What is Cloud Computing? | Features | Disadvantages

Cloud Computing, in one line, is storing and accessing data over the Internet instead of doing it on your personal hard drive. The term ‘cloud’ is just a metaphor to describe the technology. Basically, cloud is nothing but a huge data center filled with tons of components like servers, routers, and storage units.

It offers services like cloud hosting, storage, networking, and more over the Internet to provide faster, innovative, flexible and secure resources to its customers. The users only pay for the resources they use, hence helping them lower their operating costs and run their business infrastructure more efficiently and securely.

There exists various companies which provide cloud services. The big names are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, Google Cloud Platform, Oracle.

Types of cloud computing

Public cloud

Public clouds are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service providers, which deliver their computing resources like servers and storage over the Internet. With a public cloud, all hardware, software and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider. You access these services and manage your account using a web browser.

Private cloud

A private cloud refers to cloud computing resources used exclusively by a single business or organisation and can be physically located on the company’s on-site datacenter. A private cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network.

Hybrid cloud

Hybrid clouds combine public and private clouds, bound together by technology that allows data and applications to be shared between them. By allowing data and applications to move between private and public clouds, a hybrid cloud gives your business greater flexibility, more deployment options and helps optimise your existing infrastructure, security and compliance.

Why Cloud Computing? Characteristics

  • Cloud computing increase users’ flexibility with re-provisioning, adding, or expanding technological infrastructure resources.
  • Cost reductions as you pay according to your utility.
  • Device and location independence enable users to access systems using a web browser regardless of their location or what device they use.
  • Performance.
  • Productivity.
  • Maintenance of cloud computing applications is easier, because they do not need to be installed on each user’s computer and can be accessed from different places.
  • Security is often as good as or better than other traditional systems, in part because service providers are able to devote resources to solving security issues that many customers cannot afford to tackle or which they lack the technical skills to address.

Service Models of Cloud Computing

Cloud Providers provide their services on various models some are listed below

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS contains the basic building blocks for cloud IT. It basically provides access to networking features, computers (virtual or on dedicated hardware), and data storage space. IaaS gives you the highest level of flexibility and management control over your IT resources.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

In the PaaS models, cloud providers deliver a computing platform, typically including operating system, programming-language execution environment, database, and web server. This helps you be more efficient as you don’t need to worry about resource procurement, capacity planning, software maintenance, or any of the other undifferentiated heavy lifting involved in running your application.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

In the software as a service (SaaS) model, users gain access to application software and databases. In the SaaS model, cloud providers install and operate application software in the cloud and cloud users access the software from cloud clients.

Serverless computing

Serverless computing is a cloud computing code execution model in which the cloud provider fully manages starting and stopping virtual machines as necessary to serve requests, and requests are billed by an abstract measure of the resources required to satisfy the request, rather than per virtual machine, per hour.

Mobile “backend” as a service (MBaaS)

In the mobile “backend” as a service (m) model, also known as backend as a service (BaaS), web app and mobile app developers are provided with a way to link their applications to cloud storage and cloud computing services with application programming interfaces (APIs) exposed to their applications and custom software development kits (SDKs). Services include user management, push notifications, integration with social networking services.

Top Companies Providing Cloud Services

  1. Amazon Web Services
  2. Microsoft Azure
  3. Google Cloud Platform
  4. IBM Cloud
  5. Rackspace
  6. GoDaddy 
  7. Verizon Cloud 
  8. VMware
  9. Hostgator
  10. Cloudways
  11. Clook
  12. DigitalOcean

Disadvantages and Limitations of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a powerful tool, but you may still find yourself trapped with certain limitations like speed, space, and availability. The level of limitations depends much on who is providing cloud service. Some limitations are:

  • Network Connection Dependency
  • Limited Features
  • Loss of Control
  • Not all cloud providers are as secure as they claim to be
  • Technical Issues
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