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What is Cloud
What is Cloud services / cloud computing?
Types of cloud services / computing
Some functions of cloud services / computing
Benefits of cloud services / computing
Digitalization which is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities as well as Computerization which involves the process of taking activities or tasks not previously done on the computer and shifting them to being done on the computer is now the order of the day. Example, shifting from keeping patient records on paper to keeping patient records in the computer is an example of computerization; is the process of moving to a digital business as it increases legibility, accuracy, space, speed and efficiency. This is now achievable globally working with virtual mechanisms where one can have a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols. This is the underlining concept behind of cloud.
What is cloud
Cloud is a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet and used to store, manage, and process data in place of local servers or personal computers. These servers are accessed over the Internet, and the software and databases that run on those servers. Simply put, the cloud is the Internet—more specifically, it’s all of the things you can access remotely over the Internet. When something is in the cloud, it means it’s stored on Internet servers instead of your computer’s hard drive.
What is Cloud services / cloud computing?
The term “cloud services” which is also known as “cloud computing” refers to a wide range of services delivered on demand to companies and customers over the internet. These services are designed to provide easy, affordable access to applications and resources, without the need for internal infrastructure or hardware.
Cloud computing can be also defined as the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. In cloud services/computing one typically pay only for cloud services which one uses, helping users lower your operating costs, run their infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as their business needs change.
It facilitates the flow of user data from front-end clients (e.g. users’ servers, tablets, desktops, laptops—any hardware on the users’ ends), through the internet, to the provider’s systems, and back. Users can access cloud services with nothing more than a computer, an operating system, and a network connection to the internet.
Cloud services are infrastructure, platforms, or software that are hosted by third-party providers and made available to users through the internet and as such has four types or categories which are; Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS), Serverless, and Software as a service (SaaS). These four categories of cloud computing follow three architectures known as cloud computing architectures.
Cloud computing architecture
This refers to the structural framework on which a cloud services or computing is placed. It could be seen as the prima or basic structural categorization of cloud computing or ways to deploy cloud services.
Types of cloud computing architectures.
Not all clouds are the same and not one type of cloud computing is right for everyone. Several different models, types, and services have evolved to help offer the right solution for your needs. First, you need to determine the type of cloud deployment, or cloud computing architecture, that your cloud services will be implemented on. There are three different ways to deploy cloud services: on a public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud.
Public clouds are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider, which deliver their computing resources, like servers and storage, over the Internet. Microsoft Azure is an example of a public cloud. With a public cloud, all hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider. You access these services and manage your account using a web browser.
A private cloud refers to cloud computing resources used exclusively by a single business or organization. A private cloud can be physically located on the company’s on-site datacenter. Some companies also pay third-party service providers to host their private cloud. A private cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network.
Hybrid clouds combine public and private clouds, bound together by technology that allows data and applications to be shared between them. By allowing data and applications to move between private and public clouds, a hybrid cloud gives your business greater flexibility, more deployment options, and helps optimize your existing infrastructure, security, and compliance.
Types of cloud services / computing
- Conventionally speaking, there are four basic types of cloud services:
- Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Serverless and Platform as a service (PaaS);
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a service, or IaaS, provides the infrastructure that many cloud service providers need to manage SaaS tools—but don’t want to maintain themselves. It serves as the complete data center framework, eliminating the need for resource-intensive and on-site installations. It cloud be considered to be they basic element in cloud services / computing depends and runs on. With IaaS, you rent IT infrastructure—servers and virtual machines (VMs), storage, networks, operating systems—from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis. When supplying users with a could infrastructure, cloud services providers detach computing capabilities from hardware components, such as separating:
- Processing power from central processing units (CPUs)
- Active memory from random access memory (RAM) chips
- Graphics processing from the graphics processing units (GPUs)
- Data storage availability from disk drives or flash drives
This abstraction is typically accomplished through virtualization. Once separated, the storage, compute, and networking components are provided to users through the internet as infrastructure—or IaaS. This kind of cloud service has led to the rise of cloud storage, which stores big data as part of the Internet of Things (IOT). RackSpace is a great example of an IaaS provider. Other examples of IaaS are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine. These providers maintain all storage servers and networking hardware, and may also offer load balancing, application firewalls and more. Many well-known SaaS providers run on IaaS platforms.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
The cloud service model known as platform as a service, or PaaS, serves as a web-based environment where developers can build cloud apps. PaaS provides a database, operating system and programming language that organizations can use to develop cloud-based software, without having to maintain the underlying elements.
It is a cloud computing services that supply an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering, and managing software applications. PaaS is designed to make it easier for developers to quickly create web or mobile apps, without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network, and databases needed for development. Many IaaS vendors, including the examples listed above, also offer PaaS capabilities.
