Simply put, cloud computing is the provision of computing services, including servers, storage, databases, networks, software, analytics and intelligence, over the internet (“the cloud”) to enable faster innovation, flexible resources and economies of scale. You typically pay only for the cloud services you use, which helps to reduce operating costs, manage infrastructure more efficiently and ensure scalability as business needs change.
The key benefits of cloud computing
Cloud computing is a major shift in the traditional way businesses think about their computing resources. Here are seven common reasons why businesses turn to cloud computing services.
Cloud computing eliminates the capital costs of buying hardware and software and setting up and running an on-site data center; server racks, 24-hour power and cooling, and IT specialists to manage the infrastructure. This adds up quickly.
Most cloud computing services are self-service on demand, so even large amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, often with just a few clicks of the mouse, giving businesses great flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.
- Global scale
Among the benefits of cloud computing services is the ability to scale elastically. In terms of the cloud, this means that the right amount of computing resources – e.g. more or less processing power, storage, bandwidth – is delivered on demand from the right geographical location.
On-premise data centers typically require a lot of “rack and stack” – hardware configuration, software patching and other time-consuming IT management operations. Cloud computing eliminates the need for these tasks, allowing IT teams to spend their time on more important business objectives.
The largest cloud computing services run on a global network of secure data centres that are regularly upgraded with the latest generation of fast, efficient computing hardware. This has several advantages over a single enterprise data center, including lower network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.
Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity easier and less costly because data can be mirrored to multiple redundant locations on the cloud provider’s network.
Many cloud providers offer a comprehensive set of policies, technologies and controls to strengthen your security posture and protect your data, applications and infrastructure from potential threats.
Types of cloud computing
Not all clouds are the same, and no one type of cloud computing is right for everyone. Different models, types and services have evolved to help you find the right solution for your needs.
First, you need to determine what type of cloud deployment or cloud computing architecture your cloud services will be delivered in. There are three different ways to deploy cloud services: in a public cloud, in a private cloud or in a hybrid cloud.
- Public cloud
Public clouds are owned by third-party cloud service providers who manage them, and provide computing resources such as servers and storage over the internet. Microsoft Azure is an example of a public cloud. In a public cloud, all hardware, software and other supporting infrastructure are own and managed by the cloud provider. You use a web browser to access these services and manage your account.
- Private Cloud
A private cloud is a cloud computing resource that is used exclusively by a business or organization. A private cloud can be physically located in a company’s data center. Some companies also pay an external service provider to host their private cloud. A private cloud is one where the services and infrastructure are run on a private network.
- Hybrid cloud
Hybrid clouds combine public and private clouds connected by technologies that allow data and applications to be shared between them. With the ability to move data and applications between private and public clouds, hybrid clouds offer your business greater flexibility, more deployment options and help optimize existing infrastructure, security and compliance.