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For Beginners: An Introduction to Cloud Computing

lalithramrajkumarSep 27, 2019, 6:35:24 AM
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The year is 2019 and the term ‘cloud computing’ has become prevalent in the IT sector. For the people from the same sector, it has become the talk of the town and for a layman, it has remained an amusing terminology. After all, what is cloud computing? What does computing have to do with clouds?

Well, cloud computing can be defined as the delivery of computing services over the internet than delivering the same at the customer location. In other words, cloud computing is a general word used to delivering various hosting services over the internet by utilising remote, rented servers to store and manage data rather than using a local, privately maintained server.

To better illustrate, let me give you an example. Consider you are a passenger in transportation service, travelling to a destination along with your fellow passengers. In cloud computing terminologies, you and your fellow passengers are data and the transportation service is cloud computing. It helps fetch and deliver the data to specific devices from any place. Some famous cloud services are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Azure.

As opposed to the school of thought that cloud computing is a modern-day feat, it was first believed to be used in the 1960s when network-based computing was prevalent in major companies and governmental agencies in the United States of America. However, the word ‘cloud computing' was first used by the then CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt in 2006 in an industry conference.

Before the advent of cloud computing, website hosting would usually be done on a local server. This local server was generally paid and maintained by the site owners. Sometimes due to peak traffic, the websites suffered downtime, which is when they became inaccessible. To minimise the same, site owners often bought extra server space to accommodate large volume web traffic on their sites.

Nevertheless, this had a drawback as well. During the non-peak hours or scenarios where a small amount of traffic accessed the website, the extra server space went unused and posed a huge financial burden to most of the site owners.

To eliminate all such unexpected errors and setbacks, cloud computing was introduced. It also allowed individuals and organisations to rent server space, thus reducing the need to invest in onsite local servers and extra personnel to maintain the same. With cloud computing, the users can host full applications, softwares and development environments in the cloud apart from just websites.

Why Cloud Computing?

According to www.internetworldstats.com in December 2000, there were a total of 361 million internet users in the whole world, which accounted for 5.8% of the total world population. In June 2019, 4536 million people used the internet which accounted for a total of 58.8% of the world population. In nearly two decades, the internet has swept over the world and is continuously doing so as you read this.

Computers and mobile phones have become increasingly popular in most of the countries to import and exchange data and information. With that, data storage has become a priority in all fields and sectors. Companies and businesses today are willing to spend big bucks to maintain such vast data to thrive and fare better. This requires a storage hub and strong IT support, which can be easily afforded by large scale companies and businesses.

However, not all businesses can afford such high-cost infrastructure and support and for them, cloud computing is a cheaper solution. The efficiency of data storage, computation and less maintenance cost puts cloud computing at the summit of alternatives for small scale companies. Perhaps, this same feature has also succeeded in attracting well-established companies and businesses who have taken to cloud computing to ease their operations and efficiency.

Furthermore, cloud computing reduces the hardware and software demand from the user's perspective. The end-user only needs to run the cloud computing interface software (sometimes a web browser will do too) and the cloud network takes care of the rest. A simple example of cloud computing that we all use in our daily lives to access our emails is the Gmail client.

Any individual or the end-user can connect to the cloud services from his/her device such as a laptop, tablet, mobile phone or a desktop at the comfort of his/her home. As long as the GSS Webtech services are user-friendly and functional, it does not matter what technologies and infrastructures are involved in cloud computing to the end-user.

Types of Cloud Computing Services

There are a total of six types of cloud computing services:

• Software as a Service (SaaS)

• Platform as a Service (PaaS)

• Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

• Monitoring as a Service (MaaS)

• Communication as a Service (CaaS)

• Anything as a Service (XaaS)

To avoid unnecessary complications, let us take a look at the three major types of cloud computing services for now.

1. Software as a Service (SaaS) – In this cloud computing model, businesses can eliminate the need for individual installations with the help of cloud-hosted applications and softwares, thereby reducing the maintenance and service costs.

2. Platform as a Service (PaaS) – PaaS computing model provides a platform or an environment for developers to build applications and services, which helps in remote development without needing to maintain the underlying environment.

3. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – With IaaS cloud service, companies and businesses can move their entire data centre to the cloud with the help of service providers who maintain all storage servers and networking hardware thus eliminating on-site resources.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has immensely grown popular off-late owing to its innumerable benefits to businesses, corporations and individuals. In certain instances, cloud models have faster installation times when compared to on-site server installations and provide a faster and better service. In addition to that, these services are infinitely scalable.

When a company or a business plan to expand its requirements or cut down on the same, cloud services operate likewise thereby providing optimal services at all times. This freedom to use services as per the requirement allows the companies and businesses to pay only for what they use. Also, outsourced operations can run smoothly and efficiently without many in-house resources, thanks to cloud computing.

Following are a few other benefits of cloud computing listed point-wise:

1. Improved performance for companies and businesses.

2. Fewer maintenance issues.

3. Quick software updates.

4. Option for backup and recovery.

5. Mitigation of data loss due to disaster.

6. Increased data safety.

7. Larger storage capacity.

8. Compatible on multiple operating systems.

9. Allows for business continuity from any place.

10. Cloud solutions help eliminate complex hardware and software.