What you should know about cloud computing
There is so much talk about cloud computing these days but it is a new concept for most people whether in business or not. It is the word ‘cloud’ that causes confusion. What can be the relationship between ‘clouds’ and ‘computers’ – one wonders. The reason is that the word ‘cloud’ brings to mind a black-grey rain cloud or white clouds in a blue sky. However, this new concept of cloud is shaking the IT enterprise. With development of technology, we find new ideas and concepts being introduced and new vocabulary is added to language, baffling the human brain. ‘Cloud computing’ is one such new term and so much in vogue already that it is high time one gathers basic knowledge about it.
What is cloud computing?
Let’s make it as simple as possible. When you use a computer, you are familiar with terminology like hardware and software and you know that it exists in your PC. You know that it allows you to ‘compute’ data, making manual tasks and calculations, drawings and figures simple and automatic. ‘Cloud computing’ has left this procedure far behind and you may not even be aware that some of the ‘computing’ you do these days is managed by hardware located in ‘clouds’ high up somewhere and not the hardware in your PC. Cloud computing is boosted by the internet and cannot function without it. There was a time when data processing services were conveniently outsourced to service companies that had their own expensive computer systems. Many companies are finding, once again, that buying in computer services makes more business sense than do-it-yourself. This new trend is called cloud computing.
Cloud computing means that instead of all the computer hardware and software you’re using sitting on your desktop, or somewhere inside your company’s network, it is provided for you as a service by another company and accessed over the Internet, usually in a completely seamless way. Exactly where the hardware and software is located and how it all works doesn’t matter to the user. It is just somewhere up in the nebulous “cloud” that the Internet represents. Hence, cloud computing is just another name for IT outsourcing. Some people look upon it as an IT service that you use, that exists outside your Firewall. In the simplest terms, cloud computing means using a server that is located somewhere in an unknown place, called the ‘cloud’.
What is special about cloud computing
Data management: The service is provided by a service company that manages your data on your behalf. No purchasing licenses or software. No need to worry about viruses. There is no need for you to worry about saving documents or creating back-ups. Google manages everything for you.
On-demand services: You do not have to invest in software on a permanent basis. You can avail of the services when you need them. Subscribe for a limited period and liberate yourself from the contract when you don’t need the software. Buy the amount of cloud services as and when you need them, stop, and go for them again. Particularly when your needs are unpredictable, this plan works best.
Customized services: There are a number of software and computer services that you need for different purposes. Handling emails, upgrading data, de-cluttering the inbox, running anti-virus, managing scam messages and so on. A busy official cannot afford to waste time in these tasks, yet they need to be done. Cloud computing handles all these tasks regularly, promptly and efficiently. You can get only those services that you need and ay only for what and how much you use. Just like a water-supply bill or electricity bill.
Flexibility: With cloud computing, you can quickly ramp capacity up and down to match your needs. There are some business types that have boom times and slow times. With cloud computing, you can manage busy days and slack periods conveniently.
Refreshing infrastructure: Sometimes, companies adopt new technologies which require updated computer systems and software and better servers. Cloud computing allows the use of the latest servers and software to meet your technical needs. You do not have to pay for and arrange for a new server every time you introduce something new.
Expanding data centres: Many companies run out of data space and have to provide for the additional space. This can be done automatically and easily with cloud computing.
Cost reduction: On the whole, the several benefits of cloud computing add up to profits by reducing investment, maintenance costs and salary / training costs on staff. Along with money, a great deal of time is also saved, leaving the staff free to concentrate on more important core tasks.
Types of cloud computing
Three different types of cloud computing can be identified, although there is a slight overlapping amongst them.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): It means the use of complete office applications on another’s computer. Examples include Google documents and Web based emails.
- Infrastructure as a Service ( IaaS): It refers to raw computing hardware like servers and storage. Ordinary web hosting is a simple example of IaaS: you pay a monthly subscription or a per-megabyte/gigabyte fee to have a hosting company serve up files for your website from their servers.
- Platform as a Service ( PaaS): It implies the development of applications using Web-based tools. The applications run on hardware and software tools provided by an outside company. So if a website has a payment gateway or shopping cart, it runs on another’s server. Google app engine is an example.
These are just the basics of cloud computing that one must know in order to be with the times and take the best advantage of available technology as it progresses.
Zerone HiTech, a wholly owned IT subsidiary of Al Sulaiman Holdings, State of Qatar, offers products and solutions on IT, Telecom Infrastructure and Software Solutions for the fulfilment of requirements of Large and Small Enterprises. Zerone has a technically strong, dedicated & motivated service oriented team focused on fulfilment of customer requirements and business needs. Zerone HiTech understands the technology blended business and has expertise in deployment of total IT Infrastructure and Software on a turnkey basis.