What Is It All About? – Cloud Computing Demystified

‘Cloud Computing’

At first glance, it sounds like IT jargon that is only meant for IT professionals but in reality, we put to use the core elements of cloud computing in our day-to-day lives – at home and even in the office at work. Even some of the world’s biggest businesses and systems are now migrating to cloud computing because of its huge returns and benefits. 

So let’s break it down, step by step. 

What is Cloud Computing?

Basically, or in simple terms, cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of computing services (for example servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics) over the internet. 

It provides a simpler way of accessing all these computing services over the internet. 

The “Cloud” is the internet and the companies that offer these computing are called cloud providers. Companies that offer these computing services are called cloud providers and typically charge for cloud computing services based on usage, similar to electricity or water bills. 

Cloud Computing Is Everywhere

We all use cloud computing every day but we just don’t know it. For example, using an online service to send emails, edit documents, watch TV download videos, listen to music, play games or store pictures and other files, is all made possible by cloud computing. 

Types of Cloud Services

There are three types of cloud services;

  1. IaaS (Infrastructure as a Source)
  2. PaaS (Platform as a Source)
  3. SaaS (Software as a Source)

 

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Source): This is the most basic category of cloud computing. Here a company or developers can rent IT infrastructure (servers, storage, operating systems, virtual machines) from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Examples of IaaS are Google Compute Engine (GCE), DigitalOcean

PaaS (Platform as a Source): This refers to cloud computing that supply an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering and managing software applications without necessarily setting up and managing infrastructure of servers, network, database and storage needed. 

Examples of well-known PaaS are Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS)

SaaS (Software as a Source): As compared from the past where software would be purchased outright and loaded onto a device, SaaS refers to a subscription based service where the software is hosted in the cloud and accessed via the internet.  The cloud providers hosts and manage the software applications and infrastructure. They are also responsible for the maintenance (that is software upgrades and security patching).

Examples of well-known SaaS are Google Apps, Netflix, Office 365 e.t.c. 

Brief History

Cloud computing can be traced back the 1960s. This is when the computer industry realized the huge IT revolution that could be birthed by delivering computing as a service or as a utility but due to the lack of connectivity and bandwidth need to execute cloud computing, this couldn’t be done up until the 1990s when cloud computing as a service became practical. 

From there, Salesforce created one of the first commercially successful implementations of the cloud computing. In 2002, AWS came into the picture offering a range of services which included storage and computation.