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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is cloud computing?
3.
History of Cloud Computing
4.
How does cloud computing work?
5.
Top Benefits of Cloud Computing
5.1.
Scalability
5.2.
Accessibility 
5.3.
Reliability
5.4.
Data Backup and Recovery
6.
Types of Cloud Computing
6.1.
Public Cloud
6.2.
Private Cloud
6.3.
Hybrid Cloud
7.
Cloud Computing Services
7.1.
Software-as-a-Service
7.2.
Platform-as-a-Service
7.3.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service
7.4.
Anything-as-a-Service
7.5.
Function-as-a-Service
8.
Uses of cloud computing
9.
Characteristics of Cloud Computing
9.1.
Self-service provisioning
9.2.
Elasticity 
9.3.
Pay per use
9.4.
Workload Resilience
9.5.
Broad network access
9.6.
Multi-tenancy and resource pooling
10.
Applications of Cloud Computing
10.1.
Cloud Computing in Business
10.2.
Cloud Computing in Government and Public Sector
10.3.
Cloud Computing in Education
10.4.
Cloud Computing in Healthcare
10.5.
Cloud Computing in Personal and Consumer Use
11.
Limitations of Cloud Computing
12.
Difference between Cloud Computing vs. Traditional Web Hosting
13.
Service providers in Cloud Computing
14.
Frequently Asked Questions
14.1.
What exactly is cloud computing?
14.2.
What are the four types of cloud computing?
14.3.
How does Cloud computing works?
14.4.
What are cloud computing examples?
15.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
Medium

Introduction to Cloud Computing

Author Dev Sharma
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Introduction

Cloud computing is on-demand internet-based access to a wide range of computing resources. These resources encompass applications, both physical and virtual servers, data storage, development tools, networking capacities, and all these are hosted at a distant data center, which is overseen by a cloud service provider (CSP). So, in this blog, we will learn about Cloud Computing, its history, working, types, characteristics, applications, etc. Let's start!

Introduction to Cloud Computing

What is cloud computing?

Cloud Computing is a service provided by companies that enable users to store applications and data on a remote server. The stored data can be accessed via the internet.
It means that the user doesn't have to be present at a specific location every time. Their work and application are available on any device. So, they can connect to the internet and complete their work from anywhere in the world.
Now after getting the idea about cloud computing, the question arises;

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History of Cloud Computing

  • During the 1960s, the time-sharing concept was prevalent, introducing the idea of sharing system resources.
  • It is a belief that Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider invented cloud computing with his ARPANET. To connect people and applications from anywhere in the world at any time.
  • In the year 1969, the prototype of ARPANET was launched.
  • Then, in 1970, client-server came into the picture.
  • Client-server is a computing model in which the client can access the application from the central server.
  • In the 1990s, AT&T started developing an architecture where data could be located centrally.
  • In 1999, salesforce was the first company to make its application available from the website.
  • Then gradually, companies launched their search engines, OTT platforms, Netflix, Facebook app, Amazon web services, etc.
  • Now cloud services are adopted by people, which makes them stronger.

How does cloud computing work?

Cloud computing works straightforwardly by owning data centers or IT infrastructures. They create a decentralized environment that provides information through satellite networks.
A cloud servers-hosted organization will be there to manage massive data centers, storage capacity, and cloud system computing power. These hosting companies can sell their services to users who want to store their data on the cloud.

To understand it better, divide its work into two parts: 

  • The front end and the back end. These are the two sections connected through the internet. The front end is the application's client side, and the back end is the server side.
  • The front-end part of the application is used to access the cloud data. 
  • The backend part is deployed on the cloud, which consists data storage system, servers, and computers. These servers and computers, after combining, form a cloud.

Top Benefits of Cloud Computing

There are several benefits of using Cloud Computing, such as:

Scalability

Cloud computing enables organizations to swiftly and efficiently scale up or down their computing capabilities based on demand.

Accessibility 

Users can access data, applications, and services via the cloud from any location with an internet connection. This ease of access encourages remote work and collaboration among distant teams.

Reliability

Cloud service providers often provide robust and redundant infrastructure to ensure service availability and reliability. Cloud systems frequently include built-in redundancy techniques, such as data replication across different servers and data centers, to reduce downtime and data loss.

