What Is Cloud Computing & the working of ‘The Cloud’?

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Cloud Computing

A quick definition of cloud computing or cloud services  Australia is delivery of computing services as demanded by users in terms of processing power, applications, and storage, typically with the help of the internet and with customers paying for what they use.  Most of the leading names in the digital world like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, etc are prominent cloud service providers today. Apart from these industry leaders, there are many other businesses that offer cloud computing to customers needing the service.  Cloud computing is nearly 15 years old now and nearly every business relies on cloud computing for their day-to-day operations. 

Working of the cloud computing

Cloud-based service providers give subscribers the ability to access a wide array of applications and storage with the users paying a rental for services used. This way, the users can save a significant amount of upfront investment in creating in-house IT infrastructure. Cloud services Australia can provide an array of cloud computing tasks that any dedicated IT facility can provide which also means that business owners need not find competent personnel to run the IT function in-house.  Businesses only need to request specific services and the output generated is provided to the user via the internet and the business owner or a designated employee can handle the output as required. 

Cloud computing examples

If we look at the top services offered by cloud computing vendors, Paas or Platform as a Service, SaaS or Software as a service and IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service occupy the top slots. As you can appreciate, these are merely wider definitions of various services that can be brought under the umbrella of cloud-based services.  Cloud service providers can effectively cater to your storage, networking, artificial intelligence, processing power, processing of natural language and other standard applications relevant to most businesses.  To put it differently, services that are not dependent on proximity to computer hardware can be delivered by cloud computing vendors. We can also include consumer services like Gmail, creating back-up for images and photographs (they take up so much space on our devices – won’t they?), and large volume of data for bigger businesses. Think of video streaming by Netflix and that comes to you through Cloud-based services. Cloud computing is also gaining rapid acceptance as a default option for a multitude of applications. Apart from the big names we have mentioned earlier, many software companies are also providing a wide array of cloud-based applications/services through the internet as against standalone products while the customer transitions to a subscription model.  However, the flip side for cloud-based services is the potential of new costs/risks for the users. 

Why ‘Cloud’?

The location-independent nature of cloud computing and the user freed from bothers like hardware and operating system has given the acronym ‘Cloud’.  Though this may sound somewhat over-simplified, location is still a key issue for users adopting cloud-based services. 

How long has cloud-based services been around?

CAS or computing as a service has been around for several decades now though ‘cloud computing’ is of a more recent origin, say about 2 decades.  Before the advent of personal computers, most computing tasks were performed on mainframe computers using punch cards. Operators used a keyboard to punch data that translated into tiny holes in a card inserted into a slot and these holes were in turn read by the mainframe computers. Obviously, this was pretty tedious and time-consuming. But, that was the only option available at that time and businesses rented time on these mainframe computers. Installing mainframe computers also called for a significant amount of space apart from financial investment and competent personnel to man the computer.  Thankfully, all that is now history and the modern generation is seeing a distinctly simple version of computers and computing.  However, the rental concept re-emerged with the introduction of cloud-based services. 

Why Cloud computing is important to modern-day business?

Of all the It spending around the globe, about a third today goes to cloud computing. Many businesses have therefore scaled down their in-house IT facility or even closed them down. The computing tasks from these businesses now move to cloud at significant pace. Three are private as well as public cloud services.  Large enterprises benefit by establishing their own cloud services while it is beneficial for the smaller businesses to subscribe to cloud services offered by many top names in the business. This trend of computing tasks moving to the cloud is also slated to gain further momentum in the coming years taking the overall value to around $300 billion by the turn of 2020. The subscription-based payment system is also seen as an attractive option for smaller businesses. 

Benefits from cloud computing

A singular metric cannot be applied to measure benefits arising from cloud computing since the services offered significantly varies from one user to another. But, on top of the benefits table is the fact that users are spared of making huge investments in creating their in-house IT infrastructure including personnel to man the facility. Procuring high-end servers, updating applications and operating systems, disposing of redundant equipment and software can become a thing of the past when businesses adopt cloud-based services.  The cloud service provider is expected to cater to this and ensure that everything stays updated on a daily basis. Furthers, vendors offering cloud-based services can also be expected to employ better-experienced personnel with the required expertise compared to the financial ability of small businesses. 

Cloud services also allow businesses to fast track their projects and test concepts without significant upfront investments and longer procurement cycle. The subscription model helps businesses to pay only for those services that are needed at a particular point in time. Together, these attributes deliver great business agility which is beneficial for small and medium enterprises. Seamless scalability is another desirable feature that cloud service providers offer making it even more attractive for businesses. 

Conclusion

Although cloud services have a range of benefits for the user, in terms of cost, it may not be a cheaper option much like renting equipment can be expensive. Therefore, a business can benefit from in-house infrastructure for routine tasks and moving the high-end tasks to cloud services. 

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