An Introduction to Cloud Computing and How it Benefits Businesses
What is the Cloud?
Cloud computing is an on-demand, Internet-enabled technology in a configuration that provides access to a common pool of computer hardware, network and software services. These are offered as customer configurable, high availability resources over the Internet.
In the cloud model, customers select and only pay for the amount of hardware or software resource that they use. This provides a cheap and scalable solution to consumers and businesses.
The cloud model may be familiar if you use online storage and photo sharing options provided by Google, Microsoft or social media websites.
Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds
Computing cloud configurations can be described based on the type of network on which they reside.
In the private cloud the resources are only available to users on the network in which they are available, or to those users who are given special guest or visitor access privileges to them. An example you may be familiar with would be data center file servers on an enterprise network that are only available to employees who work for your company and certain vendors and contractors who are granted access to them.
The public cloud describes an access scenario in which all of the resources on the network are openly available to everyone whether they are members of that network or not. Amazon Elastic Compute and Google’s AppEngine which are available to the general public are two public cloud examples.
Hybrid clouds are a combination of public and private cloud models. They are used in situations where firms want to make their network data and servers available to all web users, but want to keep sensitive data and network resources behind their firewalls to limit their general availability. Common uses of hybrid clouds are companies that expose a public interface for a service that they provide, such as placing orders and checking inventories, but need to restrict access to their databases and billing systems.
Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service
Cloud resources can be ategorisedcategorized according to the resources offered in specific hardware and network configurations.
In the software as a service (SaaS) model, the application is the resource that is being offered publicly. All other behind the scenes hardware and networks are transparent to the user and generally unavailable unless the SaaS interface deliberately allows them to be configured.
Platform as a service (PaaS) provides a hardware implementation with an operating system and a network. The user is responsible for installing their own software and configuration. PaaS was originally intended to provide software developers with an easy setup environment to create their source code. Australia’s Cloud Made Simple offers scalable Web Hosting solutions that come pre-configured with an operating system, hosting and database software as an example of PaaS.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is the most bare bones cloud-computing offering. Only a server and a network are provided. The user is responsible for installing the operating system, all configurations and software installations. Virtualized Servers is an example of one of Cloud Made Simple’s IaaS offerings.
Cloud Computing Key Benefits
Cloud-based offerings deliver several immediately realisable benefits to small and enterprise organisations that increases the attractiveness of those technology solutions including:
- Providing cost efficient access to latest technologies
- Increasing business staff productivity
- Implementing solutions for customer support, order status inquiries and other business management systems
- Providing a quick launch of business portals and sharing and collaboration platforms
Cloud computing is both the merging and outgrowth of data center and Internet accessibility paradigms. The cloud continues to deliver new solutions and alternatives to traditional inhouse technology support and maintenance. With available offerings for nearly every type of business service Cloud Made Simple brings affordable, proven cloud technologies to businesses of sizes ranging from small to enterprise.
Simon Hopes is a renowned author and social media enthusiast. The Office 365 and Offsite PC Backup solutions offered by Cloud Made Simple are examples of SaaS offerings.