In layman’s terms, cloud computing pertains to servers hosted on the Internet that exclusively allows all kinds of data including text and media files, to be stored, managed, processed and shared digitally.
All of this is carried in a manner that ensures optimum security and since this server exists on the Internet, you do not have to worry about losing your data, in comparison to data stored on a hard drive. This digital transformation is taking the entire tech industry by storm and is being used on a global scale.
Okay, we know the above definition only leaves you more curious about what cloud computing really is, so we have compiled a list of factors that will help clarify any ambiguity revolving around this virtual data holding system.
The three types of Cloud Computing
All cloud computing services are based on either of the three models: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). IaaS is the most scalable type of cloud computing software, and most public platforms including Amazon Web Services, Rackspace and IBM Cloud fall under this category.
Clients who have the capacity of purchasing resources, will be given complete control in terms of OS and runtime. Most clients will invest in additional resources if they are aiming to expand their enterprise. This type is best suited for businesses who want to keep all processes under their sight at all times and take full responsibility for them.
On the other hand, PaaS is more restricted when it comes to client control but this model is capable of integrating your applications, web services and databases. This integration process can be developed further with a wide variety of in-built tools that are offered with the platform.
Aspects like Middleware, Storage and Networking are still managed by the enterprise behind the PaaS system. Some popular platforms utilizing this system are Apache Stratos, OpenShift and AWS Elastic Beanstalk. These companies are using the power of this technology to create customized applications which do not require a high level of maintenance.
Finally, we have SaaS this platform exists virtually on all the web browsers and applications. SaaS does not need to be downloaded or installed to be operated and this cloud computing platform boasts a user friendly interface.
Every process including applications development, data management and server handling are under the control of the third-party running the service. This is exactly why this system is considered to be the most convenient and accessible type of cloud computing both for businesses and consumers alike. Their popularity is apparent with platforms like Google Drive, and Salesforce.
Geography of cloud computing
At the end of the day, all the intricacies and powerful functionality of the cloud service would not be possible without the bulky and expansive data centres that are present throughout the world. The increasingly convenient and streamlined virtual system is only made possible by its physical counterpart in the real world. These data centres are divided according to different regions and then further by Availability Zones (AZ).
All of the cloud computing giants including Amazon, Google and Microsoft have isolated regions that vary according to the platform itself but examples for general ones include US East, US West, EU London and Asia Pacific Mumbai.
These geographic regions and their AZs are a safe distance away from each other so a natural disaster like an earthquake would not bring all systems offline, ensuring that the integrity of the entire network cannot be compromised. Each AZ has its own power bank, internet connections, coolants and other resources which ensure seamless operation.
The financial aspects
Due to the rising utility and significance of cloud computing, the market is more competitive than ever. The competitive nature of the market has had a direct impact on production costs as both fixed and variable costs have been reduced considerably over the years. For instance, Google Cloud Platform (GCP)’s specific models showed a reduction of 46% in the initial costs as of January 2018 compared to the previous three years.
Coupled with the low costs, the high ROIs certainly make establishing a cloud computing a worthwhile venture. At the end of June 2018, Microsoft shared the statistics which reflect the revenue generated from its cloud service and it stood at a staggering $6.9 billion, with Amazon not so far behind with $6.1 billion. Moreover, by 2020, Amazon’s AWS is expected to garner $44 billion in revenue, hence it is safe to say that cloud computing will continue to be a lucrative investment in the near future.
Security matters involved
Clients should consider differentiating between private and public cloud services. The former is generally considered to be more secure, as even the CIA stores its data on private AWS cloud servers.
With that being said, the public cloud services focus on maintaining secure frameworks, verification and authentication systems to ensure optimum security. However, this complicated cloud technology is not without its challenges as threats like security breaches, downtime and lack of transparency is eminent.
Furthermore, the Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are not entirely secure at all stages of the process. IBM reported back in 2017 that security breaches till that year were equivalent to $3.62 billion in value. Public services provide very limited control for their clients especially when it comes to managing their stored data. Furthermore, the fact that many other clients will be sharing the same platform, makes the whole system quite susceptible to potential hacks and data breaches.
It’s safe to say, the security aspect of Cloud Computing still has a lot to prove and these systems can be described as a work-in-progress, especially when it comes to public cloud platforms. This is the paramount reason why many clients are now adopting a hybrid platform instead.
Hybrid cloud computing
Hybrid cloud computing operates using a mix of both public and private models, a hybrid cloud platform strives for a more secure, stable, cost effective and flexible cloud computing service. The survey hosted by Tech Pro Research back in 2017 displayed that about 32% of the firms were looking to incorporate hybrid cloud tech in their company while 36% are already using this platform.
Potentially, a client may benefit from using hybrid services by using public cloud platforms for high workloads and for data that does not require high security protocols. Meanwhile, concurrently these clients can use private platforms for higher priority, low-workload oriented tasks which require critically high security measures and operation speed. This perfect blend of both types of cloud computing platforms will allow the clients to accommodate their budget efficiently and in a cost-effective manner.
Cloud computing is an environment friendly, efficient and cost effective method of storing data, both for the company hosting the server and the client who invests in these services. Cloud computing systems boast a user friendly interface and expansive tools to help clients develop various applications.
This virtual system has an array of advantages which cannot be over looked. However, there are still numerous security concerns present which service providers are still trying to rectify. Another aspect which is currently being prioritized is the feasibility of these cloud based services.