Cloud Computing – A Brief Description.

Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer services like data storage, application migration, etc. based on the “pay-as-you-go” model. Instead of saving and recording file/s in hard drives or manually handled registers, cloud-based storage facilitates to save them to a remote database for lifelong.

Cloud computing gains popularity for screening and gathering data for fireballs, intrusion identification, counteractive action framework, etc. and rewarding cost savings, increased productivity, performance, efficiency, and security.

The availability of cloud-based services is limited to private cloud (single customer based) and public cloud (shared with multiple customers).

Cloud computing in layman language is a virtual storage platform which means the accessed information are found remotely in the cloud or virtual space.

History of cloud

It is believed that Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider has invented cloud computing in 1960s with his work on ARPANET to connect people and data from anywhere.

In 1983, CompuServe provides small storage (disc space) to its consumer users to stores files and data.

In 1994, AT&T launches PersonaLink Services, an online or first web-based storage platform for personal, business communication, and entrepreneurship.

In 2006, Amazon Web Services introduces their cloud storage AWS S3 followed by Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) which has gained widespread recognition.

In 2008, Google releases it’s the beta version of Google App Engine.

In 2010, Microsoft launches Microsoft Azure.

In July 2010, Nasa and Rackspace Hosting jointly launch OpenStack – an open-source cloud software.

In 2011, IBM comes with IBM SmartCloud and in 2012, Oracle announces their cloud – Oracle Cloud which aims to provide users with the access to IT solutions including Saas (software as a service), Paas (Platform as a service), and Iaas (Infrastructure as a service).

Cloud Services

Cloud service model arranged in a stack

Iaas (Infrastructure as a Service) – It offers a fundamental infrastructure for virtual servers, operating systems, networks, and storage on demand. It encourages clients to avoid purchasing software, hardware, and servers at the office, but to avail these services in an outsourced service which allows flexibility, scalability, and reliability to the business. IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure are among the popular examples for this cloud service.

Paas (Platform as a service) – Paas is mainly used for applications and provides cloud components to certain software. It develops a framework where a business can develop and run their own applications, and also provides ease in the creation of web applications. This platform is delivered via the internet, and allows developers to reduce dwelling on operating systems, software updates, storage, or infrastructure, and encourages them to building the software. Salesforce.com and Heroku are one of the popular Paas providers.

Saas (Software as a service) – Saas is also known as cloud as a service. Saas offers deployment of software managed by third-party vendors to its users over the internet. It does not require downloads or installations from the user side as it runs directly through the web. Saas manages various technical issues like data storage, middleware, servers, streamlined maintenance, and so on, and can be managed from a central location. Microsoft Office 365 is one of the popular examples.

Advantages of cloud

Cost savings – Cloud computing helps in reduction in hardware cost. It saves the cost of purchasing in-house equipment which results in hardware to be owned by vendors. It also reduces the maintenance and labour cost as there is less demand in in-house labour because of the hardware being owned by vendors and remotely located.

Data Security – Cloud offers many securities to protect client’s data and provides surety of no breach in data. In cloud computing security, the data first goes to the cloud instead of passing directly through the server and is transmitted to the authorized user before directly reaching the server. This blocks the unwanted data and maintains data integrity and security.

Backup and data restoration – It is easier to get the back-up and data recovery once it is stored in the cloud and thus it saves time.

Mobility – The user working remotely can easily access all the cloud services anytime.

Competitive edge – Only a few far-sighted visionary companies have migrated to the cloud. Such organisations are benefitted positively from the use of cloud services.

Disadvantages of Cloud

Data confidentiality – There is always a risk of data security and data privacy on purchasing any web-based services. Cloud Computing is also among them because all components and solutions are online and the internet-based.   

Network connection – The Internet is the main tool for cloud computing and its services or solutions. The internet speed determines the cloud performance, the better the network connection better the services.

Vulnerability to attack – Every components and service are online in cloud computing which makes them subject to possible threats and vulnerabilities. Even the best cloud service providers can not stay away from such threats but can reduce their possibilities.

Cost inefficient – Cloud-based services can be expensive if acquired for a shorter duration and on a small scale.

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