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What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing refers to the on-demand availability of computer system resources, such as data storage, and some can be used without the need for active management by the user/users. Many different services offer public cloud computing, the most popular being Amazon Web Services, Salesforce CRM System, and Microsoft Azure.

It is broken up into two categories, IaaS or Servers (computers) and Services. Servers are running your companies servers or workstations in the cloud. This is almost always more expensive than running them in your own environment, but there are businesses and reasons that make sense to use this. If you use these types of services you will always need to provide your own management of these servers. It is not included in the base price.

SaaS or services are things like Office 365, Google suite, Quickbooks Online, Salesforce CRM, and the like. These are almost always less expensive to host in the cloud than you could locally. At worst you break even in many cases, and the additional reliability, extra services, and stability give even more value. Many of these can be used with fewer management services or none at all, but they can be very complex and may need you to have a management company on retainer, as well.

Many businesses today make great use of cloud computing as it allows employees to share applications, stay on the same networks, access additional data storage, and other services that may be needed at a moment’s notice by the user. The biggest advantage of cloud computing is that it can provide all of these services from anywhere, allowing your employees to never miss a beat.

Types of Cloud Computing Available

There is a wide array of services when it comes to cloud computing. However, most cloud computing falls into these basic categories:

Software as a Service (SaaS)

This type of cloud computing is built to deliver applications over the internet through a computer’s browser. Businesses that make use of sales often use the SaaS cloud computing model, as it is easy to use and even gives the option for the business to develop their own modifications and additions to the applications they are using. This allows them to change the way the cloud works to match their business model and needs. Among the most popular SaaS cloud computing services are Google’s G Suite and Microsoft Office 365.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS provides storage and computer services on a pay-per-use basis. In other words, companies that rely on IaaS cloud computing only pay for the applications and storage that they need and nothing else. However, there are a lot of services that are provided in IaaS that go beyond the realm of just storage. Here are some of the services that IaaS cloud computing can offer to users:

  • Highly scalable databases
  • Virtual private networks
  • Data analytics
  • Developer tools
  • Machine learning
  • Application monitoring

Among IaaS cloud computing providers, the leaders in the industry are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

When it comes to businesses that require sharing tools and assets between coworkers to function, PaaS may be their best bet. PaaS cloud computing offers sets of services that make it easier to share work and tools between users, allowing for easier processing, and uses APIs to accelerate development testing and quicker deployment of applications. Among the most popular PaaS services on the market are Salesforce’s Heroku and Red Hat’s OpenShift.

Functions as a Service (FaaS)

FaaS is usually paired with IaaS cloud computing, as FaaS removes the need to have a server to access the cloud. This is done by uploading functional blocks of code and causing them to react with certain events, such as submitting a form or uploading new data. By doing this alongside IaaS, major cloud computing companies allow businesses to access more applications without tapping into IaaS services until needed. This reduces the pay-per-use fees that would have occurred with just IaaS.

The Five Essential Characteristics of Cloud Computing

All cloud computing providers should have these essential characteristics:

  • On-Demand Self Service: A user should be able to access cloud computing services at any time without the need for human interaction.
  • Broad Network Access: All services, capabilities, data, and applications stored on the computing cloud should be available for use by common computing platforms such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations.
  • Resource Pooling: The cloud computing service provider should allow for resources to be pooled together to serve a multitude of users no matter what virtual or physical resources they have available to them. This is extremely important as users should be able to have access to important resources no matter where they are at; this includes storage, process, memory, and network bandwidth.
  • Measured Service: Resource usage should be able to be monitored, controlled, and reported on to help provide transparency for both the provider of the service and the users.
  • Rapid Elasticity: The capability and resources of cloud computing need to be able to scale rapidly or be pulled back to match user demand. This allows cloud computing to handle what is needed at the time and nothing more to protect both the system and the business from paying more than they need to.

Cloud Computing Deployment Models

There are four deployment methods in which cloud computing can operate. These are as follows:

Public Cloud refers to the infrastructure that is provisioned for open use by the general public. This type of cloud computing can be owned, managed, and operated by a business, school district, or government organization.

Private Cloud refers to the infrastructure that is created for the exclusive use of an individual or an organization. This type of cloud computing is owned, managed, and operated by a third party, the organization, or individual themselves, and often exists off the premises of the organization or individual using it.

Government Cloud refers to a Private Cloud that is dedicated to Government use with Government level security.

Community Cloud is an infrastructure that is used specifically by a community of consumers from an organization that shares similar interests, such as a mission or security requirement. It is often owned and managed by one of the organizations in the community though it can also be managed by a third party.

Hybrid Cloud is an infrastructure that is used exclusively by a single organization that is made up of multiple consumers. They are owned, managed, and operated by the organization or a third-party provider.

Having trouble deciding what kind of cloud computing would be best for your business? Let the experts at Blue Jean Networks help! Our team of knowledgeable IT experts can not only advise you on the best practices for your business’s IT needs, but we can also provide you with around the clock support. Take your business to the next level and contact Blue Jean Networks for your managed IT needs or for more information on cloud computing.