Data Backup and Recovery

Cloud computing offers dependable backup and recovery solutions. Cloud platforms provide automatic backup services, enabling businesses to schedule frequent backups and assure data resilience.

Types of Cloud Computing

There are three types of cloud computing

Public Cloud

These are virtualized services where data and applications can be accessed or managed using the internet. With this service, anyone can leverage the resources shared by any organization as per their need. These services are delivered over web browsers, making it easy for the deployment organizations to scale up the model. Moreover, it is owned and managed by universities, government organizations, businesses, etc.
Examples - Microsoft azure, IBM cloud, etc.

Private Cloud

These cloud services are accessible only to some restricted people who are associated with a particular business entity. It provides the same services as the public Cloud but also fulfills the users' infrastructure needs (hosting, data storage, etc.). 
Examples - HPE GreenLake and Azure Stack.
The main advantage of this service are

  • customized architecture.
  • advancedness in the safety of data.
  • ability to scale up the computing resources in a virtual environment.

Hybrid Cloud

It is a combination of private and public cloud models. It allows the user to leverage the benefits of shared resources while using existing IT infrastructure for critical security requirements. This hybrid model will enable organizations to store the user's confidential data. It also gives access to data via an application running on the public cloud.
Examples - AWS Outposts, Azure Stack.

Cloud Computing Services

Cloud Computing Services

Software-as-a-Service

Saas is a cloud computing service that delivers applications over the internet so that it can be accessed without any installation. It is a standard cloud service type. Most of us use it daily as it makes the software accessible through an application or Web browser. 
Saas is a licensing model that requires a subscription to access the software using external software. 
Examples - Google docs, Dropbox, etc.

Platform-as-a-Service

Paas is a cloud service that provides a proper environment for the development of web applications. It supports the complete application development cycle in one place, such as resources, testing, deployment, management, and updation. This service relieves you from managing the underlying system(hardware and operating system). As a result, it allows the developers to focus on building and deploying of application.
Examples - AWS, Google app engine, etc.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service

Iaas provides basic cloud infrastructure to the user, such as data storage, servers, and hardware. It gives you a space to store your IT resources and the flexibility to manage them.
This service does not need to have a large physical infrastructure; users can store data, applications, and software in the cloud itself.
Examples - Digital Ocean, Google computing engine, etc.

Anything-as-a-Service

Xaas is a collection of services provided by different organizations. It includes various tools, technologies, and products delivered to the user as a service over the Internet. The service is provided in the subscription-based model rather than as an upfront purchase.

Function-as-a-Service

Faas is a cloud computing service that allows developers to build, compute, run, and manage functions without maintaining their infrastructure. 
With Faas, the management of web server software, physical hardware, and operating systems are all handled by cloud service providers. As a result, it allows the developers to focus on application code.

Uses of cloud computing

There are different use cases of cloud computing, such as

  • The cloud platform allows the inventor a more comprehensive range of surroundings to make, run and emplace their operations.
     
  • Cloud computing provides a platform to host web and mobile operations. The cloud platforms can handle large business loads, enhancing the operation's performance.
     
  • Cloud Computing can also work in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. Cloud platforms give a high-performance computing resource for Artificial Intelligence and machine learning.
     
  • Cloud Computing can also work in backup and disaster recovery. Cloud-grounded backups give data redundancy and allow rapid-fire restoration of critical systems.

Characteristics of Cloud Computing

There are six essential characteristics of cloud computing.

Self-service provisioning

Cloud computing services don't require any controller. Instead, users themselves manage and monitor the resources as per the requirements.

Elasticity 

Cloud computing services must have flexible IT resources to be scaled out as per the demand of users. Whenever the user requires new resources, its demand must be fulfilled as soon as possible.

Pay per use

It's a simple model of cloud services in which users have to pay the charges as per the usage of the resources. For example - the water consumption bill

Workload Resilience

Resilience in cloud computing services is the distribution of requests over different servers as the redundant IT resources are distributed over the other clouds.
It helps reduce the workload as several requests have been distributed. It improves both the availability and efficiency of the application.

Broad network access

The broad access network is the ability of cloud computing services to reach out to a wide variety of devices. Devices include small and big machines such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and workstations. It enables the user to access all the IT resources.

Multi-tenancy and resource pooling

Multi-tenancy is the support by cloud computing service providers to all the users for the usage of all the shared resources.
Resource Pooling is the access of IT resources by multiple clients from the same physical resource.

