Types of Cloud Computing: All you need to know!
For years, companies had to build their computing infrastructure, which meant having a dedicated server that staff members could access via company-managed terminals.
When a company grew, it had no choice but to spend more money to scale up. Small companies found their growth hampered by the significant IT investment needed to get to the next level.
What if a third party could rent out its massive computing infrastructure safely, remotely, and reliably at much lower prices?
Cloud computing relies on a robust IT infrastructure based on server farms around the world. Via stable internet connections, companies anywhere can access vast amounts of processing power and storage capacity.
Cloud computing allows users to run their software programs, save their data, and generally run their businesses from:
- Any place
- On any device
- With no fear of downtime
Cloud technology creates an unbreakable network of computing services that are:
- Highly available and
- Highly efficient
Cloud computing has developed into several distinct forms suited to the different needs of the organizations using them.
What are the different types of cloud computing?
Depending on your needs, there is a cloud computing model that is perfect for you. Organizations have different requirements, and there are four types of cloud computing models to cater to everyone.
Each type of cloud computing technology aims to fulfill a distinct segment of the computing market. A small family business will not be looking for the same cloud computing services as those of a large government agency. To better assess your company’s needs, here is an overview of the different types of clouds.
1. Public Cloud
Public clouds get their name from their design intent: All resources, such as hardware, software, supporting infrastructure, are owned and operated by the cloud provider, e.g. Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud.
Public cloud space is available to everyone, and their extensive scalability of cloud resources is adaptable to every need. Cloud Customers can access popular web applications like Google Docs on Google Cloud Services at no additional cost.
Using public cloud space doesn’t mean that your stored data (including documents), is accessible by "the public". Within a public cloud, your purchased cloud space is a "private zone" where you decide whether and to whom to grant access to your data.
Main features of public clouds
- Provide both cloud services and infrastructure.
- Offer the best solution for collaborative projects such as software development.
- Public clouds are flexible and can be pay-as-you-go: Usually, basic features are free, but premium features come at a cost.
- Public clouds are perfect for many types of businesses. For instance, small companies can safely rely on Google Cloud Services to offer vital company document storage services. You can find out what cloud services are used for and how to make the most of them.
2. Private Cloud
A firewall protects private clouds and all cloud resources (hardware, software etc.) are used by one organization exclusively which makes them particularly safe.
Cloud security is essential for banks, hospitals, or government agencies. These institutions require strict data safety, why therefor they had to build and maintain their own computing infrastructure before cloud computing. Only authorized users can access computing resources within a secure network (closed system) of a private cloud!
Main features of private clouds
- High emphasis on security.
- More expensive than public clouds as high safety comes at a cost.
- Advanced business continuity to private cloud owners as they are resistant to external disruptions: necessary for essential services such as financial transactions.
As they are purpose-built for one organization, their storage and functional capacity is naturally limited. This is different from a public cloud with its design to be rapidly scaled up as needed.
3. Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid clouds are a combination of public clouds and private clouds. For instance, Uber (platform-based ride-hailing) and Airbnb (accommodation booking) use a hybrid cloud model.
They profit from the public cloud’s flexibility during high-demand seasonal peaks while keeping their sensitive customer data in private clouds.
Main features of a hybrid cloud: They combine the scalability of a public cloud with the security of a private cloud. In Uber’s case, the public cloud aspect is perfect for map usage data that is not highly private and scalable cloud resources depending on traffic peaks, such as the number of ride requests during rush hour. Nevertheless, confidential client information is safe (an aspect of a private cloud). Data can easily be transferred back and forth between platforms securely when needed.
4. Community Cloud
Community clouds are typically a group resource used by several organizations that share the same performance, compliance, and safety mandates. Drug companies often collaborate on community cloud platforms to share information and statistics around public health.
Main features of a community cloud: They aremanaged privately for safety reasons. As they work in the shared interest of organizations, they are often a combination of many private clouds. One example of this could involve collaboration between many government agencies. Each user acts like a tenant that pays to rent space and resources in the community cloud.
A word on the Multi-Cloud Model
Some organizations are so large and complex that a single public or private cloud won’t meet their computing requirements. In this case, a multi-cloud model can be a right choice. This integrated hybrid platform fuses private and public cloud solutions in the way a business needs.
For example, gaming companies might want to invest in clouds closer to high-traffic geographies to increase responsiveness.
Which type of cloud suits me? It depends on your needs. Small family businesses, large private enterprises, or government agencies, for instance: Each of them can find a home within the cloud computing types.
What Are The Four Types of Cloud Computing Services?
Once you have decided on the right cloud computing type, you must understand the different services in cloud computing. If you were speaking to a partner about a private cloud solution, you would need to drill into what kinds of services you can get within that type of cloud.
1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS is the most basic service. IaaS is a flexible solution where the provider manages the physical infrastructure, which includes:
- Storage for data
- Operating systems
The service is scalable, but at the same time, customers can choose to use only as much as they want. Typical examples of this include Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) IaaS service options.
Infrastructure as a Service is the right choice for startups that don’t have the time or money to create their hardware and software. IaaS offers services such as web hosting, storage, backup, and recovery.
2. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS provides the platform required to test and deploy software products. Examples of companies that offer this are Google App Engine and Apache Stratos. PaaS is perfect for companies that develop software and applications.
PaaS can make it easier for developer teams to work on the same projectat the same time. You can even add teams from external partners to collaborate on your project on the same platform. PaaS is known as a cost-effective option that simplifies a process like rapid app development.
3. Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service, a full-suite software solution. With SaaS, you don’t need to download software onto your company network or endpoint. As you are accessing it in the cloud, it takes away the time-consuming tasks such as installing and upgrading software. SaaS is on the rise in the COVID-19 age, as shown by the growth of Salesforce, Cisco WebEx, and Google Workspace.
FaaS is often referred to as ‘serverless’ computing, meaning that you can develop and maintain your applications on the cloud service provider’s infrastructure. This way, you don’t have to invest in the infrastructure required to build an application.
Sometimes, web applications don’t work the way they should because of broken pieces of code. With FaaS, your developers can fix the code on the cloud service provider’s infrastructure with limited disruption.
Like all cloud service types, customers can choose to only pay for what they use, making FaaS tools like AWS Lambdas, Azure Functions, and OpenFaaS some attractive pay-as-you-go options.
The best-known cloud computing platforms: The dominant players are active across all four types of computing services. Other service providers are active only in certain areas. Here are some best-known cloud computing companies:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Cloud Services
- IBM Cloud
- