Cloud computing is one of the most popular buzzwords amongst technology enthusiasts and professionals. It is a revolutionary technology that has changed how applications are built, deployed, and used. I’m pretty sure everyone reading this article has used an app or service that takes advantage of cloud computing technology.
Despite being a popular topic, not so many people understand the fundamentals of cloud computing and how significant this technology is to this era where we rely on computers to do almost everything. In this article, we will discuss all the basics of cloud computing, including the cloud computing providers and how different categories of users can take full advantage of this technology. Let’s dive in!
What is cloud computing?
In simple terms, cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing services, including server hardware, storage, networking, analytics, software, and databases over the internet. Back in the days before cloud computing, organizations used to rely on their local servers to host their in-house applications and storage of data.
Cloud computing has changed all this; companies no longer have to spend thousands or even millions of dollars building local computing infrastructure. They can simply rent computing resources and storage they need from any of the cloud computing providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, and many more.
AWS is still the most popular cloud computing service provider with a market share of over 33%. For the most of this article, AWS will be our major focus since it is the most popular option and the one with the most services.
Cloud computing services delivery models
1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
This is a cloud computing delivery model where providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud offer users computing resources, storage, and application programming interfaces (APIs) that they can use for their various workloads. AWS has a wide range of services that users can choose from based on their computing and storage needs.
Some of the most of most used ones include Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2) for computing and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for storage. With these services, users pay for what they need. For instance, EC2 gives you the option to choose the number of CPU cores and the amount of RAM you need for your application.
AWS has more than 200 services that developers and other professionals can choose from to get their work done.
2. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS is a cloud computing delivery model where the service providers host software development tools on their servers. These tools are mainly used for building and testing applications before they are deployed on the web for final consumers to use. Some of the popular PaaS platforms include Google App Engine, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and Salesforce's Lightning Platform.
These platforms provide all the tools that developers need in their app development cycle. Many of these PaaS platforms also host the software after it is developed. However, a developer can choose to host their software on another platform of their choice.
3. Software as a Service (SaaS)
This refers to a cloud computing delivery model where providers deliver software applications via the internet. The target market for SaaS applications are final consumers. SaaS applications can be accessed by anyone via their mobile device or computer. Some of the popular SaaS platforms include Google WorkSpace, Microsoft 365, HubSpot, Salesforce, Shopify, and many more.
Benefits of using cloud computing services like AWS
Cost is one of the reasons organizations are shifting from local computing to cloud computing. With cloud computing companies pay for the specific resources they need. Services such as Amazon’s EC2 give users the option to pay based on the exact computing resources they are using. That means costs only go up when your application is being used the most.
2. It is much easier to scale up
Cloud computing service providers like AWS allow you to get more resources for your application with just a few clicks. You also have the option of automating this process. Scaling up with local computing requires procuring and configuring new servers which is time-consuming and costly.
3. Deploying apps in different regions
Applications deployed on a server that is geographically closer to you run faster than those deployed further away. AWS has computing infrastructure in up to 26 geographical regions spread out across all the five continents, including North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Australia. So, developers can deploy their apps in regions where they expect most of their users to be located.
4. Unlimited storage capacity
No, matter how much space you need, cloud services like Amazon’s S3 got you covered. As we shared earlier, you have the option of paying for the exact kind of space you need. So, you can always increase the size based on your storage demands.
5. Data security
AWS and other cloud computing providers spend billions of dollars on the security of their platforms. So, if you deploy your app on any of the top-rated platforms, you will be assured of top-notch security.
Cloud computing is one of those fundamental technologies that is affecting almost everyone in a certain way. Enterprises and businesses now rely on IaaS platforms to deploy apps without having to incur the huge costs of buying and maintaining servers. On the other hand, developers and other professionals are using PaaS platforms to build, test, and deploy apps.
And finally, final consumers now use SaaS applications to do power-demanding tasks like photo editing without necessarily having to buy expensive and powerful computers. As long as you are using the internet, you will at some use a cloud computing service.