What is Cloud Computing?
The advancement of the technology encompassing networks, storage, and processing power led to epitome of computing. In this century, it’s called cloud computing or commonly referred to as cloud. Cloud computing is a paradigm that allow on-demand network access to shared computing resources – a model for managing, storing and processing data online via the internet. Some cloud computing characteristics include:
- On Demand Service – you use it when you need it.
- Network Access – uses internet as a medium.
- Shared Resources – resources are pooled together and used by multiple clients.
- Scalability – allows elasticity of resources.
There are many types of cloud computing, for better understanding of the cloud computing concept, these types are classified into two major models; Deployment Models and Service/Delivery Models.
There are three major types of deployment models;
- Private cloud. This cloud infrastructure is exclusive for single organizations. No sharing. It can be On-Premise or hosted externally. They are managed by the organization or by other third party.
- Public cloud. This cloud infrastructure provides access to the general public/over a public network. This cloud is owned, operated and managed by companies, big organizations or even the government. Computing resources are catered for by the companies that own this cloud.
- Hybrid cloud. This cloud infrastructure is a combination of two or more other cloud infrastructures – they can be composed of private and public cloud. This different clouds are standardized to work seamlessly, but they retain they individual unique entities.
- Other deployment models include; community cloud, distributed cloud, inter-cloud and multi-cloud.
On-Premise Vs Cloud Computing Concept:
On Premise computing is a type of computing in which the infrastructure is installed on the user's computers in a premise where all the computing resources are accessed and managed by/from the premise.
In cloud computing, the pool of resources is accessed online. Unlike cloud computing which has a usage on demand service and is perceived as a utility – pay as you go, On Premise computing uses upfront capital expenditure.
For financial purposes, On Premise is too expensive - high entry cost as compared to the utility cost of using cloud computing. Also, the overall maintenance cost of On-Premise computing is incurred by the premise that owns it; this translates to diminished returns in the long run.
Advantages of Cloud Computing:
Universal Access: Cloud computing services are platform independent; they are accessible across all devices with internet connection. This increases mobility and ensures that you can access all your information from any place. By this, cloud computing also increase productivity as it allows staff to collaborate on projects.
More Storage Capacity: Cloud computing offers an unlimited storage as long as you can afford it. You don't have to worry about running out of storage and having to buy SSD hard disks for backups.
Easy and Quick Set-Up: Unlike On-Premise infrastructure, when using cloud, you don't need to install anything or worry about the underlying hardware. All you need is to connect to a network/Internet, register with a cloud provider and adjust some simple configurations and that's it. Other providers may require you install a client software on your device; this is suitable if you don't like using browsers to access their services.
Automatic Updates: Cloud providers are responsible for their underlying infrastructure. You will not worry about acquiring an update, a new software, their licenses or upgrading some hardware. With cloud computing, all this solely done by the provider. Maybe you only need to download a client software update.
Cost Effective: As an on demand service, cloud computing is cheap. You only pay for what you use, and you don't incur the initial capital of acquiring the infrastructure. You don't also incur other costs such as maintenance, security, and storage costs. Some providers may offer cloud computing for free to their clients.
Disadvantages of Cloud Computing:
UnivesSecurity Risks: As with all other technologies, cloud computing is susceptible to security vulnerabilities. Cloud providers's servers can be attacked given the fact that millions of people are accessing them hourly. Since cloud uses the Internet, Internet related risks such as malware, man in the middle attacks and eavesdropping can be experienced.
Privacy Issues: The CIA triad - confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information can be breached when using cloud computing. Your data can be accessed by unauthorized entities or even modified. The privacy and security issues can also be perpetrated by you, to avoid this, ensure you use a strong password and never give it out to someone else.
Loss of Control: Using some services of cloud computing means that you lose control over some entities. The entities dictate on how they'll be used since cloud uses the on-demand service model. And at times if the servers are down, you will have no option but to wait.
Internet Reliance: If you don't have access to the Internet, well, you also lose access to the cloud. And yes there are places where Long Term Evolution and even the 3rd generation networks are not available.
Cloud Provider Reliability: Since you don't have control over the cloud computing entities, you have to rely fully on the cloud provider. If anything happens to your cloud provider, you will also be affected. Although other providers offer lightweight offline solutions, you will still depend on them for syncing services. This dependency can affect productivity and also efficiency.
Examples of Companies that Use Cloud Computing: How It Has Helped Them.
Amazon’s AWS: Amazon Web Services. When it comes to companies using cloud computing, AWS takes the lead. This cloud service contributed the company’s 56% profit in the 1st quarter of 2016. This cloud computing company offers IaaS and PaaS services to its customers. It’s popular for its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) among others services such as Elastic Beanstalk, Simple Storage Service (S3) and Relational Database Service (RDS). Apart from the complete suite of cloud computing, it offers other cloud related services including Internet of Things (IoT), cloud security and mobile services.
iCloud: This cloud from Apple is majorly for Apple products. It allows you to backup and store all your multimedia and other documents online. This content is then seamlessly integrated onto all your devices/apps in case you access it from them. It offers a free 5 GB storage, and if you need more storage capacity, you need to pay for it.
