Cloud Computing – Everything You Wanted To Know

What is Cloud Computing?  What is its use? How is it gonna be helpful to me? Is there a storage device on the clouds. If you are technology lover and is in the urge of knowing more and more about technology, then you might have come across the term “Cloud Computing” for sure.

You might have even heard some phrases like “storing in the cloud”, or “accessing the cloud”, “moving to the cloud” and some point or the other you might have struck and thinking, How can one store something or access something from the cloud?

I have some friends of mine and even some relatives who have completely misunderstood the concept behind it. Currently the term ” Cloud Computing” is everywhere. So in this post, I will try to explain All About Cloud Computing, What are the uses of Cloud Computing? , The Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing and almost everything, so you will understand the basic concept behind it and if you are interested to learn more deep of it, then you can learn some courses about Cloud Computing on various e-learning sites like Udemy, Coursera etc.

I will try to make this post simpler for non-technical people to understand and get the concept.

What is Cloud Computing?

what is cloud computing

You have heard the term, everyone has, but you are still not so clear or sure that What Cloud Computing actually is.

So if explained in simple terms Cloud Computing means storing and accessing the data over the internet rather than from your hard drive.

If I explain a little bit intensively, then Cloud Computing is the distribution of computing services such as storage, servers, databases, analytics, networks and a whole bunch of other computing services over the internet which is “The Cloud”. Hence the name — Cloud Computing.

You will be billed based on the cloud usage, same like you get billed for the usage of electricity in your home or office.

History of Cloud Computing

history of cloud computing

The term – Cloud Computing is still unclear about how it got his name. Some source says that we have a habit of drawing a fluffy cloud in the diagrammatic representation of “Internet”. Hence the cloud term formed. Some even argue with the fact that the Cloud Computing is originated from its ability to store a large amount of data.

No matter how the name is formed, Cloud Computing is apt and is evolving at a faster rate.

The internet laid its roots in the early 60’s. Initially, it lacked bandwidth and connectivity and it has been developed until 1990 where the bandwidth and connectivity increased and more and more people started using it for business purposes. The World Wide Web was formed by Tim Berner Lee in 1991 and a browser termed Mosaic was developed to view web pages which included text as well as graphical content

In 1999, Salesforce introduced its own multi-tenant application which delivered enterprise applications via a simple website. This website gave way to deliver applications over the internet and was first in it. Hence they pioneered Cloud Computing. This was the first milestone in Cloud Computing concept.

The second big milestone in Cloud Computing was done by Amazon Web Services,(popularly known as AWS) IN 2002. It provided cloud-based services which included storage services, human intelligence as well as computation through the Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Years after years, the cloud was only expanding and expanding and more companies started to work on Cloud Computing. Today the key players in Cloud Computing Services are Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and IBM.

The examples of Cloud Computing, which you too might using it are Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Amazon Cloud Drive, Dropbox. All these things work on the concept of Cloud Computing.

The scope in Cloud Computing has been increased over years and it is going to be the next big thing in the internet history.

Cloud Computing is vast and it is categorized into numerous types, let’s take a look at it.

Types of Cloud Computing Services

types of cloud computing services

The Cloud Computing services fall into three categories; Software as a Service (SaaS); Platform as a Service (PaaS); Industry as a Service (IaaS). These three services are also sometimes called as Stack because they are built on top of another.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service (SaaS)

This method of Cloud Computing delivers software applications over the internet. The delivery of software applications over internet maybe based on a demand basis or subscription basis. It allows the users to connect and used cloud-based apps over the internet.

Users can use SaaS application from anywhere on anything(Computers, Mobile Phones etc) with the access of internet.

SaaS is the largest in the cloud market and is still growing at a rapid pace. SaaS eliminates the need to install and run the application on each computer, because everything can be managed by the vendors, right from applications to servers, networking, and storage.

Some of the products which use SaaS are SalesForce, Google Apps, Cisco, WebEx and a lot more.

