Cloud computing enables anyone to access computing services over the internet. From analytics to storage and servers a whole range of support exists and is delivered simply and swiftly online. Cloud computing is operationally efficient and allows a business to pay for only what it actually uses.
Where can you find cloud computing?
Many of us are already using cloud computing without realising it. Online services that allow us to send email, stream films etc are often built on cloud computing. These are some of the most common ways in which cloud computing can be used – and useful:
- Applications. Building, deploying, testing and scaling cloud native applications.
- Data. Everything, from analysing data to protecting and storing it can take place more effectively via cloud computing.
- Software. Accessing the latest software on demand whenever, and wherever, you need it via Software As A Service (SaaS).
- Streaming. Using high quality audio and video streaming to connect with a global audience.
Is every type of cloud computing the same?
No, there are three main types of cloud computing: public, private and hybrid. Public clouds provide resources such as storage and servers via third party service providers. All hardware, software and infrastructure is owned by that provider. A private cloud may be hosted by a third party service provider but the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network for the exclusive use of a single organisation. A hybrid cloud brings these two together, providing more flexibility and deployment options as a result. Data and applications can be shared between public and private clouds. Types of cloud computing can also be broken down into further categories:
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Pay-as-you-go rental of IT infrastructure such as servers and storage.
- Platform as a service (PaaS). Services designed to make it easy for developers to design, test and deliver web or mobile apps.
- Software as a service (SaaS). Subscription, on-demand services delivered via the internet. Underlying infrastructure, maintenance, upgrades etc are all handled by the service provider.
Why use cloud computing?
A shift to cloud computing can be a substantial perspective change for any organisation when it comes to IT resources. However, there are considerable benefits to doing this, including:
- Reducing costs. Services can be paid for as used, instead of via a flat monthly fee, and capital expenses, such as buying hardware and software, are minimised.
- Security and speed. It takes just a few minutes to provision large volumes of computing resources via cloud computing and the security provided for data, apps and infrastructure is often much more sophisticated than most businesses have in-house.
- Performance and productivity. Minimised network latency and greater economies of scale are two of the key performance benefits of cloud computing. Because many IT related tasks – such as software patching or hardware set up – are transferred to a third party provider in-house productivity rises as staff can add value elsewhere.
Cloud computing has been a quiet revolution, offering more flexibility and a more cost effective way to take advantage of what technology has to offer.