Building a cloud platform requires more than just abstracting a computer’s capabilities from its hardware components—like when providing cloud infrastructure. Providing a cloud platform requires additional levels of development to incorporate technologies like containerization, orchestration, application programming interfaces (APIs), routing, security, management, and automation. User experience design (UX) is also an important consideration in order to create a navigable online experience.
Cloud platforms are a type of PaaS. And if the infrastructural components holding up the PaaS are highly scalable and sharable, it might be considered a cloud. The best examples of PaaS clouds include public clouds and managed private clouds.
Overlapping with PaaS, serverless computing focuses on building app functionality without spending time continually managing the servers and infrastructure required to do so. The cloud provider handles the setup, capacity planning, and server management for you. Serverless architectures are highly scalable and event-driven, only using resources when a specific function or trigger occurs.
FaaS, an event-driven execution model, lets developers build, run, and manage app packages as functions without maintaining the infrastructure.
Create cloud-native applications
Quickly build, deploy, and scale applications—web, mobile, and API. Take advantage of cloud-native technologies and approaches, such as containers, Kubernetes, microservices architecture, API-driven communication, and DevOps.
Test and build applications
Reduce application development cost and time by using cloud infrastructures that can easily be scaled up or down.
Store, back up, and recover data
Protect your data more cost-efficiently—and at massive scale—by transferring your data over the Internet to an offsite cloud storage system that’s accessible from any location and any device.
Unify your data across teams, divisions, and locations in the cloud. Then use cloud services, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, to uncover insights for more informed decisions.
Stream audio and video
Connect with your audience anywhere, anytime, on any device with high-definition video and audio with global distribution.
Use intelligent models to help engage customers and provide valuable insights from the data captured.
Deliver software on demand
Also known as software as a service (SaaS), on-demand software lets you offer the latest software versions and updates around to customers—anytime they need, anywhere they are.
How do cloud services work?
Cloud services are fully managed by cloud computing vendors and service providers. They’re made available to customers from the providers’ servers, so there’s no need for a company to host the applications on its own on-premises servers.
What are the benefits of cloud services?
Key advantages of using cloud services include:
The ability to scale
Because the cloud service provider supplies all necessary infrastructure and software, there’s no need for a company to invest in its own resources or allocate extra IT staff to manage the service. This, in turn, makes it easy for the business to scale the solution as user needs change—whether that means increasing the number of licenses to accommodate a growing workforce or expanding and enhancing the applications themselves.
Many cloud services are provided on a monthly or annual subscription basis, eliminating the need to pay for on-premises software licenses. This allows organizations to access software, storage and other services without having to invest in the underlying infrastructure or handle maintenance and upgrades.
With cloud services, companies can procure services on an on-demand, as-needed basis. If and when there’s no longer a need for a particular application or platform, the business can simply cancel the subscription or shut down the service.
How are cloud services delivered? / How to choose a cloud provider
When deciding how to leverage cloud services, organizations must also decide which type of environment works best for the business: public cloud, private cloud or a mix of both.
Public cloud services
Services that a provider makes available to numerous customers over the web are referred to as public cloud services. The SaaS, IaaS and PaaS examples noted above are all providing public cloud-based services. The biggest benefit of using public cloud services is the ability to share resources at scale, allowing organizations to offer employees more capabilities than would likely be possible alone.
Private cloud services
Services that a provider does not make generally available to corporate users or subscribers are referred to as private cloud services. With a private cloud services model, apps and data are made available through the organization’s own internal infrastructure. The platform and software serve one company alone, and are not made available to external users. Companies that work with highly sensitive data, such as those in the healthcare and banking industries, often use private clouds to leverage advanced security protocols and extend resources in a virtualized environment as needed.
In a hybrid cloud environment, a private cloud solution is combined with public cloud services. This arrangement is often used when an organization needs to store sensitive data in the private cloud, but wants employees to access apps and resources in the public cloud for day-to-day communication and collaboration. Proprietary software is used to enable communication between the cloud services, often through a single IT management console.
What’s the future of cloud services?
As the availability of cloud services continues to expand, so will their applications in the corporate world. Whether a company chooses to extend existing on-premises software deployments or move 100% to the cloud, these services will continue to simplify how organizations deliver mission-critical apps and data to the workforce. From content collaboration and access control for employees to app delivery management and virtual desktop solutions for IT, plus a vast array of options in between, cloud services are transforming how people work and the ways businesses operate.
Microsoft and cloud computing
Microsoft is a leading global provider of cloud computing services for businesses of all sizes. To learn more about the Microsoft cloud platform, our Kubernetes on Azure offering, our serverless application platform, and how Microsoft Azure compares to other cloud providers, see What is Azure? and Azure vs. AWS.