Benefits of Software as a Service (SaaS)

  • Pay only on the basis of the usage.
  • Access the data from anywhere.
  • No data is lost if your computer is stolen or broken, as your data is secured in the Cloud

If you want to learn more about SaaS, then follow this link What is SaaS – Microsoft

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a service (PaaS) is a cloud computing service used for development, managing, and testing of the application. PaaS is one of the growing sectors of cloud computing. PaaS provides a platform on which a software can be developed and deployed.  

PaaS is designed in such a way that it is easier for developers to quickly create applications without worrying about managing or setting up servers, databases, and kinds of stuff which are required for development.Technically, it helps the developers to fasten the process of developing applications, thus saving money and time on some useless (Not completely useless though) things; like how much space does the database requires.

Some of the examples of products using PaaS are Windows Azure, Google App Engine, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Heroku,  Apache Stratos.

Benefits of Platform as a Service (PaaS)

  • It helps you to develop apps for multiple platforms which includes computers, mobiles, tablets, browsers.
  • It reduces coding time
  • It uses sophisticated development tools
  • It allows team to work remotely
  • It deploys the application developed to the cloud in minutes
  • It reduces the complexity

If you want to learn more about PaaS, follow this link What is PaaS – Microsoft

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

This is the primary category of cloud computing service-the IaaS(Infrastructure as a Service). As the name goes “Infrastructure“, this cloud computing service helps you to rent IT infrastructures such as servers, storages, networks, virtual machines, operating system, firewalls, IP addresses and virtual local networks and tons of other IT infrastructure.

It helps you to avoid the complexity of buying hardware. Why buy hardware when you can rent it using IaaS, and you will be charged only on basis of the consumption, like you won’t be charged for a day’s or a week’rent, but only be charged for how much you consumed, like the water or electricity bill.

So if you take it for rent for a week and only use a day, you will be charged the day’s consumption and not the week’s. Pretty cool, ain’t it?

Some of the examples of products using IaaS are Google Computer Engine, RackSpace, Windows Azure, Joyent, AWS EC2

Benefits of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

  • You get better security
  • You only focus on your business and do not think much about buying hardware and stuff
  • It increases stability and reliability.
  • No need to invest much in your hardware
  • Flexible services on demand
  • Your business can still continue to work even if you shift or out on a holiday

If you want to learn more about IaaS, follow this link What is IaaS – Microsoft

Types of Cloud Deployment

cloud deployment

Not all the clouds are same in the sky, right? Every Cloud has its own shape and size, even in the cloud computing, there are three different types of clouds deployed. They are – Public, Private and Hybrid Cloud

Public Cloud

public cloud

As the name goes, public– which means access to all. Likewise, public clouds are owned by some third-party cloud service providers and distribute their cloud computing services over the internet.Public Clouds are open for normal people as well as some big companies for developing and deploying. These clouds are managed by the cloud provider and you can access the services with the help of a web browser. Companies like Google Apps, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure offers Public cloud.

Private Cloud

private cloud

As the name goes, private– which means not accessed by any outsiders. Likewise, private clouds are also called internal clouds. These clouds are built by the company and the cloud is accessible only to the employees of the organization. The main reason why private clouds are built is for security purposes as only their organization is linked no third party can develop and deploy in the cloud.

Hybrid Cloud

hybrid cloud

As the name goes, Hybrid– which means a product formed by two reactants (haha no chemistry here :p). Hybrid clouds is a formed by the combination of the characteristics of Public and Private Clouds.It is a strong cloud, where you can use the capabilities of both in a single cloud- Hybrid Cloud. Hybrid clouds are more functional and powerful as two clouds are combined into one, so by using a hybrid cloud, an organization can create its own cloud and can pass control to third-party vendors to use their clouds.

Community Cloud

community cloud

There is one more cloud, in addition to these three clouds known as the Community Cloud. This cloud is used by a specific community. This cloud is owned and managed by more than one organizations in the community which shares a mutual interest, so a whole community of organizations uses the same cloud. In community cloud, a cloud hosting is set up which is mutually shared among various organization in a particular community.

