Updated: Jun 6, 2022
Cloud computing is the latest innovation/solution in the field of IT which enables companies to lease the computing power for any business or task that requires high-end processing power which another side is very expensive or difficult to arrange for any short-term need or any business is in an evolutionary stage.
The article will give an insight into cloud computing and its role in modernizing IT infrastructure for enterprises at a very low cost. The understanding will help in making an informed decision regarding the incorporation of cloud computing.
What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud Computing is a rather self-explanatory term for anyone even remotely familiar with recent technology, yet people often overlook how deep it actually does and how much today’s businesses are dependent on this service.
In simple terms, Cloud Computing is a form of technology that delivers Computing services like storage, databases, servers, software, and even intelligence over the internet, hence the Cloud.
The availability of Cloud services has had a massive impact on the rate of innovation in modern times.
How Does The Cloud Work?
Cloud Computing can quite simply be categorized as a service that allows companies to rent access to utilities like massive storage spaces, and applications for specialized tasks.
It allows companies and data centers to completely ignore the upfront costs of first owning and then maintaining their own IT infrastructure. This gives companies the option to pay for exactly what they use, whenever they need it.
Cloud Computing provides any and every service in today’s market which does not exactly require you to be in close proximity to the system, even that limitation might be overcome now.
Types of Cloud Services
Cloud Services have been categorized into the following three basic categories for ease of understanding.
A Public cloud is exactly what comes to mind when people think about cloud computing. It is the most widely used and understood option present where all the services and the necessary infrastructure is managed offsite and is accessed over the internet.
The advantage of using such services is the increase in efficiency and the reduction in cost. Users pay only for what they need and utilize making this option cheaper than its more privatized counterparts.
A Private Cloud provides its services to select users, normally only one tenant, over the internet. This option has a very high level of data security as everything it holds is kept behind strict firewalls, accessible to only a select few.
It offers unparalleled levels of customizability and security at the more premium price it demands.
This option is preferred by organizations since there is usually only one tenant utilizing the onsite or offsite cloud service that offers them much granular control over it.
The Hybrid cloud is exactly what it sounds like, it combines various properties of both the public cloud and the private cloud services.
This option is becoming more and more popular as the clouds in this environment have the ability to operate independently over encrypted connections. The flexibility it offers is highly coveted by multiple organizations.
Evolution of Cloud Technology
A look at the Past
Cloud Computing is a concept that has existed in spirit for a very long time.
Ever since the 1960s, there have existed establishments that would rent mainframes to companies on a timely basis, allowing them to utilize the power of a “computer” without having to buy one.
These services were made obsolete by the sudden wave of technology being made more accessible. This meant that now owning a PC was cheaper than renting one.
Yet, it’s never become entirely irrelevant, coming back in the late 1990s under different names and later, in the 2000s, defining itself as Cloud Computing. The setting up of a specific industry with a lot of demand led to the emergence of Cloud Computing providers like Amazon Web Services.
Heralding a much-needed Change
Today’s IT industry has already had a major shift to cloud infrastructure. A significant part of the global TI expenditure now goes to the support of Cloud Computing. So much of the corporate expenditure that previously went to traditional in-house IT development has now shifted to the cloud as the workloads themselves move to the cloud irrespective of whether it is a service offered by companies out there or something developed in-house.
This shift saw a steady rise due to the pandemic in 2020 and continued to move up in 2021 as businesses were forced to operate remotely. It showcased the fragility of the work pipeline as the pandemic made it impossible to work on-site. This also bolstered the importance of remote access technologies. All the fingers were pointing towards Cloud Computing and the tech was more than ready to take it up.
The technology continues to grow in scale, revenue and consequence. It is projected to keep growing at its state but there also seems to be a new opportunity right around the corner to integrate itself.
This opportunity comes in the guise of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality with the Metaverse being the primary driver of innovation here providing a great platform for Cloud services to take up the mantle.
Popular Service Models
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service (SaaS), once again, is a service with offerings that are a step above the previous tier. Here, we have entire applications that are being provided over the cloud. This is a form of cloud computing that the general public is most familiar with and makes use of on a regular basis.
