What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud Computing involves using the Internet (The Cloud) for delivering various services like data storage, server software, databases, networking, analytics, etc.
The cloud makes it possible to save files to a remote database rather than a proprietary hard drive or local device. If an electronic device has internet access, it can access the data and software programs that run on it.
People and businesses are turning to cloud computing because it offers many benefits, including cost savings, increased productivity, speed and efficiency, performance, and security.
Cloud Computing Services
Cloud computing services offer an array of options now, from storage and networking to artificial intelligence and language processing, in addition to standard office software. Almost any IT requirement can be met by a cloud computing service today.
Since every organization is moving into the cloud world, understanding the different services cloud computing offers is essential.
There are many cloud computing services, but they all share a few basic features and advantages and can generally be broken down into four basic categories.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS is the most popular cloud computing service. It provides server virtualization, networks, operating systems, and data storage.
With it, companies can enjoy flexibility, reliability, and scalability without worrying about adding hardware to their offices. Thus it is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses hunting for a cost-effective solution to support business growth.
An IaaS is a fully outsourced pay-for-use service that can be private, public, or hybrid based on users’ preferences.
Some common examples of IaaS are Amazon EC2, Rackspace, Azure Virtual Machine.
- PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service)
PaaS is one of the higher rungs of the cloud computing pyramid. The difference between IaaS and PaaS is that while IaaS delivers all the tools to customers through the cloud, PaaS specializes a little bit more.
Instead of pure infrastructure, PaaS provides the programmatic framework needed to develop, test, deploy, manage and update software.
Its infrastructure is similar to IaaS, but it also involves operating systems, middleware, development tools, and database management systems that facilitate software applications creation.
The PaaS model is handy for companies developing software or web-based applications.
Some examples of PaaS are Google App Engine, Rackspace Cloud Sites, OpenShift, and Apache Stratos.
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
The SaaS model combines both the IaaS and PaaS elements of cloud computing. It offers application services tailored to specific business requirements such as business analytics, CRM, and marketing automation. This service of Cloud Computing allows customers to access web-based software applications on-demand.
By offering a browser-based interface, SaaS provides fully functional applications accessible via the Internet. It offers subscription-based services, where users pay monthly instead of buying software upfront. Users may also cancel their subscriptions when they no longer require them.
Typical Cloud Computing SaaS solutions include Google G Suite, Zoho CRM, AppDynamics, Pardot Marketing Automation, Slack, and Salesforce.
- Functions as a Service (FaaS)
FaaS is a very new and relatively young cloud computing service that can revolutionize many industries.
FaaS is a concept of serverless computing that allows developers to deliver an individual “function” or piece of business logic without maintaining a server. Since servers are external, developers do not have to worry about server operations, reducing development time. IaaS resources are not consumed in FaaS applications until an event occurs, so pay-per-use costs are lower.
The most common examples of FaaS are Google Cloud Functions, Open Whisk, Microsoft Azure Functions, Webtask.io, and Iron.io.