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What is cloud computing? In the simplest terms, cloud computing is accessing and storing data and programs on-demand through the internet instead of on your computer’s local hard drive. It gives users the ability to share pools of storage, networks, servers, and applications. Almost everyone has used a cloud application some mainstream examples include Gmail, Facebook, online gaming, and Netflix.
Although the term “cloud” gives cloud computing a vague and mysterious connotation, it still uses the same physical infrastructure that forms the backbone of any computer network. The difference is that cloud architecture makes the processing power and storage capacity of that hardware available over the internet. But what does this mean? To many people, the concept of the internet tends to be either invisible wi-fi or an untouchable cloud. But the main brick and mortar of the internet include an extensive amount of cable and electrical lines, internet exchange points, switches, and routers. Internet exchange points are physical locations, usually at the ‘edge of a network,’ that connect two different networks to allow the exchange of traffic via a switch. Anything that happens on the internet occurs within these cables and switches.
Cloud infrastructure refers to the hardware and software components such as servers, storage, a network, virtualization software, services, and management tools. These virtualized resources are hosted by a service provider or IT department and are delivered to users over a network or the internet, allowing users to live/game/work in the same virtual space or server with immediate updates. These resources include virtual machines and components, such as servers, memory, network switches, firewalls, load balancers and storage. None of the data in the cloud is on your computer's local hard drive unless you download it yourself, which will separate the data from being viewable by other users.
Interested in learning more about technology and how things work? Check out our array of technology-focused continuing education courses.
Gone is the day of businesses owning and running their own data centre, most have switched over to a cloud computing services. While this is not as secure, it is more efficient and cost effective. Learn best online security practices with Cybersecurity courses to protect your business from a cyber-threat. There are three main types of cloud computing services, they include:
IaaS is the most comprehensive and flexible type of cloud computing service. An IaaS provider manages the physical end of the infrastructure (servers, data storage space) in a data centre, but allows customers to fully customize those virtualized resources to suit their specific needs. It is a great option for small companies and startups that do not have the resources to purchase the hardware and software needed to create their own network internally. Examples of IaaS include Google Compute Engine and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Companies that use these services need professionals with vendor-specific certification, such as AWS certification, to maintain their cloud infrastructures.
PaaS is more specialized, along with the infrastructure, it also provides the framework needed to build, test, deploy, manage, and update software products. PaaS is extremely helpful for any company that develops software and web-based applications. Examples of Paas include Microsoft Azure and Apache Stratos. These companies need professionals with vendor-specific certification, such as Azure certification, to build and maintain the cloud’s framework.
The service familiar to most people would be SaaS. It is subscription-based software where everything is maintained by the provider and runs directly through a web browser. Many schools and companies use this to allow their students and employees access to enterprise suite applications, direct data sharing and collaboration, and direct messaging. These services include Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox, Google Apps, Salesforce, and many more.
No matter the type of cloud computing service used, the main benefit is that the company does not have to purchase or maintain their own computing infrastructure. Other benefits include:
Learn more about the basics of cloud computing by taking a cloud computing course through Ashton College.
Want to learn more about cloud computing? Check out What is Azure Quantum and What Does it Mean for Cloud Computing?
The information contained in this post is considered true and accurate as of the publication date. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog