What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of computing services over the internet. Rather than buying, owning and maintaining physical data and services on your computer you can access them on various cloud providers.
The very first concept that led to cloud computing occurred in 1959 when computer scientist John McCarthy initiated a system that allowed several people to use a single computer at the same time. Over time, sharing solutions have progressed and changed, all with a similar aim for everyone to be interconnected, with access to the same programs or data. In 1997 Professor Ramnath Chellappa first coined the term 'Cloud Computing'. Today cloud computing is everywhere with multiple variations and providers.
Throughout this guide, we will detail the different service models of cloud and its different types.
The Different Service Models of Cloud
Infrastructure as a Service
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the most basic category but is known for being highly scalable, comprehensive and flexible. Consumers are offered a virtual infrastructure and customers can purchase, install, configure, and manage any software they require. Companies only pay for the infrastructure they need. The provider of the IaaS manages the physical end, eliminating the capital expenses of building in-house infrastructure.
Examples of IaaS: Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metacloud, Google Compute Engine (GCE)
Platform as a Service
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the supply of an on-demand development platform, including operating systems, programming language execution environment, database, and web servers. PaaS is more specialized than IaaS and rather than just offering an infrastructure it provides the framework and tools needed to develop, test, deliver, and manage software. For this reason, PaaS is extremely helpful for companies that develop software or web-based apps, as other tools can be expensive. Additionally, PaaS benefits those working remotely with the environment being accessible over the internet.
Examples of PaaS: WS Elastic Beanstalk, Apache Stratos, Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure
Software as a Service
The most familiar form, Software as a Service (SaaS), incorporating both IaaS and PaaS, offers a fully developed solution on a subscription basis. SaaS is very beneficial for businesses as it eliminates the need to buy expensive programs outright. SaaS can run directly through the web eliminating the need for any downloads or installation, reducing software issues for internal IT teams. The ability to set up a SaaS quickly assists in rapid scaling and allows companies to streamline operations with a hybrid deployment.
Examples of SaaS: Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, Cisco WebEx, Google Apps
Different Types of Deployment Models
The location of the computing infrastructure separate from the customer as it is located on the premises of a cloud computing company that offers the cloud service.
Public cloud networks are large and can be segmented and offered to many different customers on a subscription basis. The processing and storage capacity is provided by multiple servers and therefore enables upwards scaling without the need to purchase new equipment. While public clouds benefit from flexibility, lower costs and scalability, public clouds are not beneficial to companies with highly sensitive information.
A private cloud is used by a single customer or organization. Private cloud infrastructures offer more control over customizability, scalability and flexibility while improving the security of assets and business operations. A private cloud is best suited for large to medium-scale businesses and/or businesses with high-security needs.
A hybrid cloud is a customized solution that uses a combination of both private and public clouds.
The hybrid cloud architecture allows companies to maintain the level of control expected from a private cloud while still having access to the elastic scalability of a public cloud. In some instances, hybrid clouds can become quite complex with organizations requiring a multi-cloud deployment that integrates a private cloud into multiple public cloud services.
Cloud computing is undeniably still a subject of research with companies investing billions of dollars a year into cloud research and development. With this level of interest and continued growth, it is clear that cloud computing will play a significant part in the shaping of tech over the next decade.
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