We are all aware of how rapidly technologies are being developed. Some of us may even try to refuse to adapt to technological changes but only until they make a huge impact on our everyday lives. Cloud computing is one of such changes. The Internet had become an integral part of our lives quite some time ago, and we have been relying on it ever since. With online services becoming so widely used, both IT pros and common people are forced to pay attention to all the concepts related to cloud computing.
It is clear that the cloud computing is the buzzword of this decade. But what does it exactly mean?
If you’d try to search for the definition of cloud computing online, you are likely to get several different ones. First of all, you might want to be reminded of what does the cloud refer to:
- The Cloud is nothing but a synonym for the Internet. This originates from a cloud-like graphic which was used to represent the remote resources connected via the Web.
When it comes to cloud computing, the simplest way of defining it is to say that:
- Cloud computing refers to using virtual servers, i. e. using the web applications instead of those that are installed on your computer. The things that fall into the category of cloud computing are: online backup services, online storage services, social-networking services, etc.
Having resolved this, let’s see why it is so important these days. It is natural that the advances in IT require more efficient solutions when it comes to infrastructure. Considering the fact that computers are so widely used these days, the costs of storing all these data are increased. Therefore, cloud computing appeared to be just the right stuff for maximizing IT capabilities.
Though cloud computing is still in its infancy, there is a large number of cloud services, as well as their providers. However, some of the most important concepts related to cloud computing are:
- SaaS or Software as a Service, which represents one of the main elements of cloud computing. In essence, it is an online application provided by a vendor and delivered via the Internet. Email is one of them – you use it, someone else hosts it. The other two related categories are PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a service). The former equips a user with a platform on which he or she may develop something else. The latter provides hardware, servers or a storage space that a user can use while he or she is in charge of software.
- Utility computing – mostly associated with businesses; the companies outsource their computer support to other companies, wherefore they charge only for the services provided. The services may refer to hardware rental, data storage space, access to processing power, use of grid computing system etc. This is a very efficient way for cutting IT costs and though it is not a new concept, it is increasingly becoming popular with Amazon.com, Sun, IBM.
- MSP (Managed services provider) – provides information technology services for other companies via the Internet. This can include wide range of different services or activities, such as alerts, security, desktop management, data backup or application monitoring, etc. The companies can choose which particular activities would be guided by a provider and this helps at avoiding certain technological problems. Providers usually charge on subscription basis.
It might be said that these are some of the most important elements in cloud computing. However, as the market rapidly grows and develops, so do the concepts that relate to it. Even these mentioned above have existed for quite some time, but have not been given so much attention until now. Some few years ago it was probably strange to hear a non-IT person talk about things such as Saas, Paas, etc. Today you might encounter three or four. In future, some or all of these concepts might become integrated in anyone’s everyday language.