Cloud Computing is the recent raging trend in technology that has totally changed the way businesses access and store information. It is a generic term used in the way hosted services are delivered using the Internet. Cloud Computing has allowed small and large businesses to use computing services as a utility like a telephone or electricity service; to use as the need arises and pay for it as a service. This has saved immense costs in building and maintaining large infrastructures in computing and storage.
With the Internet having gained traction over traditional software models over the last decade, Cloud Computing has proved that this new technology is not just a fad, but a necessity. Traditionally, the range and variety of software and hardware configurations for businesses to run applications for their operations has been very complex – installation, configuration, testing, security and updating were all complex tasks attended by experts.
Cloud Computing has simplified the whole process by doing away with the tedious tasks of installing hardware and software and maintaining them; as a shared infrastructure utility which allows businesses to pay for what they need and use, it has made automation and scaling up easy.
Among the many attractive advantages for end-users and business corporations, three main benefits stand out.
1. Elasticity – businesses can scale up requirements as computing needs and demands increase and scale down when needs are not so much
2. Pay per use – because computing resources can be measured, this allows users to pay only for the resource and workload utilization depending on need
3. Self-service provisioning – end-users can utilize computing resources for any kind of on-demand workload requirement without the need or intervention of IT administrators.
If we wish to further define Cloud Computing, it is necessary to look at the three classifications, ‘pillars’ as they are referred to – public, private and hybrid.
A ‘private’ cloud is that which is used by a business’ date centre to provide services to internal users, thus providing versatility while preserving control, management and security.
In the ‘public’ model, a third-party service provider delivers the computing services on the Internet.
The ‘hybrid’ model is a combination of private and public cloud computing services; in this kind of model companies choose to use mission-critical and sensitive workloads on the private model and use the public model for workloads and applications that require scaled-up on demand operations. Hybrid cloud computing therefore allows the creation of an automated and scalable utility environment while also creating a unified operating model.
Over use, the definition of Cloud Computing has undergone changes but broadly they can be categorized in three service categories – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (Paas) and Software as a Service (Saas).