Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.
Instead of owning and managing physical servers and data centres, cloud computing allows users to rent or lease computing resources, such as virtual machines, storage, databases, and more, from cloud service providers.
This model offers several benefits, including scalability, flexibility, cost-efficiency, and the ability to access resources from anywhere with an internet connection.
These services are divided into three main categories or types of cloud computing:
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
- Platform as a service (PaaS
- Software as a service (SaaS)
AWS, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, is the largest and most widely adopted cloud provider. It offers a comprehensive suite of cloud computing services, including computing power, storage, databases, machine learning, analytics, and more.
An internet network connection links the front end, which includes the accessing client device, browser, network and cloud software applications, with the back end, which consists of databases, servers and computers.
The back end functions as a repository, storing data that is accessed by the front end. Communications between the front and back ends are managed by a central server. The central server relies on protocols to facilitate the exchange of data. The central server uses both software and middleware to manage connectivity between different client devices and cloud servers. Typically, there is a dedicated server for each individual application or workload.
Cloud computing relies heavily on virtualization and automation technologies. Virtualization enables the easy abstraction and provisioning of services and underlying cloud systems into logical entities that users can request and utilize. Automation and accompanying orchestration capabilities provide users with a high degree of self-service to provision resources, connect services and deploy workloads without direct intervention from the cloud provider’s IT staff.
Characteristics and advantages of cloud computing technology is a topic of great discussion to elevate any modern business
Organizations are increasingly embracing a multi-cloud model, or the use of multiple IaaS providers. This enables applications to migrate between different cloud providers or to even operate concurrently across two or more cloud providers.
They adopt multi-cloud for various reasons. For example, they could do so to minimize the risk of a cloud service outage or to take advantage of more competitive pricing from a particular provider. Multi-cloud implementation and application development can be a challenge because of the differences between cloud providers’ services and APIs.
Multi-cloud deployments should become easier, however, as providers’ services and APIs converge and become more standardized through industry initiatives such as the Open Cloud Computing Interface.
A community cloud, which is shared by several organizations, supports a particular community that shares the same concerns — e.g., the same mission, policy, security requirements and compliance considerations. A community cloud is either managed by these organizations or a third-party vendor and can be on or off premises.
Cloud computing has been around for several decades now, and today’s cloud computing infrastructure demonstrates an array of characteristics that have brought meaningful benefits for businesses of all sizes. Some of the main characteristics of cloud computing are the following:
Self-service provisioning. End users can spin up compute resources for almost any type of workload on demand. An end user can provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, eliminating the traditional need for IT administrators to provision and manage compute resources.
Elasticity. Companies can freely scale up as computing needs increase and scale down again as demands decrease. This eliminates the need for massive investments in local infrastructure, which might or might not remain active.
Pay per use. Compute resources are measured at a granular level, enabling users to pay only for the resources and workloads they use.
Workload resilience. CSPs often implement redundant resources to ensure resilient storage and to keep users’ important workloads running — often across multiple global regions.
Migration flexibility. Organizations can move certain workloads to or from the cloud — or to different cloud platforms — as desired or automatically for better cost savings or to use new services as they emerge.
Broad network access. A user can access cloud data or upload data to the cloud from anywhere with an internet connection using any device.
Multi-tenancy and resource pooling. Multi-tenancy lets numerous customers share the same physical infrastructures or the same applications yet still retain privacy and security over their own data. With resource pooling, cloud providers service numerous customers from the same physical resources. The resource pools of the cloud providers should be large and flexible enough so they can service the requirements of multiple customers.