In this service, the overarching operating system or the hardware that is supplying this service is of no consequence to the end-user except in certain special cases like crashes.
It holds the largest piece of cake in the overall expenditure on cloud computing due to the sheer variety it offers. While it is projected that the entirety of the cloud computing industry will keep growing at a tremendous pace, IaaS and PaaS would be showcasing surprisingly rapid growth.
Software as a Service is so popular due to its simplicity and the Enterprise Applications it offers. A very widespread example of this is Zoom. It simply provides a platform for video conferencing remotely via cloud tech. A simple solution that caught on with mainstream trends thanks to favorable market conditions and a sudden demand for similar technology. Cloud Computing, like most technologies of its scale, is being offered in different formats. Each format focuses on its own specific points of expertise and user segments it wants to cater to. Here are three of the most used ones in the industry.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) refers to the fundamental aspect of the computing system that is tangible and can be rented out. Some examples are physical and virtual servers, storage, and networking options.
This option is of great interest to companies that wish to build their own infrastructure from nearly the ground up and have modular controls over each of the elements. The perquisites for the use of this service are to have the technical skills to be able to build and manage systems of that complexity.
IaaS provides a good use case for Big Data since it has the power to handle massive amounts of data and permits integration with intelligent business tools.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a service that is quite simply, one step up from its previous offering. This service includes the tools that developers and creators require to build their own proprietary software and applications.
Offerings here include database management, developer tools, and operating systems.
Multi-cloud is a model of cloud computing where an organization utilizes a combination of clouds. The clouds could be two or more public clouds, two or more private clouds, or a combination of public, private, and edge clouds to distribute applications and services.
The concept of multi-cloud exists to provide agility and flexibility to companies who decide to deploy whichever service suits their application or service the best in the given scenario.
This also prevents them from getting locked in with a specific vendor which would greatly limit their use cases and would drive the costs extremely high.
Cloud Computing In Smart Cities
It has been projected that by 2045, about 6 billion people would be living in smart cities. This is not only a nod to the progress that we collectively are in the process of making but also a shout-out to all the technologies that are actively making all of this possible.
With the sheer volume of data that these smart cities will be generating that conventional means of storage will not be able to cut it anymore. This is where cloud computing steps in. It exists to provide a significant amount of computing power which will be necessary for storing and processing the generated and collected data.
The analysis and induction of this data are what would make a city and in turn a nation into a truly Smart City and a true Digital Nation.
Benefits – The Silver Lining
The specific benefits will vary according to the use case and the service being employed.
Companies utilizing them will not have to spend on building and maintaining their computing infrastructure.
The company in question does not have to deal with the hassle of building and maintaining the servers.
Updating the hardware and the software is also something that would is directly taken care of by the supplier.
This opens the path for multiple start-ups that let’s say, plan to handle a lot of data on a regular basis, here, rather than looking for a person with appropriate experience and skill, they could just rely on the service.
Cloud also permits multiple projects to run at a much faster pace. The ability to remotely access data from any place, anytime gives multiple companies the power to get through things quickly and start testing prototypes much faster.
Cloud Computing is often wrongly considered to be much cheaper than its alternatives.
Data security, although not a prevalent issue, is an issue that certain companies are very particular about. Especially since Cloud Computing is primarily a service, many companies could be sharing data with the same service provider, using the same applications as their business rivals. This issue might not be plaguing every company that utilizes cloud but a solution for this is to make use of the multi-cloud which easily allows you to not keep all your eggs in one basket.
Starting and utilizing a new cloud service is an easy and painless process but it is completely turned upside down when you have to migrate data from one service to another. The process can be extremely time-consuming and expensive. You may have to take the help of an IT agency or an expert.
Then we have another glaring issue, you can only access your data if and when you have an active internet connection.
Cloud Computing is an industry that will keep growing as time goes on and companies adjust more to this relatively new and novel concept.
With this tech being heralded as the new bastion for innovation and transformation, companies are now not just able to but actively re-evaluate their business plans and processes to bring about a robust change in the way the business is done.
It is an expansive change that we can see take place right before our eyes. Like many revolutions of the past, it brings about a drastic change in the way things will be done. Cloud Computing is one that will offer us returns for a far longer time than what we might anticipate.