What is Cloud?

The cloud enables anyone with an internet connection to access IT resources on-demand. The basic resources available are compute, storage, database, applications, all of which are needed for a business critical application to deliver a full experience.

With cloud computing, there is no need to make large upfront investments in hardware and spend a lot of time on the heavy lifting of managing that hardware. Instead, the right type and size of computing resources can be provisioned to power our newest bright idea or operate our IT department.

Cloud Computing Technology

Public, Private, and Hybrid Clouds

There are three types of clouds based on who is hosting the cloud and managing its underlying infrastructure: they are private, public, and hybrid.

Public cloud services are made available to anybody who wants to purchase or lease services. The three largest cloud service providers currently are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

Services typically fall into one of three categories:

  • Software-as-a-service (SaaS): A subscription-based licensing of software that is centrally hosted
  • Platform-as-a-service (PaaS): a computing platform for developing or hosting applications
  • Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS): an entire networking or computing infrastructure

Private cloud services are built by enterprises for use by their employees and partners only and reside on-premises data centers.

Hybrid cloud services combine the two to provide the benefits of a private cloud’s direct control and a public cloud’s speed and scalability.

Cloud provides Virtualization

Virtualization technology is key because it allows physical servers, storage, and networking services to be provided to multiple customers on demand using software. This is accomplished through software defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV).

Cloud Computing Advantages

Capital expense Vs Variable expense

The financial challenge of an on-premises data center is the capex that goes into creating, fixing, and updating the hardware in it, often involving substantial over-provisioning of resources to ensure the data center can handle traffic spikes. This is in addition to the opex of energy bills and paying personnel to operate and monitor the data center.

Using the cloud reduces the capex costs, replacing them with opex costs as part of the service subscription. This means that costs better reflect actual infrastructure use and infrastructure upgrade costs can be more easily absorbed into operating budgets.

Scalability with Agility

When a company is subscribed to a cloud service, it can easily scale resources up and down with agility as needed and take advantage of lower pay-as-you-go prices.

Resource Management

Resources can be procured, paid for, and used with greater specificity. Monitoring tools allow organizations to watch resource use and adjust their usage so they aren’t paying for unused resources.

Cloud Computing Disadvantages

Control of Infrastructure

The organization cannot be certain that the quality of maintenance and amount of attention given to the infrastructure is on par with what the company would strive for.

Security

Building on the loss of control, security can be challenging in a public cloud, not just because of the physical security of the data center, but because of potential poor server neighbors who can bring in malicious software that affects other customers.

If a company handles sensitive information, it is often considered a best practice to maintain an on-premise data center or private cloud in order to comply with regulations.

With customers that are using infrastructure-, platform-, or SaaS offerings from cloud providers, the customers are responsible for aspects of security to attempt to avoid a bad neighbor situation — by having everyone do their part. But the loss of control and lack of inherent trust for other customers is a cause for concern about the security of the cloud.

Network Connection Dependency

Networks go down from time to time. It’s unavoidable. When they go down, organizations that are reliant on the cloud for software, coding platforms, or their entire infrastructure, are left either partly or entirely unable to work.

This downtime means companies lose money, which impacts their business goals, as well as the larger economy, to varying degrees.\

Credits: This article was adopted from What is Cloud.