Applications of Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing in Business

Many organizations provide cloud computing services to small businesses in exchange for appropriate charges. These small businesses get on-demand access to web-based applications, data storage, and other services.

Cloud Computing in Government and Public Sector

Cloud computing services provide tools to the government. These tools need to be operated efficiently so that government can take advantage of the computing services.
Some more benefits of cloud computing for the government are listed below

  1. Increase Cooperation and Efficiency
  2. Improved security
  3. Improved business continuity and disaster recovery
  4. Scalability and cost savings

Cloud Computing in Education

Cloud computing brings a revolutionary change to the education sector. It provides opportunities for students to master essential skills such as creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, etc.
It also improves the connection between the students and teachers. They can connect through applications can make customized changes to the assignments. It also allows students to utilize a lot of technologies.

Cloud Computing in Healthcare

  1. Improves medical services' quality, efficiency, and safety.
  2. Make it convenient for doctors to share reports of the patients collaboratively.
  3. Enables healthcare providers to reduce their initial costs and efforts and improves focus on patient care.
  4. Enhances the security of data records of the patients.

Cloud Computing in Personal and Consumer Use

For personal and consumer use

  1. storing big data on cloud servers
  2. deployment of the application and software
  3. for small services such as storing pictures, files, music files, etc.

Limitations of Cloud Computing

  • Limited control over data security, chances of phishing attacks, and suspicious activity are very high.
  • Network issues may create problems for the client; it will be problematic for the user to access data from the Cloud.
  • Sometimes, it is not cost-effective as several hidden costs are included, increasing small business expenditures.
  • The service providers manage all the Cloud computing services, and there is limited flexibility for the user. Access of users to different applications and services is restricted.
  • Inadequate cloud security may sometimes lead to data leakage over the cloud networks. As a result, we saw a lot of malware attacks, contact breaches, etc.

Difference between Cloud Computing vs. Traditional Web Hosting

            Basis             Cloud computing   Traditional Hosting
1. Costing 1. The cost of cloud hosting is less, and it is cost-effective. 1. Shared hosting cost is less, while dedicated hosting cost is more.
2. Speed and performance 2. High website performance and speed of page loading. 2. Speed and performance depend upon the density of the traffic.
3. Safety and security 3. Maximum security of data; if in case a single server fails user can access data from another server. 3. It offers less security as it relies on a single server.
4. Scalability 4. Highly Scalable. 4. Limited Scalability.
5. Data storage 5. Data is stored on multiple servers. 5. Data stored on a single server.

Service providers in Cloud Computing

Some of the service providers in cloud computing are listed below

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Google Cloud platform
  • IBM cloud services
  • VMware Cloud
  • Oracle Cloud
  • Digital Ocean
  • RedHat
  • Alibaba Cloud

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is cloud computing?

Cloud Computing is a service provided by companies that enable users to store applications and data on a remote server. The stored data can be accessed via the Internet.
It means that the user doesn't have to be present at a specific location every time. Their work and application are available on any device. So, they can connect to the Internet and complete their work from anywhere in the world.

What are the four types of cloud computing?

There are four types of cloud computing, such as private Cloud, public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, and Multi-cloud. These clouds provide different types of services to users, which include public services that anyone can leverage. Private services are restricted to a particular section. Hybrid services are a combination of both private and public services. Multi-cloud services include more than one public cloud service combined with private cloud services.

How does Cloud computing works?

Cloud computing works straightforwardly by owning data centers or IT infrastructures. They create a decentralized environment that provides information through satellite networks.
To manage massive data centers, storage capacity, and cloud system computing power, a cloud servers-hosted organization will be there.

What are cloud computing examples?

There are various types of cloud computing. Rather than keeping hard copies of movies and music in drawers or on shelves, cloud-based streaming services like Netflix and Spotify allow you to view them remotely or store files on your hard drive.

Conclusion

In this article, we have discussed Cloud computing thoroughly, exploring its history, its working, services, types, etc. Then we move to the security measures in cloud computing and discuss the responsibilities for proper security checks. We further discuss all the characteristics, applications, and limitations of cloud computing. Then get some idea about traditional web hosting and cloud hosting by differentiating them. Finally, we have seen all the service providers of cloud computing.

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