Do you remember the initial days of Youtube or Google Drive? Earlier, those were the only kind of cloud computing available over the internet. It was primarily storage offered over the cloud, i.e., an online platform. You could store your photos and upload videos on the cloud and access them from anywhere.
This has evolved in many ways that anything and everything is now available on the cloud, from online data storage to whole servers for fulfilling your complex computing requirements. The possibilities are limitless with increasing career opportunities. Let’s understand the fundamentals of cloud computing and all the services provided in cloud computing.
What is Cloud Computing?
According to Wikipedia, Cloud Computing is “the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage (cloud storage) and computing power, without direct active management by the user.” In short, it is the availability of computing resources like processors, memory and storage, even network and related infrastructure over the cloud. Cloud is a term used very loosely in networking to depict a network of interconnected computers and devices, where each computer or device is addressable over the network.
A cloud service provider applies economies of scale, sharing resources with multiple tenants or clients in a discrete and independent fashion using the online platform. These resources might be spread across the globe to ensure high data resilience and availability. Cloud computing uses underlying technologies like virtualization, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Utility Computing, and the likes to power cloud-based services.
Services provided in cloud computing
There are a few basic categories of Cloud Computing services that are offered. Every service that is provided today over the cloud can be categorized under one of these three categories. A few more terms exist in this domain, but they are specialized services that are basically under the hood and one of the basic kinds of services.
The basic types of Cloud Computing Services are:
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
- PaaS (Platform as a Service)
- SaaS (Software as a Service)
Let’s talk about each in brief in the sections that follow.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
It is evident from the name that the availability of IT infrastructure and related services over the cloud is provided by IaaS. Infrastructure as a Service offers virtualized computing services over the cloud. IT infrastructure like storage, compute resources (processors, servers that include OS), networking services, and similar services via virtualization technology.
An example of IaaS is Amazon EC2. On EC2, you could hire a computing resource like a server with desirable hardware configuration, running a server operating system of your choice. You could have hundreds or even thousands of such devices on-demand, all running simultaneously.
For that matter, even simple storage for storing photos online is an example of IaaS. You are buying online storage hardware over the internet for the period you intend to use it. It also comes with a software service, which is what we will discuss next.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
SaaS offers software services over the cloud so that your IT team does not have to install it in every machine and keep track of updates on every machine. Besides, all security patches are taken care of by the service provider. The licensing of the software is based on a subscription basis.
A good example is that of Microsoft Office 365. You get to use any or all of the products in the Office 365 suite based on your subscription and all of that online, in a web browser.
The IT team now does not have to track all the software installed across multiple endpoints. No local installation is required anymore. You can use a thin client to access your software, significantly reducing your capital expenditure on IT hardware procurement.
PaaS (Platform as a Service)
Platform as a Service is popular among businesses that are into software development. With PaaS, development can be done without the need to build and maintain your own infrastructure. Modern PaaS services allow you to build and deliver anything from a simple cloud-based app to a cloud-based enterprise application. In PaaS, you purchase the virtual forms of infrastructure like services, networks, and storage and development tools, middleware, and database management systems, among other tools, that are essential for the development of applications. With PaaS, you can support the complete application development life-cycle including, build, test, deploy, manage, and update.
Other Services On Cloud Computing
There are other kinds of cloud computing services that have evolved over time, including Desktop as a Service (DaaS), Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS), Managed Software as a Service (MSaaS), Data Center as service (DCaaS), and Information Technology Management as a Service (ITMaaS).
- Desktop as a Service, usually referred to as cloud-hosted virtual desktops, is the provisioning of desktop environments on a central server.
- Mobile Backend as a Service is the provisioning of backend cloud storage for connecting the web and mobile applications to backends using API services. They typically come along with features like social networking integration, user management, and push notifications.
- Managed Software as a Service is an extension of the concept of Software as a Service, where the software that is provisioned or licensed is much more customized to the business needs of the client than an off-the-shelf solution.
- Data Center as a Service is where entire offsite data centers, services, and related facilities are provisioned over the cloud.
Some of the most popular cloud computing service providers include:
- Microsoft Azure
- Amazon Web Services
- Google Cloud
- IBM Cloud
- Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
The Bottom Line
With the increasing use of cloud computing, you can get more career options in this field. To understand cloud computing services, you will need a course or program that takes a holistic approach to learning. Great Learning is one such place where you will find a number of well-curated cloud training courses and programs. Great Learning offers online courses for cloud computing so that you can dive into this field of work.