Back to Basics: What is Cloud Computing?

Author: Kristina Proffitt

29th August 2017

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services over the internet. This can include software, web hosting, back-end processing, servers, and much, much more.

Cloud computing has only been around a few years, but it’s grown rapidly due to its ease of use and the financial savings it creates for businesses.

The payment structure for cloud-based software is often different – users pay on a per-use basis, rather than everyone paying a flat fee. This is particularly beneficial for individuals or small businesses who may need a program’s functionality but can’t afford the one-off price.

Businesses also don’t need to worry about being locked into long-term contracts – they can shop around as much and as often as they like so that they’re always with the best vendor for the job.

The benefits of cloud computing

When you store information on your personal computer or a local server, you are responsible for maintaining that computer or server. Should something happen to it, if your data isn’t backed up, you risk losing your hard work.

Not only that, but you’re also responsible for securing that data. If you’re not a security expert, this can be a daunting process and can lead to gaps in the security of your hardware.

When your data is stored on the cloud, all the hard work is done for you.

The company that owns the cloud deals with the security side of things, and will have a backup database just in case anything goes wrong.

Should something happen to your computer, you can pick up where you left off on a different device. No data is lost because your hard drive breaks.

Cloud computing also means that businesses can create their own software without the need for their own servers. Cronofy’s data and servers, for example, is hosted by AWS. This means that they’re responsible for all the server maintenance. Everything from the updates to the cooling of the hardware itself is done by them.

Because businesses don’t own the hardware, they get the benefits of hardware improvements/upgrades without the cost. With the speed at which new technology grows, this is essential for businesses to keep up.

While this may sound like a simple thing, the more data you have, the more time these processes take up, and the more it costs businesses. The electricity to run and cool servers gets expensive. Businesses also need to pay someone to manage this hardware and keep everything running smoothly. It’s a costly investment. Because of this, even Netflix hosts its videos in the cloud (they recently moved to AWS). They want to focus on delivering a great user experience, and not have to worry about maintaining their servers.

Cloud computing is a great solution for SaaS businesses such as Netflix because it scales so well. Buying new hardware when you run out of storage space is expensive, but buying extra storage space in the cloud isn’t. You can gradually increase your business’s storage in the cloud as you need to, without having to worry about investing in expensive new hardware every few years.

Maintaining servers takes up much of an IT team’s valuable time. By hosting information in the cloud instead, team members have more time to work towards their goals and the business’s wider objectives.

Cloud computing also allows businesses to instantly operate on a global scale.

Types of cloud services

There are three types of cloud computing: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS).

Infrastructure as a service

Infrastructure as a service, or IaaS, is what everything else on the internet needs to run. Servers, databases, and other data-hosting services all fit into this category. It’s charged on a pay-as-you-go basis, meaning that you’ll only ever pay for what you need/use.

Platform as a service

Platform as a service, or PaaS, is an environment where developers have all the tools they need to create applications and services over the internet. This includes things such as operating systems, programming language execution environments, databases and more.

Software as a service

Software as a service, or SaaS, is the form of cloud computing many of us will be most familiar with. Everything from our email clients to our calendars can fall into the SaaS category.

Conclusion

Cloud computing is a ubiquitous part of modern life. Without even realising it, we all rely it on it manage our personal and professional life. Doing so gives us more time to spend on what matters, and means we don’t need to worry about data loss, security, or paying for hardware we don’t need.

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Kristina Proffitt

Date: 29th August 2017 | Category: Back to Basics