Microsoft Azure: This cloud is used and offered by Microsoft. It offers IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS for its enterprise software and developer tools. If you have ever used Office 365 products, then you have used SaaS. This cloud business has generated a lot of revenue for Microsoft, up to $2.5 billion per quarter.
Google Cloud: The Google cloud platform is a universal cloud for Google’s vast ecosystem and also for other products such as Microsoft Office. It allows collaboration, storage of data and also other services offered by its cloud computing suite.
IBM Smart Cloud: Using private, public and hybrid deployment models IBM Smart Cloud provides a full range of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS cloud computing services to businesses. Using pay as you go model, this cloud generates revenue for IBM.
3 Delivery Models of Cloud Computing: SaaS, PaaS, IaaS
This are service models for cloud computing. Cloud computing offers different services based on the three delivery models. When arranged in a pyramid form, they follow the order of SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS
What is SaaS?
SaaS – Software as a Service. It is a service that offers on-demand pay per use of application software to users. Unlike Licenced bought programs, this service is platform independent, and you don't need to install the software on your PC. The cloud runs a single instance of the software and makes it available for multiple end users. This make cloud computing cheap. All the computing resources responsible for delivering SaaS are entirely managed by the vendor. This service is accessible via a web browser or lightweight client applications. Other SaaS providers offer this service in plans, the first plan being free.
Who uses SaaS?
End customers are frequent users of SaaS.
Example products & services of SaaS?
Popular SaaS providers offer the following products and services;
The major Google ecosystem (Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive), Microsoft Office 365, online Games, HR and help desk solutions and Customer Relation Management (CRM) services such as SalesForce.
- Universally accessible from any platform.
- No need to commute, you can work from anyplace.
- Excellent for collaborative working.
- Vendor provides modest software tools.
- Portability and browser issues.
- Internet performance may dictate overall performance.
- Compliance restrictions.
What is PaaS?
PaaS – Platform as a Service. This service is mainly a development environment/platform and is made up of a programming language execution environment, an operating system, a web server and a database. All of this encapsulate the environment (built-in APIs) where users can build, compile and run their programs without worrying of underlying infrastructure. In this model, you manage data and the application resources; all other managed by the vendor. PaaS is further divided into four groups, namely;
- Open PaaS
- Standalone PaaS
- Addon PaaS
- Application delivery PaaS
Who uses PaaS?
This is a domain for developers.
Example products & services of PaaS?
Cloud providers have the following as the PaaS products and services;
Amazon Web Servces (Elastic Beanstalk), Google App Engine, Window Azure, Heroku, Force.com (enterprise CRM platform).
- Cost effective rapid development (scalable).
- Faster market for developers.
- Easy deployment of web applications.
- Private or public deployment is possible.
- Developers are limited to the providers' languages and tools.
- Migration issues – such as the risk of vendor lock-in.
What is IaaS?
IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service. This service offers the computing architecture and infrastructure. That is, it offers all computing resources but in a virtual environment so that multiple user can access them. Theses resources include; data storage, virtualization, servers, and networking. Most vendors are responsible for managing the above four resources. If you will use this service, you will be responsible for handling other resources such as applications, data, runtime, and middleware.
Who uses IaaS?
IaaS is mainly for SysAdmins.
Example products & services of IaaS?
They include; Amazon EC2, Go Grid, and Rackspace.com
- The Cloud provides the infrastructure.
- Enhanced scalability – dynamic workloads are supported.
- IaaS is flexible.
- Security issues.
- Network and service delays.
Should Your Company Move Your Data/Infrastructure to the cloud or Keep It On Premise?
For a company, it's a wise decision to shift into the cloud and here is why.
- Companywise – With the advancement of the internet and increased network bandwidth, businesses should take advantage of Cloud computing. This is because, in the long run, cloud computing is cost effective as compared to On Premise. It reduces the overall capital expenditure while maximizing efficiency and productivity. Utilization is optimum since cloud computing is a utility; pay as you go. Also, the number of workers on site will decrease as cloud computing offers collaboration solutions. To efficiently manage workers, cloud offers IDaas – Identity as a Service. This is responsible for access control entities such authentication and authorization.
- The IT department will also be efficient due to the on-demand usage model. Computing power, storage, and server entities are all managed by cloud. Since the cloud provides a vast storage, offline backups are unnecessary. The other entities such as runtime are managed by the admins. Using IDaaS, admins are also able to audit entities efficiently. This ensures scalability without constraints, and also all the company’s needs are met during peak hours. Development of programs will be done right in the department without the need of outsourcing the software. The IT budget will also reduce as there is no infrastructure to maintain, it's only overseeing.
- Customers will also be able to securely access data such as products and services from anyplace using any device 24/7. With the help of cloud CRM, customers and the company will greatly benefit from each other.