What is Cloud Computing?
The cloud computing model consists of access to a shared and configurable pool of resources, including servers, networks, storage, applications, and services to achieve scalability and coherence. Also known as on-demand computing, cloud computing services allow large-scale enterprises and users to store data in third-party centers. Enterprises can scale up or down as computing requirements change.
Cloud computing has grown significantly due to inexpensive cost of services, greater computing capabilities, and higher scalability and performance. The growth rate for cloud vendors is currently 50% per year.
Cloud computing models: Public, Private, or Hybrid
The public cloud occurs in a cloud computing model that is shared within a multi-tenant environment and delivered by a third-party provider across the Internet. Public cloud services are delivered over a network that is available for public use. Sold on-demand, public cloud customers pay solely for the resources they consume. Leaders in the public cloud sphere include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and IBM SoftLayer.
Security is a key differentiator between the public and private cloud. The on-premises private cloud allows users to maintain security and control over enterprise infrastructure, in order to prevent loss of data and security breaches. The private cloud model delivers services from an enterprise’s data center to the users, offering greater versatility and control. However, the private cloud also requires far more resources, greater capital in the form of a greater allocation of hardware and storage space, and more hands-on management.
The hybrid cloud is comprised of automated processes within both public and private clouds. Enterprises use the public cloud for robust workloads, while using the private cloud for imperative workloads. The hybrid cloud aims to create a scalable and automated infrastructure, which offers the benefits of a public cloud while retaining control over sensitive data.
Cloud computing has further been segmented within three service categories. These include infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS).
An IaaS provider offers a virtual-based storage network that allows users to transfer workloads to a virtual machine (VM). IaaS providers supply various instances that meet workload computing demands.
The PaaS model provides development tools across an enterprise and allows users to access these tools through APIs, web portals, and gateway software. PaaS providers include Salesforce.com’s Force.com, Amazon Elastic Beanstalk, and Google App Engine.
The SaaS model, often referred to as Web services, is a distribution model that provides users access to services and applications over the internet from any location. Microsoft Office 365 is a SaaS model for cloud-based email services.
Cloud computing offers further benefits for enterprises and users alike, including:
- Pay-per-use: Users pay for workloads and resources they utilize in a pay-as-you-go model.
- Elasticity: Enterprises have greater scalability and can scale up or down depending on the rise and fall of demand.
- Self-service provisioning: Users can adjust computing resources depending on the type of workload.
High performance, inexpensive service costs, scalability, and high computing power have led more industries to turn to cloud technology as a cost-efficient way to optimize enterprise operations.
- “Cloud Computing,” Wikipedia (2016), accessed February 21, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing
- Rouse, Margaret, “Cloud Computing” Tech Target (2015), accessed February 17, 2016. http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/definition/cloud-computing
- “Private vs Public Cloud Computing,” Online Tech, accessed February 17, 2016. http://www.onlinetech.com/resources/references/public-vs-private-cloud-computing