In recent years, cloud computing has become one of the most popular technologies. But what exactly is cloud computing and how do technologies like Microsoft's Azure, Amazon Web Services or Apple's iCloud work?
What is Cloud Computing?
Simply put, cloud computing resources are made available via an internet connection. Computing resources include, for example, software, databases, storage space or servers, and much more. Therefore, clouds offer the flexible use of resources, the potential to achieve economies of scale and thereby also the reduction of operating expenses.
There is also a distinction to be made between private, public and hybrid clouds as well as between different cloud services such as IaaS, PaaS, serverless and SaaS (see below for an explanation).
What are the advantages of Cloud Computing?
A big advantage and possibly the main advantage of a cloud is that no additional hardware or software needs to be purchased. Furthermore, no (additional) servers need to be operated, cooled, or maintained. All this means that companies have little capital expenditure to be able to use cloud technologies.
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Elastic scaling is possible through adjusting the amount of computing resources that are available as and when needed. For example, parameters such as computing power or storage capacity can be flexibly regulated.
As described above, classic data servers have to be operated, cooled, and maintained, which is extremely time-consuming and cost-intensive for any company. Companies no longer manage the cloud themselves, so these tedious tasks are eliminated and IT experts can be deployed for important projects.
Due to modern technologies, various guidelines and management options, cloud services are generally perceived as secure. This means your data, applications and infrastructures are protected against cyber and information security threats.
What types of Cloud Computing are there?
Different types of cloud computing exist for different requirements. Because of this, the architecture for the cloud must be determined at the start. Companies can choose between a public cloud, a private cloud, or a hybrid cloud.
Public clouds are provided by external cloud providers. The user accesses the services via their internet browser while computing resources are provided via the internet. The infrastructure (hardware, software, and other components) is provided and managed by the providers.
Unlike public clouds, access to the private cloud is limited to a single company. The administration of the cloud also takes place on a private network. This private cloud can be hosted in your own data centre or with external providers.
There is also a combination of public and private clouds called a hybrid cloud. When using a hybrid cloud, data and applications can be exchanged between a public and private cloud. As a result, companies benefit from increased flexibility, more deployment options and optimised infrastructure, security, and compliance.
What types of Cloud services are there?
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), SaaS (Software as a Service) and serverless computing. These are the four main categories into which cloud services can be divided. Because the categories build on each other, they are also referred to as the Cloud Computing Stack.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
With IaaS, IT infrastructures are made available for which usage-based fees are charged when they are used. This type is the simplest, as all the required structures are already provided.
PaaS (Platform as a Service)
The cloud computing service PaaS (Platform as a Service) is particularly suitable for development and test environments as well as the provision and management of applications. This service enables the rapid development of web or mobile apps, as companies do not have to worry about setting up and managing the necessary IT infrastructures (e.g. servers, storage, databases, etc.).
This type of cloud computing service also focuses on app development and shares some similarities with PaaS. Since continually managing servers and infrastructure is no longer necessary, companies can save a considerable amount of time. Setup, capacity planning and server management are also carried out by the cloud service providers. Architectures that are serverless are extremely scalable as well as event-driven because computing resources are only used when they are needed.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
The provision of software applications via the internet is called SaaS (Software as a Service), and the service is usually accessed via a web browser with subscription models. As part of the subscription, the applications are managed, hosted, and maintained by the provider.
What is Cloud Computing used for?
Cloud computing can be used in many ways and for different purposes, some of which are:
- Data storage, backup, and recovery;
- Development and testing;
- Development of cloud native applications;
- Data analysis;
- Streaming services.
- Cloud Computing is defined as the provision of computing resources over the internet;
- There is a difference between a public, private and hybrid cloud;
- There is a difference between IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and serverless cloud services.