Cloud computing, often referred to as “The Cloud”, is a service provided by vendors to give you access to servers, storage, databases, and a broad set of application services over the Internet on a pay-for-use basis.
Major cloud service providers
The cloud services market presents a range of providers, but following are few who have established themselves as dominant cloud providers.
- Amazon Web Services
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Cloud Platform
- IBM Cloud
- Oracle Cloud
Types of Cloud Computing
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a cloud service where softwares are managed by a third-party vendor and whose interface is accessed on the clients’ side. Licenses are typically provided through a pay-as-you-go model or on-demand. SaaS eliminates the need to download, install and run applications on individual computers. With SaaS customers select the cloud provider, choose the software and access the software application through the web. There are several popular examples of SaaS providers, including: Google GSuite (Apps), Dropbox, Salesforce, Cisco WebEx, SAP Concur, and GoToMeeting.
Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) functions at a lower level than SaaS, typically providing a platform on which software can be developed and deployed. PaaS shares some similarities with SaaS, the primary difference being that instead of delivering software online, it is actually a platform for creating software that is delivered via the Internet. Popular examples of PaaS include AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, Heroku, Force.com, Google App Engine, and OpenShift.
Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is comprised of highly automated and scalable compute resources, complemented by cloud storage and network capability which can be self-provisioned, metered, and available on-demand. Clients can avoid the need to purchase software or servers, and instead procure these resources in an outsourced, on-demand service. IaaS clients have direct access to their servers and storage, just as they would with traditional servers but gain access to a much higher order of scalability. Popular examples of IaaS include DigitalOcean, Linode, Rackspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metacloud, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine (GCE).
Benefits of cloud computing
- Speed to market: With Cloud computing you can develop your business faster without worrying too much on buying hardware, software and other essential resources. This faster deployment allows you to get cloud resources required for your system within fewer minutes. Cloud computing also allows you rollback if anything goes wrong.
- Ease of access: Users can access cloud databases from virtually anywhere, using a vendor’s API or web interface.
- Scalability: Your business can scale up or scale down your operation and storage needs quickly to suit your situation, allowing flexibility as your needs change. Rather than purchasing and installing expensive upgrades yourself, your cloud computer service provider can handle this for you.
- Disaster recovery: In the event of a natural disaster, equipment failure or power outage, data is kept secure through backups on remote servers.
- High Availability: Most of the cloud providers are truly reliable in offering their services, with most of them maintaining an uptime of 99.9%. The workers can get onto the applications needed basically from anywhere. Some of the applications even function off-line.
- Security: Cloud Service Providers are more concerned on their reputational damage and hence they invest heavily in security, personnel, software, and processes to protect their infrastructure. The level of investment is much more than what most businesses could put into their in-house security
- Reduced Administrative Burden: A database with fewer features is less flexible, but it’s far more manageable. A cloud-hosted, mostly self-managed database doesn’t eliminate a database administrator, but it can eliminate unnecessary features that typically consume much of a DBA’s time and efforts. That allows a DBA to focus his or her time on more important issues. It can even allow a company to get started without a dedicated or full-time DBA, avoiding specialization that can cause team bottlenecks.
- Easily Manageable: Cloud computing offers simplified and enhanced IT maintenance and management capacities by agreements backed by SLA, central resource administration and managed infrastructure. You get to enjoy a basic user interface without any requirement for installation. Plus you are assured guaranteed and timely management, maintenance, and delivery of the IT services.
- Reduced Cost: Moving to cloud computing may reduce the cost of managing and maintaining your IT systems. Reduce Infrastructure cost by not investing on infrastructure to maintain data centres, no expensive systems, no equipment for your business. You may be able to reduce your Operating cost because no energy consumption, no pay wages for staff, no software or hardware upgrades.
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