Uses of Cloud Computing

uses of cloud computing

We use cloud computing, without even realizing that we are using it. If you play games, send an email, draft a post, stream music and videos etc, then my dear friend, cloud computing is the term which is behind the happening of all these, so you see Cloud Computing is vast. So right now, I will list some of the uses of Cloud Computing.

  • Accessibility
  • Backup
  • Store and Recover Data
  • Usability
  • Host Websites and Apps
  • Large amount of Data Analytics
  • Disaster Recovery (which means, you would be able to recover your files even if your computer is broken or stolen as the file and data are secured in the cloud which be can access remotely from anywhere.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

Of course, any invention is accompanied by its merits and demerits and without it, one cannot further improve the existing product, right? So even Cloud Computing has some negative traits which will be discussed after the positive ones :p

Advantages of Cloud Computing

  • The Cost. It is a great advantage for startups using Cloud Computing technology as the upfront and infrastructure cost are lower.
  • Flexibility. It is damn flexible as employees can work from anywhere and on any device with just an internet connection.
  • Its GLOBAL – Needless to explain this.
  • We only pay for what we use. SIMPLE.
  • Even the environment is benefitted, as office space is saved and large systems are being shared.
  • It is EASY.
  • It helps you to keep your data secured and not to worry if your computer is broken or injected by a virus, as the data is in the cloud.
  • AUTOMATION– We all love it. It basically reduces human labor and automates tasks by itself like updating or rebooting and does not require any manpower to double check.
  • It enables Collaboration and Communication. Since it can be accessed anytime from anywhere, it helps in collaboration. It helps you to sync up with the updates.
  • It is RELIABLE.

Enough with the merits, let’s point out some drawbacks. Woohoo :p

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

  • DOWNTIME 🙁 . No Cloud Computing can give cent percent uptime.
  • A Much greater dependency of a reliable internet connection.
  • SECURITY – One of the main concerns. Cloud Computing can also be termed as Internet Computing, which means the data which you store in the cloud is on the internet, how safe if your data? Suppose if any data breach occurs by some, all your business data is compromised. We have all heard about celebrity scandals and millions of data being breached. Can we risk it?
  • Vulnerability– Nothing on the internet is safe and secured, it can be hacked and Cloud Computing is purely based on the Internet. Do you want your data, your secret confidential data to be compromised and be out to general public, you got an answer to your question.
  • Limited Control– Since the cloud is managed by the cloud provider, it gives limited access to the customer like storing, managing, accessing the data. The things which are important like shell access, updates etc are not given to the client (as the provider assumes, he/she might mess up).
  • Vendor Lock-In– It is difficult to transfer your cloud services from vendor to another because some features which you are using with your former vendor might not work properly with your current vendor.
  • I have already talked about security, in one of my earlier point, let me emphasize here again. how can we risk our data being stored in someone else’s computer in some unknown location, how can we trust the person?and what happens if the supplier from which you are getting products, the one whom you are dependent on suddenly stops and what you will do ( i know these are hypothetical situations, but in case it happens, to be on safer side).
  • Last but not the least, if everyone started moving to the cloud, where they cannot freely develop some new innovative technology, what will be the future development of the internet?

Like all other, even Cloud Computing has its own pros and cons, it depends on us how we use it, if we use it correctly then it might be a great tool, but if we screwed up, then needless to say.

I guess that’s it. We have come to an end of this long post about Cloud Computing where I have tried my best to explain cloud computing- it’s uses, its types, examples as well as pros and cons.

So if we conclude this post and if you are struck still – Whether to use or not, then do read more in-depth guides, so you will get a better understanding of networks, algorithm, and everything.

I have written this post in a very simple language and tried not to use many technical terms which were one of the reasons why I posted this late, as it requires extensive research. So I hope it is simple and easy to understand for all nontechnical people ( I want everyone to learn the basic concept behind it, so you don’t fall, and match your speed with the growing technology). If you guys have any doubts about cloud computing or some part which you did not understand, feel free to comment I will be diving and replying each comment.

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Abishiekh Jain is a 16-year-old programmer and blogger born and brought up in Chennai. He is the founder of Hackers Den 🙂

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