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Cloud Computing

What is Cloud Computing

By definition: Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

The word cloud is used as a metaphor for the Internet. Most cloud computing takes place at a remote location as is access via the Internet.

Different types of Cloud Computing

There are many different types of cloud computing but the three main ones are Software as a Service, Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service. These make up the Cloud Computing stack as depicted in the diagram below.

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A simple explanation for each of these is:

  • SaaS applications are designed for end-users, delivered over the Internet
  • PaaS tools and services designed to make coding and deploying applications quick and efficient
  • IaaS is the hardware and software that powers it all – servers, storage, networks, operating systems

Benefits of Cloud Computing

  • Flexibility
    • Demand for additional resources can be met almost immediately
  • Disaster Recovery
    • You no longer need worry about a complex disaster recovery plan
    • Studies show recovery takes half the time of companies with in-house IT infrastructure
  • Software Updates
    • Cloud computing companies take care of server maintenance, including security updates
    • Customers have more time and resources for other things
  • Ease of Collaborations
    • Allows employees to share documents and apps
    • Receive critical updates in real-time
  • Work from anywhere
    • Employees with Internet access can work from anywhere
    • Has a positive effect on workers work-life balance
  • Document Control
    • All files in one location
    • Everyone works with one central copy
    • Improves efficiency and increases the company’s bottom line

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

  • Internet Connection
    • Your company is dependent on the reliability of their Internet connection
  • Security
    • Your data is on the Internet
    • Your data is accessible from anywhere, a data breach due to hacking, a disgruntled employee or a careless username/password setup
  • Cost
    • Cloud computing companies charge for more than just your usage
    • Most Cloud companies make you commit to a contract independent of actual usage

Examples of Cloud Computing

Corporations like IBM, Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Dell, HP, Intel and Oracle have invested in cloud computing and offer a wide range of cloud-based services.

Social networking websites, including Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter are perhaps the most well-known examples of cloud computing.

Web-based e-mail is one of the biggest cloud computing services in use today. Cloud computing e-mail solutions allows the task of hosting an e-mail server and maintaining it to be taken from you. It also makes e-mail accessible from anywhere.

Microsoft offers a cloud-based services called Office 365.

With Office 365 you can have access to e-mail and Office applications like Word, Excel and Access on your PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone anywhere Internet access is available.