Cloud is the driving force powering digital transformation today. But harnessing the cloud in all its forms – whether it’s new digital revenue streams, smarter ways of working, on-demand software applications, data and infrastructure services, or delivering superlative customer experiences – can be an overwhelming proposition.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the act of running workloads within clouds—which are IT environments that abstract, pool, and share scalable resources across a network. Neither cloud computing nor clouds are technologies unto themselves.
Cloud computing is an act—the function of running a workload in a cloud.
Clouds are environments—places where applications run.
Technologies are things—software and hardware used to build and use clouds.
The name cloud computing was inspired by the cloud symbol that’s often used to represent the internet in flowcharts and diagrams.
What do cloud computing companies do?
- Cloud computing is the delivery of different services through the Internet.
- They constitute a group of networked elements providing services and computer system resources like hardware virtualization, service-oriented architecture, high-capacity networks, low-cost computers, storage devices, and data centers that allow customers to retrieve and utilize information in a flexible, manageable, and cost-effective manner.
- To put it simply, Cloud computing is all about storing your data remotely so that you can get access to it anytime, anywhere using any device.
- Cloud computing is the use of the off-site system to help computers store, manage, or communicate information.
- These off-site systems are hosted on a cloud server instead of a local server.
- This means that instead of hosting infrastructure or applications on your hard drive, you are hosting an online server that connects the computers through a secure network. Many types of organizations are using cloud servers.
Different types of cloud computing platforms or cloud computing deployment systems:
Here are the five main types of cloud computing deployment systems:
- Public clouds
- Private clouds
- Hybrid clouds
- High-performance computing (HPC) cloud.
- A public cloud sells services to anyone on the internet.
- Public clouds are cloud environments typically created from IT infrastructure not owned by the end user. Some of the largest public cloud providers include Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.
- All clouds become public clouds when the environments are partitioned and redistributed to multiple tenants. Fee structures aren’t necessary characteristics of public clouds anymore, since some cloud providers (like the Massachusetts Open Cloud) allow tenants to use their clouds for free.
- Public clouds tend to have a wider variety of security threats due to multi-tenancy and numerous access points.
- Public clouds often split security responsibilities. For instance, infrastructural security can be the provider’s responsibility while workload security can be the tenant’s responsibility.
- A private cloud is a proprietary network or a data center that supplies hosted services to a limited number of people, with certain access and permissions settings.
- There are several private cloud subtypes, that include:
Managed private clouds- Customers create and use a private cloud that’s deployed, configured, and managed by a third-party vendor.
Dedicated clouds- A cloud within another cloud. You can have a dedicated cloud on a public cloud or on a private cloud. For example, an accounting department could have its own dedicated cloud within the organization’s private cloud.
- Private clouds are thought to be more secure because workloads usually run behind the user’s firewall, but that all depends on how strong your own security is.
- Private or public, the goal of cloud computing is to provide easy, scalable access to computing resources and IT services.
- A hybrid cloud is a seemingly single IT environment created from multiple environments connected through local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), virtual private networks (VPNs), and/or APIs.
- A hybrid cloud is a combination of public cloud services and an on-premises private cloud, with orchestration and automation between the two.
- Companies can run mission-critical workloads or sensitive applications on the private cloud and use the public cloud to handle workload bursts or spikes in demand.
- The goal of a hybrid cloud is to create a unified, automated, scalable environment that takes advantage of all that a public cloud infrastructure can provide, while still maintaining control over mission-critical data.
- Hybrid cloud security is made up of the best features of every environment, where users and admins can minimize data exposure by moving workloads and data across environments based on compliance, audit, policy, or security requirements.
- Multi cloud is a cloud approach made up of more than 1 cloud service, from more than 1 cloud vendor—public or private.
- All hybrid clouds are multi-clouds, but not all multi-clouds are hybrid clouds.
- Multi clouds become hybrid clouds when multiple clouds are connected by some form of integration or orchestration.
High Performance Computing (HPC)cloud:
- It refers to the practice of aggregating computing power in a way that delivers much higher horsepower than traditional computers and servers.
- HPC, or supercomputing, is like everyday computing, only more powerful. It is a way of processing huge volumes of data at very high speeds using multiple computers and storage devices as a cohesive fabric.
- HPC makes it possible to explore and find answers to some of the world’s biggest problems in science, engineering, and business.
- Today, HPC is used to solve complex, performance-intensive problems—and organizations are increasingly moving HPC workloads to the cloud.
- HPC in the cloud is changing the economics of product development and research because it requires fewer prototypes, accelerates testing, and decreases time to market.
How does cloud computing work?
Cloud computing works by enabling client devices to access data and cloud applications over the internet from remote physical servers, databases, and computers.
There are also three main types of cloud computing services:
Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS), and
- IaaS providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), supply a virtual server instance and storage, as well as application programming interfaces (APIs) that let users migrate workloads to a virtual machine (VM).
- Users have an allocated storage capacity and can start, stop, access,, and configure the VM and storage as desired.
- The user manages things like the operating system, apps, and middleware while the provider takes care of any hardware, networking, hard drives, data storage, and servers; and has the responsibility of taking care of outages, repairs, and hardware issues.
- IaaS providers offer small, medium, large, extra-large, and memory- or compute-optimized instances, in addition to enabling customization of instances, for various workload needs.
- In the PaaS model, cloud providers host development tools on their infrastructures.
- Users access these tools over the internet using APIs, web portals,, or gateway software.
- PaaS is used for general software development, and many PaaS providers host the software after it’s developed.
- Common PaaS products include Salesforce’s Lightning Platform, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and Google App Engine.
- SaaS is a distribution model that delivers software applications over the internet; these applications are often called web services.
- Users can access SaaS applications and services from any location using a computer or mobile device that has internet access.
- In the SaaS model, users gain access to application software and databases.
- One common example of a SaaS application is Microsoft 365 for productivity and email services.
To plan for your organization’s future in the cloud, you need a comprehensive, enterprise-grade identity platform that supports your priorities with a combination of usability, customizability, and operational cost savings.