What Is Cloud Computing?

2011-07-05by EladDomb

By now most of us have heard the catch phrase "the Cloud" whether it is the actual concept of cloud computing or the branded iteration from retailers such as Microsoft's "The Cloud." Everyone is eager to know what exactly is cloud computing and how it can benefit the user in enhancing their business productivity.

The term "cloud computing" comes from the cloud symbol that is often used in flowcharts for representing the Internet. Cloud computing can be described as a kind of Internet service where shared servers provide resources, software and data to computers and mobile devices on demand by the end user.

The technology mainly covers various information technology related services such as computing, storage, networking, system security, application and platform based services. These services are typically charged based on usage.

By meeting end user requirements efficiently through an on-demand basis, cloud computing has created a huge buzz all across the Internet. This new technology is completely focused on providing efficient and centralized computing services. All that is required is an internet connection along with a central remote server to maintain data.

A cloud can be either a Private or Public resource. A public cloud sells services to anyone on the Internet. For example, Amazon Web Services is the largest public cloud provider. A private cloud supplies hosted services to a limited number individuals. The goal of cloud computing is to provide easy, scalable access to computing resources and IT services. One example of cloud computing would be Google's Gmail web-based e-mail service. These services do not require any special server or software. Only an internet connection is needed to access your mailbox.

Cloud computing services are divided into three main categories.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS):

Rather than purchasing expensive servers, software, data-center space or network equipment; clients can instead buy those resources as a fully outsourced service. Users are charged for the amount of resources consumed and from suppliers as needed. This allows users to save money on redundant equipment and on the staff required to run and maintain the equipment needed.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

PaaS offerings facilitate deployment of applications without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software and provisioning hosting capabilities, providing all of the facilities required to support the complete life cycle of building and delivering web applications and services entirely available from the Internet.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

This is an on-demand software delivery model where software and associated data are hosted centrally and is accessed by users using a web browser over the Internet. This is the most common aspect of cloud computing and has become a common delivery model for most business applications such as collaboration software, content management systems (CMS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), accounting and similar applications. Every mobile application development company uses cloud computing services to develop and distribute customized applications and services.

Some of the key benefits of Cloud computing:

Latest platforms, technologies and software updates are provided at an affordable price and are able to be implemented immediately.

New businesses require less investment on infrastructure. This also enables more businesses and entrepreneurs to run their business on the Cloud from an office at home or both without losing and functionality.

Multimedia digital content can be distributed to various consumers or employees through cloud computing at a lower price resulting in increased efficiency, cost savings and productivity through digital asset management solutions.

As a business grows, so does the costs of creating, maintaining and running the infrastructure. Retailers can reduce the expenditure on IT management and office space.

Network administration and the need for servers can be completely alleviated. Security is reduced to personal computers rather than attempting to maintain firewalls and antivirus measures. Data storage is moved off site resulting in noticeable savings.

High power computing resources are employed by the cloud computing providers for examining sales data within the shortest possible time.

With the help of cloud computing many new areas will be discovered and your computing storage will be outsourced to a Cloud Computing Provider.

Once the benefits of cloud computing are fully realized en mass, the technology stands to become as much of a revolution to the digital storage and deployment of software and services as the advent of the internet was to the storing and sharing of information.

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