Cloud Computing Basics:
Recently, cloud computing has received great attention in publications and among users ranging from individuals, businesses to government. Cloud computing combines a variety of computing concepts through a combination of computers over a real-time communication network (internet). It relies on sharing of various resources such as servers, storage, networks, applications, and services. Cloud computing is simply the storing and accessing of programs and data over the internet in place of your computer’s hard disk. It can be defined as a model that enables convenient, ubiquitous and on-demand network access to a common pool of shared configurable computing resources efficiently provisioned and made available to end user with minimized service provider interaction.
Three measures are used to determine whether a service is cloud service:
- You pay for what you use
- Service is accessible through web service API or web browser
- Zero capital expenditure to get started.
Characteristics of Cloud Computing
The essential characteristics of cloud computing include:
- Broad network access: You can access all the cloud capabilities both hardware and software over the network using various platforms such as laptops, mobile phones, and tablets.
- Resource pooling: Both hardware and software computing resources are placed in a shared pool to serve multiple users, where multiple virtual and physical resources are dynamically assigned and reassigned to a user on demand. This is done using a multi-tenant model characterized by the feature of location independence where the user has no knowledge of the location of resources provided.
- On-demand self-service: A consumer can easily use all the computing capabilities provided by the cloud such as network storage and server processing time without human interaction
- Rapid elasticity: All the capabilities provided by the cloud can be rapidly scaled in or out. A user can be provisioned with extensive capabilities depending on the amount of purchase.
- Measured service: Cloud systems leverages metering capabilities where all the resources are controlled, monitored, and reported with transparency to both the consumer and provider of the utilized service. You pay for what you exactly use.
Types of Cloud Computing Services models
These services are categorized into:
- Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS)
- This model contains what I call as the building blocks for cloud IT. It provides the user with the capability to use the processing, networks, storage and other essential services where a user can deploy and run arbitrary software such as OS and applications.
- Platform as a Service(PaaS)
- This service provides you with a cloud-based environment where all resources required to facilitate building and delivery of web-based applications are put in place. The consumer has no power to control or manage the infrastructure but can control the configurations of the hosting environment as well as the deployed applications.
- Software as a Service(SaaS)
- Refers to the software in the cloud. It provides the user with a complete product run and managed by service providers. These services are accessible by a consumer through devices and interfaces such as the web browser. The consumer has no control or can’t manage the underlying cloud infrastructure that includes servers, network, Operating Systems, storage, and individual application capabilities.
Benefits and Advantages of Cloud Computing
1. Benefit of economies of scale
With cloud computing, you achieve lower variable cost which is quite difficult to achieve on your own. This is because cloud service providers can achieve economies of scale thus cutting on the costs easily.
2. You stop guessing capacity
Eliminating your infrastructure capacity needs is easy. Cloud services relieve you the burden of making a capacity decision that will remain unutilized once you have deployed your application or even the burden of dealing with limited capacity. You access the little or the much you want.
3. Increased speed and agility
With cloud computing, new IT resources are always a click away. You can minimize the time these resources are made available to you in minutes. This increases the speed of an organization.
4. Easily trade capital expense with variable expenses
You don’t need to invest heavily on your servers and data centers and yet you have no idea how you will use them. It is easy to pay when you use the computing services and only pay for the resources you use and consume.
The cloud provides multiple options to our daily computing needs. It can open the computing world to a broad range of uses increasing ease of use. However, with cloud computing comes to the drawback of security and control. You don’t know who can access your information and the cloud is prone to malicious activities. A good advice is that you should choose wisely on which information to place in the cloud.