Cloud computing has a been a buzzword in recent years and to speak honestly, it has gained enough popularity and stature. I know you must be having an idea of what cloud computing is all about but for the sake of refreshing your mind, we shall go over it again. Cloud computing is not a new concept after all. It is all about centralization of computer resources by moving the traditional on-premise server room to a centralized location where your services will run and scale better.
A scenario goes like this. Let us say you are a company that has an IT department that manages all of the company servers and applications running within them. You manage the User Access rights, the network, the power, the hardware, the services running and basically everything with your IT team. This can be a headache for a company that offers services completely off the scope of technology. So what should they do? This is where Cloud computing claims to come to help with a fantastic solution.
A Cloud provider will convince you as a company to take away your IT pain by taking the servers, the hardware, the network maintenance, and the power maintenance to their custody.
The cloud provider has powerful machines that has the capability of hosting the services the company runs on their platform and they will be able to access and modify them just like the way they used to before. The only difference is that the server room is no longer within their premises and the costs involved in managing it will significantly reduce. The IT team within the company will now focus on the business side and business sense instead of managing the server room and all of the accessories within it as it was done previously.
The cloud provider on the other end is poised to manage several of such scenarios but must be well prepared to attend to them with all expertise and care. So what does the cloud provider have? You may ask. Well, the cloud provider has powerful servers located in a conducive remote environment which have the capability of hosting the IT resources of an interested party. Just for your extra knowledge, the conducive environment has the following desirable features:
- Server safety
- High-speed reliable internet connection
- Continuous availability of power
- Physical Security
The environment may be a rented data-center or privately owned by the provider. The data-center has everything that ensures high availability of IT resources as listed above.
Services offered by a cloud provider
Once the infrastructure (hardware and network) is set up, the question that is most probably going to bug the provider is what to do with them. This is the point where innovative products are developed to meet the need of the clients willing to subscribe.
As you may already have heard, there are services such as Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS), Software as a service (SaaS) and others.
Infrastructure as a service(IaaS)
Infrastructure as a service entails subscribing to the use of hardware or Virtual machines and paid according to the pricing plans the provider has decided to choose. It can be monthly annually or anything else.
Platform as a service(PaaS)
This service is more developer-oriented. This is because it provides an environment where customized applications can be developed in a hosted environment.
Software as a service(SaaS)
This product provides a platform where software applications can be used remotely via a web interface. The applications and data used by the application are hosted in the cloud and can thus be accessed from anywhere around the globe as long as there is internet connectivity by the client trying to access such services.
The cloud-hosted software takes away the hassle which comes with installations and maintenance of such software. The clients simply enjoy the services and pay an affordable monthly or annual fee.
There are other subtle solutions that a cloud provider can decide to invest in but most of them are usually covered in the three main branches briefly introduced above. We will be looking at more details about cloud computing in this series and we hope it will be a wonderful experience.