What Is Cloud Computing? How Does ‘The Cloud’ Work?
What is cloud computing? How does it work? The term “cloud” when talking about technology or computing, is not new. ‘Cloud’ is a metaphor for the Internet.
In fact, cloud symbols are repeatedly used to depict the Internet on diagrams. If you think of the Internet as a virtual ‘space’ that connects users from all over the globe, it is like a cloud, sharing information by the way of networks.
So, if we go back to the question of what is cloud computing, it refers to sharing resources, software, and information through a network, in this case, the Internet.
Information and data is stored on physical or virtual servers, which are maintained and controlled by a cloud computing provider, such as Amazon and their AWS product. As a personal or business cloud computing user, you access your stored information on the ‘cloud’, via an Internet connection.
What Are The Different Types Of Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing can mean many different things these days, but there’s three main categories of cloud computing services.
You might have heard about these or use them already; software as a service (SaaS), for example – Microsoft 365, platform as a service (PaaS), example – salesforce.com and infrastructure as a service (IaaS), example – Rackspace.
What Are Popular Uses Of Cloud Computing Services Today?
There has been a significant evolution in the way in which we save, store and access data. You no longer need to save documents on one particular device. You can access personal files and data from anywhere with a solid Internet service connection, at any time. That’s all because of cloud computing. The cloud storage market spoils you for choice too.
A variety of cloud storage providers are available, many of which offer free storage space. Out with file saving on floppy disks, CDs and even USB flash drives, in with cloud storage providers such as Dropbox, Box.com and Backblaze. (Sites like Cloudwards allows you to compare a range of different cloud storage providers in one place).
If you are a cloud storage user, you can access and download data on any of your chosen devices; laptop, tablet or smartphone. You can also edit documents simultaneously with other users as well, making it easier to work away from the office.
Depending on your needs, prices vary for cloud storage. As an individual user, you can usually get initial amounts of cloud storage for free – such as 5GB with iCloud, which recently dealt with some highly publicized cloud security issues.
You have to pay a fee for additional storage. Common price models include monthly or yearly rates, depending on the services you are using.
How Else Does Cloud Computing Make Work Easier?
Other prevalent cloud computing services include cloud hosting and servers, offered by companies such as Rackspace. You can see PaaS in action with our very own cloud phone service, which offers a complete cloud PBX phone system and telephony features, hosted securely in the cloud.
How Does Cloud Computing Work?
To understand the workings of a cloud computing system, it is easier to divide it into two sections: the front end and the back end. They are connected to each other through a network, usually the Internet.
The front end is the side of the computer user or client. The back end is the “cloud” section of the system.
The front end consists of the client’s computer or computer network and the application essential to access the cloud computing system. It is not necessary that all cloud computing systems have the same user interface.
On the back end of a cloud system, there are various computers, servers and data storage systems that make up the “cloud”. A cloud computing system could potentially include any computer program, from data processing to video games. Generally, each application will have its own dedicated server.
What Are Some Risks Of Cloud Computing?
Large companies often require hundreds of digital storage devices. Cloud computing systems need at least twice the number of storage devices to keep client information stored. That’s because these devices occasionally break down.
A cloud computing system makes copies of clients’ information, to store it on other devices. This method of making copies of data as a backup is called redundancy. Read about 7 cloud computing security risks in detail, by clicking on the link highlighted.
How Is Cloud Computing Managed?
A central server manages a cloud computing system. It’s purpose is to manage traffic and client demands to ensure everything runs smoothly. It pursues a set of rules called protocols and uses a special kind of software known as middle ware. Middle ware permits networked computers to communicate with each other.
How Do Cloud Service Providers Store So Much Data?
If a cloud computing service provider or company has multiple clients, there’s likely to be a high demand for storage space. It’s possible to ‘fool’ a physical server into thinking that it’s actually multiple servers, each running it’s own independent operating system.
This technique is known as server virtualization, which reduces the need for physical machines. This method maximizes the output of individual servers.
So there we have it – a very short look at what is cloud computing and how it works and some use cases and risks for this rapidly growing technology.