Cloud computing has witnessed significant popularity and acceptance by all size businesses over the past few years owing to its self- service attribute, unmatched flexibility, cost-efficiency, elasticity and its pay per use service model. There are a lot of terms that you must have heard when seeking for this avant-garde technology such as cloud hosting, cloud server hosting etc. However, there are still many who are not aware what cloud computing is all about. So, before we dig deeper lets first comprehend what does cloud computing stands for.
Cloud technology is unlike conventional web hosting services, such as shared hosting and VPS hosting wherein an individual dedicated server is used, cloud is based on virtualization technology. Resources are pooled or shared among different clients from an underlying network of extensive physical servers. To put simply, a host of physical server acts like one giant cloud server catering to the dynamic needs of businesses. In cloud technology, computing resources including servers, processors, storage capacity, network, software applications and operating systems are delivered over the Internet. In addition to this, dedicated networks and intranets are also used to provision resources to the clients. All these computing resources are shared between people and companies.
Now lets take a quick glance at some of the key attributes of cloud computing:
In this post, we will discuss about a few cogent features of cloud computing that differentiates it from other conventional hosting platforms.
One of the major benefits of cloud technology is that it is simple to setup. The resources including servers, storage, and networks can be provisioned immediately without involving much human intervention. Checkout the brief flowchart to understand it in a better way:
- Setup an cloud hosting account
- Create billing and other security credentials
- Choose the cloud computing resources when required
This is all handled by a user-friendly self-management portal offered by the service provider in order to provision, and gauge resource utilization.
Broad Network Access
As already mentioned, all the computing resources are delivered over a network such as Internet or Intranet. Furthermore, these cloud computing services can be accessed by organizations or individuals of all kinds from any Internet ready devices. To put simply, files, applications, and computing resources can be easily accessed by authorized end-users from anywhere in the world using smartphones, laptops, desktops, etc.
The best part of cloud based solutions is that it has the potential to cater to the needs of multiple users at the same time, however, with a secured and separate environment for each client. Resources from physical servers can be share or pooled from a host of servers in various data centers (located in different geographical locations).
On the top of it, if any of the cloud servers in your network encounters a downtime, resources can be pooled from the other servers in the physical network. This type of cloud structure helps in mitigating the risk of failure, helping organizations to grow and thrive.
Today, everyone is talking about this robust attribute of cloud that is flexibility which it provides to its users. Resources can be expanded and trimmed down to accommodate current and futuristic demands of businesses. In simpler words, businesses can speedily provision the resourcing computing assets at the hour of need, that too without undergoing time-consuming processes.
Cloud leverages metering competences to calculate the utilization of resources, allowing users to only pay for the resources that their business-critical applications or websites have consumed. This is one of the major differences between cloud and conventional dedicated server hosting solution. In dedicated server, users need to pay a fixed amount on monthly/yearly basis (no matter whether your resources are underutilized or sits idle) whereas cloud provides you the freedom to pay only for what you have used.
Well, you must have gained an understanding about cloud computing and its various combatant features. Now, lets take a glance at its different service models:
The three major service models of cloud are as follows:
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Software as a Service (SaaS): It is one of the most adopted cloud computing service models, which allows companies of all shapes and sizes, and developers to make use of various business specific applications designed and developed by third parties. In this service type, both the software and the data are hosted at the cloud service providers end, giving freedom to ends-users to access the required data or applications from anywhere in the world. Primarily, software as a service is not on-premise software and is deployed over an Internet, accessible via program interface or web browser. Most of the cloud vendors provide service level agreement on network uptime and performance. A few of the examples of SaaS based applications are Netsuite, Salesforce.com, and Zoho.
Platform as a Service (PaaS): In this type of cloud computing service model, software development tools are offered to the end-users, which is hosted on a service vendors architecture. By leveraging PaaS based computing model, developers can utilize resources to design and host applications on their platforms over the Internet.
One of the major benefits that users can derive from platform as a service is that they can run existing application or develop new applications without bothering about the maintenance and monitoring activities. Right from the hardware, operating systems, storage capacity, and load balancers, all are maintained and managed by the cloud host, allowing clients to focus on their core initiatives. A few of the examples that come under this category are Google App Engine, and Windows Azure.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This type of cloud computing model includes storage capacity, systems software and virtualized servers that provide complete feel and functionality of a data center. To put these simpler words, you can use computer owned and managed by the service provider. Here, in this service level agreement is offered on time of provisioning, and virtual server availability.
To conclude, the various cloud service models, if chosen cautiously from a reliable cloud host help organizations to make their business operations more agile without bearing hefty upfront cost and downtime risk.