You would have heard iPhone users saying “All my images are on iCloud” and all the google drive users saying, “It’s not on my laptop, its in my drive”.
So what is this “drive” or the “iCloud”, if its physically not there, where is it? You probably would have wondered where all these images, documents you saved, went. This is where the concept of Cloud and Cloud computing come into play.
What is a Cloud?
Cloud is considered as a network of servers that can be accessed over the internet. It can,
1. Store and manage data
2. Run applications
3. Deliver content
In addition, it also enables users to access data from any device.
What is Cloud Computing?
It can be considered as the delivery of services such as “Software”, “Storage” over the internet. One of the main purposes of cloud computing is to give users, the access to data across multiple devices.
Now that we know about clouds and users, the next question is, who is providing and managing the cloud? Who is storing all the data?
Cloud providers come between the cloud and the end users. They are responsible for,
1. Providing physical hardware and software required to execute the work
2. Keeping the cloud up to date
Among the services they provide are,
· Compute power
The most commonly known cloud providers are AWS, Azure and Google Cloud.
When it comes to deployment, there are 3 major cloud deployment models.
- Public Cloud: Gives users, the access to a system and its services. Public clouds are managed by third party vendors such AWS, Azure as mentioned above. Therefore, no infrastructure cost is added.
- Private Cloud: With architecture similar to that of public cloud, this type of cloud is as a matter of fact “Private” and hence there are boundaries when it comes to accessing data and services. To ensure the privacy, when deploying this type of cloud, the infrastructure has to be created on your own private premise.
- Hybrid Cloud: As the name implies, this type of cloud is a hybrid of both public and private clouds. Sensitive data can be stored on a private cloud created within a premise and public data can be made available on a public cloud.
Now let’s discuss why you should move to Cloud computing
- Scalability: Depending on the workload, you can easily increase or decrease, resources and services at any given time. You can scale both vertically and horizontally.
- Cost effective: If you look into public cloud, there is zero upfront cost of infrastructure and since the payment is calculated according to the consumption (aka pay-as-you-go), you only have to pay for the resources that you are using. [You can buy and pay for additional resources whenever needed and you can also stop paying for resources that no longer needed]
- Elasticity: As mentioned earlier, you can change your resources according to the workload. If more resources are needed, you can add them and remove them when it’s not needed.
- Current: When it comes to the public cloud, it is maintained by the cloud provider. Therefore, we don’t have to maintain software or hardware.
- Reliable: If a component fails, there’s another to take its place, summing up to a high fault tolerance.
- Redundant: To increase redundancy and locality, you can easily replicate the services into multiple regions.
- Secure: Sophisticated security features make sure your data are secure and avoid the risk of cyber stealth.
As great as it sounds, cloud computing has a downside to it. Here’s what you should look out for when you migrate into the cloud.
- Downtime: Cloud is internet-based, making cloud based applications prone to service outages.
- Security: With the high security provided by third party vendors, storing sensitive data in an external server is risky. In addition to that, since most of the elements of the cloud are online, the vulnerability to attacks are high.
- Control: Since, the infrastructure is entirely sorted out by the provider, you cannot control the infrastructure to your likeness.
- Vendor lock-in: Migrating from one vendor to another vendor is difficult due to differences in vendor platforms as a result the chance of being locked on to a single vendor becomes high.
In the upcoming articles we’ll discuss more into deployment models and categories of cloud computing