What is Cloud Computing?

What is Cloud Computing?

Technology is progressing by leaps and bounds. It is now possible to access Your data anytime, anywhere, using a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. To do this, all that you need is an Internet connection. This has been made possible due to advancements in the field of cloud computing.

In the simplest terms, cloud computing is the practice of storing and accessing data and applications using the Internet. ‘Cloud’ is a metaphor for the Internet. When you use a cloud service, (such as Google cloud) your data is stored remotely on a server (referred to as ‘cloud’) that is managed by the company whose cloud service you are using. Therefore, in case of Google cloud, your data is stored on a Google server and not on your local hard drive. Some of the leading companies providing cloud services are Microsoft (OneDrive), Google (Google Drive), Apple (iCloud), Dropbox, and so on.

Nowadays, cloud is a part of almost everything on your computer. It is integrated to your operating system, applications and other services. For example, you may have used Microsoft Office 365 or Office Online (web-based). These are examples of cloud computing that utilise an instance of cloud, i.e., storage (OneDrive). You can save your files online using cloud applications and later on share them with other users or choose to work together simultaneously using one of the integrated cloud services.

The reason why cloud computing came into existence was because the innovators wanted to make data access affordable for everyone—small companies, large companies and individual users. Some companies have a large amount of data which requires data mining and information extraction at regular intervals. But, not all of them can invest heavily on computer infrastructure that is needed for processing huge volumes of data. Therefore, renting resources from a cloud provider and outsourcing some of the processing to it seems like an affordable option.

Cloud providers rent out a limited amount of storage space on their servers to their customers that can be accessed from anywhere on any device using an Internet connection. Cloud is an easy way to transfer large files. Most cloud providers charge a fee for using cloud services such as storage, databases, networking, analytics, etc., depending on the usage.

Cloud Computing Architecture

A number of components and sub-components are needed to implement cloud computing. When these components work in sync, users are able to benefit from multitude of services provided by cloud companies.

The front-end platform typically consists of desktop and web-based applications. This is the client part and it includes the interfaces and applications that are used to access cloud computing. The back-end platform refers to the actual cloud. It consists of servers for storing large volumes of data and all other resources that are used to provide cloud computing services. It includes virtual machines, security mechanism, deployment model and other resources. Lastly, a cloud-based delivery is accomplished using a transmission channel; such as Internet, Intranet or intercloud. Together, these components make up the cloud architecture.

Cloud implementation uses following four architecture types:

Private Cloud: This type of cloud supports private storage (hosting or computer space) which can be both remote and local depending upon the database storage of the company. Companies that have sensitive or fragile data opt for this service. To provide extra security features to this storage, it is either managed internally by the company or is outsourced to a trustworthy vendor.

Public Cloud: A public cloud is the most common type of storage that is used. Most of us as individual customers have used this type of cloud service. It is operated remotely, owned by a cloud service provider and shared by multiple resource tenants. It is a remote storage service.

Community Cloud: A community cloud is a collaborative effort in which storage is shared between several companies having common concerns, such as security, compliance and jurisdiction. This cloud is also known as a semi-public or semi-private cloud. It can have either local or remote storage depending on the agreement between the companies sharing them.

Hybrid Class Cloud: A hybrid cloud is a combination of two or more different types of cloud architectures, which retain their originality but are linked through a shared standard or technology. This enables flow of data between different cloud structures (depending on the computing needs and cost) while keeping their original benefits intact. Businesses derive greater flexibility and enhanced data deployment options by using hybrid cloud.

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