In the last couple of years, the use of cloud computing in businesses has significantly increased. Organizations have experienced the benefits of cloud storage, databases, networking and software. However, others don’t fully understand the types of cloud computing and its function, which brings hesitancy amongst businesses to use it.
In a nutshell, cloud, also known as cloud computing is the delivery of computing services – including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and intelligence – over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources and economies of scale.
There are two models of cloud computing: deployment and service. Deployment models include public, private, hybrid and community clouds, while services include platforms such as IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.
Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud
The types of cloud computing deployment can be categorized into public, private, hybrid, and community. Businesses can choose which type of cloud works best for them depending on their needs.
The public cloud is defined as computing services offered by third-party providers over the public Internet. A public cloud is available to anyone who wants to use or purchase it. It is often offered free of charge or sold on demand, allowing customers to only pay per usage for the CPU cycles, storage, or bandwidth they consume. Benefits are that the public cloud can be deployed faster and is infinitely scalable; lower costs; no maintenance; and, high reliability. While security concerns have been raised about public cloud, when set up properly, it can be as safe as a private cloud. Examples of public cloud include Google Drive and Dropbox.
A private cloud differs in that it uses dedicated and private hardware. This means the cloud infrastructure is solely used by one organization. Private cloud offers the highest level of security and control, which many businesses find appealing. Benefits of private cloud include more flexibility; improved security; and, high scalability. An example of a private cloud is the SysGen Atmosphere.
Hybrid cloud, as the name suggests, uses both private and public clouds. With hybrid cloud, the organization reaps the benefits of both cloud environments. An example would be a company uses Gmail for email but uses the private cloud to keep corporate data safe in storage. Benefits of hybrid cloud included control of sensitive assets as required; flexibility of additional resources in public cloud as needed; cost-effectiveness for the ability to scale in public cloud; ease of transitioning between the two clouds as needed.
IaaS, PaaS, SaaS
The most common services of the cloud are infrastructure, platform, software, or storage. Cloud services can be offered as infrastructure, such as virtual servers and data storage disks. This is known as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). IaaS is cloud at its most fundamental level has a client managed operating system included. It is highly customizable based on the client. Examples of IaaS include Amazon, Flexiscale, and Rackspace.
Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is a form of cloud that offers development platforms for a more formulated cloud experience. This includes databases, web servers and other platforms so that the cloud environment doesn’t need to be built from scratch. Examples of PaaS include Microsoft Azure, Salesforce, and Google App Engine.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) means that users can access various cloud software applications on a pay-per-use basis. SaaS does not provide much customization but makes it easy for the client to start using it immediately, without development costs and time. Examples of SaaS include Microsoft Word and Microsoft Teams.
Businesses are turning to different types of cloud computing services because of cost, speed, productivity, performance, reliability, and security. Having cloud eliminates the cost of purchasing hardware as well as the stress of managing infrastructure. Most cloud services are set up as on-demand and self-service, which offers fast access to resources. Using enterprise-grade hardware means that the technology experience is enhanced due to quality hardware performance. Cloud is reliable because it makes data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity seamless and less expensive. Finally, with its state-of-the-art security, the cloud becomes the prime choice because it offers a vast set of policies, technologies, and controls the safety of your data, apps, and infrastructure.
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