The cloud has transformed how businesses and individuals store, manage, and analyse data. It provides numerous advantages, including faster invention, more flexible resources, and economies of scale.
This article will examine the fundamentals of cloud computing, its architecture, service classes, deployment methodologies, and some major public cloud service providers.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing refers to delivering computing services via the internet, colloquially known as "the cloud." These services include servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence. In other words, it is a comprehensive solution delivering IT as a service.
As opposed to traditional computing models, which store data and applications on local servers or personal computers, cloud computing allows users to access their resources and apps from any location with an internet connection.
One of the most significant characteristics of cloud computing is its ability to provide flexible resources. Cloud service providers can distribute and reallocate computer resources dynamically based on demand, assuring optimal performance and cost efficiency. This adaptability enables firms to scale their infrastructure up or down as needed without requiring large upfront hardware or software investments.
The architecture of cloud computing
Cloud computing architecture is constructed using a network of remote servers situated in data centres managed by cloud service providers. These data centres store and process large amounts of data. The architecture has two components: front-end and back-end.
The front end involves client devices or applications that users interact with, while the back end includes cloud servers, storage systems, and several software applications that form the cloud infrastructure.
The cloud is built on distinct layers, each offering different functionality. Cloud computing presents different service classes to suit various user needs, with the most popular options being Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
SaaS - It is the topmost layer of the cloud. SaaS provides cloud-hosted software applications that prevent the need for local installations. A prime example of a SaaS provider is Google Pack.
PaaS - Paas forms the intermediate layer and gives developers a platform to develop, deploy, and manage applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure. It also gives clients access to operating systems and associated services. Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is an example of a PaaS provider.
IaaS - The cloud’s foundation lies in the infrastructure. IaaS provides virtualised computing resources, such as servers, storage, and networking, which offer users more control and flexibility over their infrastructure. An example of organisations benefitting from IaaS is POD (Print On Demand) services.
Types of cloud computing
The cloud has evolved into different types, models and services to cater to the changing needs of people. There are primarily 3 types of clouds ⎯ public, private and hybrid.
- Public Cloud - A cloud owned and managed by third-party service providers to deliver IT services like servers and storage over the web to multiple clients is known as a public cloud.
There are various notable participants in the industry when it comes to public cloud service providers. Microsoft Azure is a leading supplier, offering a wide range of cloud services such as computing power, storage, and analytics.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and IBM Cloud are some of the other prominent providers, each with its own set of services and capabilities to meet the demands of diverse customers.
- Private Cloud - It is dedicated to a single organisation and can be located on-premises or hosted by a third-party provider. In this case, services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network.
- Hybrid Cloud - A hybrid cloud combines public and private cloud models, allowing organisations to take advantage of both benefits. It facilitates sharing of data and applications between public and private clouds, offering companies greater flexibility and deployment options. It is ideal for optimising existing infrastructure, security and compliance.
Apart from the three above clouds, a fourth cloud, the community cloud, also exists. Multiple organisations share it with common interests, such as industry-specific regulatory requirements.
Applications of cloud computing
Cloud computing pervades every layer of our digital existence. From watching movies, sending emails, and editing documents to playing your favourite music, cloud computing works behind the curtain to make everything seamless.
Some common applications of cloud computing include -:
- Using an offsite cloud storage system to store, recover and back up data to ensure easy accessibility from anywhere, anytime.
- Streaming audio and videos from any location or distributing the service to connect with audiences.
- Using cloud infrastructure to test and build applications.
- Creating, deploying and scaling cloud-based applications — mobile, web, API.
- Unifying data across divisions, teams and locations in the cloud. Discover insights by using cloud services like machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Cloud computing is a robust and scalable solution for storing and processing data, driving innovation and enabling organisations to thrive in the digital age. It has transformed the way businesses and individuals leverage technology. Enrol in a reputable fintech course to learn the fundamentals of cloud computing and explore the job market.
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