the application over the Internet, usually with a web browser on their phone, tablet, or PC.
Security of the cloud
– – – X –
The cloud is still a physical place
Saving data in the cloud is considered save. The image of the cloud suggests, that the data is somehow floating without location in the internet and cannot be lost. But as explained above, the cloud is in fact still running on physical servers in data centres that are owned by the cloud providers. And those can be destroyed, like it happened on March 10th 2021 when a fire broke out at the Strasbourg site of the French cluod provider OVH, causing 3.6 million websites to go offline. Further on a lot of data is irreversible lost, because it has been saved only on one site. The option to have backups on different geological sites needs to be booked in addition. OVH’s terms of business also state that they cannot be held accountable for data loss due to events like earthquakes or, like in this case, fires.
– – – – X
Cloud computing is a very important factor in todays business world, since it facilitates IT-related work, while saving costs, and is available to everyone from private persons and small enterprises to big international agencies. It provides benefits for all in the way needed. But after all, we have to remember that even if it does not seem so, the internet is still a physical place and that parts of it can be damaged by natural events.
By Till (Petit Pas Team)