All About the Different Types of Cloud Computing
Ten years ago, if you asked someone about ‘the cloud,’ they would have looked up at the sky in confusion. Today, however, cloud computing is practically everywhere and used by the biggest companies on the planet. The reason why is simple; the cloud offers a wide range of excellent features and benefits. The economy of scale, for example, faster innovation and more flexibility with precious resources.
But what, exactly, is cloud computing? Most people, even many executives, don’t know the answer or how cloud computing works. They don’t know what the cloud can do to save their organization money, streamline operations, improve security, and better connect their people.
To that end, we’ve put together this article as a helpful guide to cloud computing. In it, we’ll take a more in-depth look at cloud computing, including its various types. (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and FaaS.) We’ll also look at the features of cloud computing and the many benefits of cloud computing services. If you’re considering taking your company to the cloud, read on to find out everything you need to know about the different types of cloud computing.
What Is Cloud Computing?
The term ‘cloud computing comes from the metaphor often used to describe the internet, the cloud. At its most basic, the cloud is everything that makes up the internet: files, videos, blogs, photographs, etc. Cloud computing is slightly different. It refers to using a service provider’s computer servers rather than purchase, house, use, and maintain a server in-house.
A server is a massive, extremely powerful, and costly computer. Cloud computing service companies typically have several, and sometimes many, servers, all providing digital storage for their clients. They also offer several other valuable services, including:
• Digital Storage for company data and files.
• Valuable Databases.
• Networking capabilities.
• Analytics and intelligence gleaned from stored data.
What Are the Major Benefits of Cloud Computing?
In the past, businesses and organizations ad no other choice but to purchase, learn and maintain computer hardware and software to store their digital data. However, with today’s complete, reliable cloud computing services, those days (and all of the difficulties, stress, frustration, and losses they caused) are gone. Below are several of the significant benefits cloud computing provides to today’s business leaders and organizations.
Significantly Decreased Capital Expenses
With today’s cloud computing services, gone are the days of having to purchase costly hardware and software. Gone also are the costs to learn, store, and maintain racks of servers. The cost savings in power alone (to keep servers cool and running optimally) is more than enough to warrant using cloud computing services instead. Lastly, the savings from not needing an IT tech on staff are significant also, savings that allow businesses to grow and achieve profitability faster.
The term scalability is often used, but the promise is often underdelivered. With cloud computing, though, there is true scalability on several fronts. For example, if a business suddenly needs extra computing power, it can get it rapidly. They can also do the same with storage and bandwidth. When required, they can be delivered almost instantly (along with an extra cost, of course). Once the demand ebbs, the service level drops back to normal, keeping costs down. It’s perfect for any business, whether startup or established.
Cloud computing service providers typically offer a variety of services that significantly improve an organization’s security posture. Far better than most in-house data centers, cloud computing service providers protect your valuable data, files, apps, and more from outside threats. They can protect your organization from in-house threats as well, with controls and policies that guard against unauthorized employee access.
Significantly Increased Computing Speeds and Resources
One of the most significant benefits of using cloud computing services is that they’re on-demand and self-service. For example, if a business suddenly needs a vast amount of computing resources, it can have those resources supplied in a few short minutes. When it comes to long and short-term planning, this quick access to resources eases an organization’s pressure significantly. It also opens the door to more opportunities since a business won’t ground to a halt every time they need more computing resources.
Strong Reliability & Disaster Recovery
One of the most significant drawbacks of having computer servers in-house is that data recovery can be problematic in the event of a disaster (if not impossible). One great example of this was after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Thousands of businesses lost all of their data after their servers were submerged underwater. (The losses were estimated in the billions of dollars.)
When a business has cloud computing services, the risk of data loss is 100% mitigated. That’s because all their data is stored off-site, usually in several locations for redundancy. Not only is their data protected but, once they’re able to get back to work, the company will have direct and immediate access to all of their data, files, etc. Instead of scrambling to recover everything they’ve lost, they’ll be back to work serving customers.
One of the most significant expenses many large organizations have is maintaining, improving, and upgrading their in-house data center and servers. Not so when they have cloud computing services, as the service provider is in charge of handling all of those tasks. Their servers, software, and other hardware are regularly updated and improved.
Indeed, most of the world’s biggest cloud computing service providers use a network of data centers that are regularly updated with the latest, fastest, and most efficient technology available. When a business or organization partners with a cloud computing services company, they benefit from the latest, best IT available on the market.
Increased IT Productivity
The IT teams taking care of servers at many large companies spend hours a day ‘racking and stacking.’ That means they spend hours performing trivial tasks that, in the end, waste their valuable time and the organization’s valuable resource. (Setting up new hardware, for example, patching software together and so forth.) With cloud computing services in place, all of these menial tasks are removed, empowering a company’s IT team to improve the business instead and focus more on achieving its goals.
