What is Cloud Computing

Most of the organizations, be it top corporations or unicorns or enablement service providers, are either on cloud already or actively pursuing in migrating to cloud. But what exactly is cloud? Where are the services actually residing when we say cloud? The most apt image that sums up cloud computing is the below

Confused more? Let’s looks at everything about cloud computing in the blog.

Let’s consider this scenario – you own a gaming application and the whole world wants to play the game. What all you need to run this gaming application? Few things – need a bunch of servers, lots of storage, Database to store the game data, whole suite of network services, services to enable push notifications to the users, Security services to safeguard user data, identify federation services so that users can login to the game via services like Google, Facebook, Amazon etc. And to run all the above you need a big datacenter or rent space from datacenter providers.

In the above scenario, you have the overhead to manage all the services and need lot of cost upfront. What if you don’t need a datacenter? You can spin up servers on demand in matter of minutes and all other services that you can start and stop at your convenience? And more importantly, you pay for the services that you use to the tune of seconds of usage? Sounds interesting? That’s cloud computing for you.

Cloud computing provides on-demand services of all IT needs of the organization that can be accessed and controlled over Internet. The users don’t need to worry about the underlying hardware and datacenter. Usually, the users won’t even realize that the datacenter could be in next block! Traditionally if one needs to host an application which is used globally, time taken to get a server from vendor to datacenter would be anywhere between 14 days to 90 days. Cloud is a revolutionary concept where one could start a server in a matter of minutes – usually 5-15 minutes! If the application is a hit and one needs to upgrade the server configuration, upgrade needs time and financial effort. With cloud, one can just stop the existing instance and spin up new one with the required config in minutes – all this on on-demand pricing model!

With time, cloud providers have become more novel. The providers are no longer traditional that provides just the infrastructure. All major providers today has all the needed, modern-day services that would go hand-in-hand with the application services. IoT, Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Quantum computing – you name it, and the providers have the corresponding services.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

  • Cost Advantage
    • With most of the services that are on-demand and pay plans to the tune of pay per second model, the biggest advantage is the cost!
    • Near zero Opex – one doesn’t need to spend anything upfront. Procurement of hardware, provisioning of services, building and maintaining space are all things of the past!
  • Elasticity & Efficiency
    • Scaling of resources on cloud is very straight forward and easy. Most of the upscaling and downscaling of resources can be orchestrated automatically provided the requirements are clear
    • Taking advantage of the automatic scaling, resources can be utilized to the best of its abilities
  • Unlimited Storage
    • With all the cloud providers, storage is virtually unlimited
  • Agility
    • With all the services available on-demand, time to market on any services are improved vastly with cloud services
  • Global reach
    • With cloud management over the internet, one can take advantage of the global presence of the service providers and spin up services across the globe
  • Business Continuity
    • With multiple datacenters available across the globe for each cloud service provider, disaster recover / high availability is available with cost advantage

Type of Cloud offerings

Cloud Service Models

With the cloud advantage, an organization has multiple cloud service models at its disposal. Let’s look at three major models. There are other models like FaaS (Function as a Service) and DaaS (Desktop as a Service), but the three listed below are the major ones

  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
    • In this model, the compute resources are started/stopped based on the requirement and the organization has full control of the resources like updates, patches, image files etc
    • Maintenance of the underlying hardware is managed by the cloud service provider
  • PaaS (Platform as a Service)
    • In this model, the organization needs to focus of the application code, deploying the same.
    • All the underlying resources for the application are managed and operated by the service provider. The organization doesn’t get access to the underlying resources
  • SaaS (Software as a Service)
    • The end product is ready for the users and is operated by the service provider
    • Example – Office 365

I hope this blog was useful. Please contact us if you have any questions or feedback on the article. Thanks for your time.

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