Cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources.
It is big business: The market generated $100 billion a year in 2012, which could be $127 billion by 2017 and $500 billion by 2020. In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet.
In general, there are three cloud computing characteristics that are common among all cloud-computing vendors:
- 1. The back-end of the application (especially hardware) is completely managed by a cloud vendor.
- 2. A user only pays for services used (memory, processing time and bandwidth, etc.).
- 3. Services are scalable
For it to be considered “cloud computing,” you need to access your data or your programs over the Internet, or at the very least, have that data synced with other information over the Web. In a big business, you may know all there is to know about what’s on the other side of the connection; as an individual user, you may never have any idea what kind of massive data processing is happening on the other end. The end result is the same: with an online connection, cloud computing can be done anywhere, anytime.
Cloud computing is task centric because the usage model is based entirely around what users want to achieve, rather than any particular software, hardware or network infrastructure. Users do not have to purchase or install anything before using a cloud computing resource. Nor do they have to maintain or pay for anything during periods in which no resources are being used.
The above means that cloud computing empowers its users to just get on with what they want to do. Today, nobody sits down to use a pencil. However, lots of people do still consciously sit down to use a computer. Cloud developments may, however, start to catalyze a mentality shift from tool-in-hand to task-at-hand computer application.
Types of Cloud Services
Regardless of the kind of service, cloud computing services provide users with a series of functions including:
- • Storage, backup, and data retrieval
- • Creating and testing apps
- • Analyzing data
- • Audio and video streaming
- • Delivering software on demand
Cloud computing is still a fairly new service but is being used by a number of different organizations from big corporations to small businesses.
Cloud computing has streamlined or eliminated many former office characteristics:
- • Large servers — Businesses no longer need to house banks of servers in well-ventilated closets or equipment rooms.
- • Dedicated in-house IT support — Tech talent is as prized as ever, but businesses no longer need dedicated in-house workers to troubleshoot their hardware and software systems. Tedious tasks like updating computers one by one have been eliminated.
The Global Public Cloud Services
The public cloud option provides quick and easy access to the IT resources you need. This reduces the cost of data centre management. This multi-tenant service offers ‘pay as you go’ scalability which is ideal for users that have heavy or unpredictable traffic.
The public cloud is a multi-tenant environment where the computing space is shared with a number of other clients.
Businesses around the world have speedily moved towards cloud technologies since the past six to seven years.
The major reasons behind the large scale adoption of cloud technologies have been massive scalability and reduced operational costs offered by cloud services.
According to figures from Synergy Research, the revenues of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Google, and IBM in infrastructure services comprise more than half of the global market. As a more recent note explained, while there are still places for small to medium sized public cloud players, public cloud really dominated by hyper scale cloud operators that can afford to build huge data center footprints that span multiple continents.
The same note found the public cloud continues to make significant inroads into the overall IT market, generating more than $20bn per quarter for IT firms.
Examples of cloud services
Because the term cloud computing is a broad term, it’s likely if you have spent any time on the Internet or use devices connected to the Internet that you have used it in some form.
For example, Gmail is an example of a Public Cloud.
Below are some other common examples of cloud computing you have likely heard of or used.
- • AWS (Amazon Web Services) and Amazon EC2 – Amazon.com provides a variety of different cloud computing services
- • Google Docs – A fantastic free solution from Google that allows you to open Microsoft Office documents as well as share them with other users with Internet access.
- • Microsoft OneDrive – Formerly known as SkyDrive, OneDrive is an online storage service for Windows 8 and Windows 10 users to store Windows related files, Office documents, and other files.
- • Dropbox is a good examples of cloud storage and online storage backup solutions that store information in the cloud.
- • Oracle public cloud – Oracle cloud service for small and large businesses.
- • Windows Azure – A cloud computing solution by Microsoft that allows companies to develop and run services from their cloud.
Most cloud computing, software and service environments are subscription-based — users pay a monthly fee instead of buying licenses. Software and platforms are managed by the providers and are updated continuously for maximum performance and security. Computing power is remote instead of centralized, so users can tap into extra capacity if business spikes. Multiple people can access a shared program or file and collaborate in real time from different locations.