What Can an Organization Do with Cloud Computing Services?
The benefits of cloud computing in terms of security, rapid response, scalability, and more are undeniable. Aside from these primary benefits, however, cloud computing also has many different and valuable uses to benefit any business. That includes startup companies just being formed and non-profit organizations, and even massive, global corporations. Here are some excellent examples of what can be done when your business utilizes cloud services:
Data Analysis and Analytics
Inside every organization’s data is a hidden world of valuable information about their customers, their people, their profit margins, and more. With cloud computing services, an organization or business gets access to other services like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
Using these services, they can uncover precious insights that executives and managers can use to guide an organization’s decisions, improve productivity, and increase profitability. Plus, executives can create intelligence models from the data, which increases customer engagement and insight from captured data.
Access Data from Practically Anywhere, On Any Device
When valuable data is sitting inside a company server, access is limited to devices connected directly to that server. This situation decreases productivity and stifles innovation, among other things. When connected to an offsite cloud storage service, though, their data can be accessed by anyone (with the correct passwords, of course) from anywhere and on any internet-connected device. Better still, all data and information from these various devices can be backed-up and recovered just as quickly.
Use Scalable Cloud Infrastructure to Build and Test Applications
Building and testing applications can be a time and computer-memory-consuming process. That’s not the case when using cloud computing services. They can be scared up when you’re testing and scaled back down when your team is done, significantly reducing the time and cost to develop new applications.
By the way, applications created using cloud services are already cloud-native. These include, for example, web applications, mobile applications, and application programming interfaces (APIs). Again, one benefit is that you can scale up when needed and then, after testing is complete, scale back down. The cost savings alone are a significant gain.
Stream Your Audio and Video Out to the World
Being connected to cloud computing services empowers any business to share audio, video, and more with its audience and click on a deeper level. More importantly, it provides a global reach that, for many businesses, would be impossible on their own. They can also offer the latest versions of software and all updates to their customers, all of whom can access this valuable data from anywhere on any device.
What are the Different Types of Cloud Computing Services?
Cloud computing is a general, blanket term that covers the realm of off-site computing services. However, several different types of cloud computing services offer additional features, benefits, and solutions. (There are also three different ways to deploy cloud services, which we’ll touch on further down.) The four types of cloud computing services are often referred to as a ‘stack.’ The reason why is simple; one builds on top of the other, ‘stacking’ as they go up. They include:
This is the most basic category of cloud computing, Infrastructure as a Service. When a business has IaaS, they rent servers, operating systems, and more from a service provider. IaaS is usually the most cost-efficient service a company can use to reap the benefits of cloud computing.
Platform as a Service cloud computing is usually used when a company wants to develop, test, and manage new software applications. With cloud services, the need for on-site infrastructure is eliminated and the time and cost that comes with it.
Function as a Service is a subset of Serverless cloud computing services. FaaS is mainly used to make the migration of applications to the cloud more efficient and cost-effective. Infrastructure management is unnecessary when using FaaS as the service provider handles everything.
Used to deliver software over the internet, SaaS is typically on-demand. The service provider handles the infrastructure and maintenance, allowing users to connect and update their devices from anywhere, whenever needed.
What are the Three Types of Clouds?
Cloud services are delivered over the cloud, of course, but most don’t realize that there are three different types of clouds: public, private, and hybrid. All three have additional benefits and features.
A Public Cloud
A public cloud is when a 3rd-party cloud service provider has provided all hardware, software, and any supporting infrastructure used. Customers access these services through a web browser using a web-connected device.
A Private Cloud
When a single entity or organization uses cloud computing resources exclusively, they are said to have a private cloud. Often these private clouds are located on the organization’s property in their datacenter. However, private cloud services can also be provided by a 3rd-party. Either way, the services and infrastructure are kept and maintained on a private computing network.
A Hybrid Cloud
As the name suggests, a hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private clouds. State-of-the-art technology is used to allow data sharing between the two, providing greater flexibility and more deployment options to various business entities. Many organizations have found that a hybrid cloud can optimize their existing infrastructure and increase security and reduce compliance issues.
We hope this guide to cloud computing has answered all of your most pressing questions. As we’ve seen, cloud computing services offer many valuable benefits, not the least of which is true scalability when needed. It’s also flexible, efficient, customizable, and affordable. Millions of businesses, non-profits, and other organizations rely on cloud computing services every day. If you have questions or need advice about cloud computing services, please leave your name and contact information, and someone will get back to you within 24 hours.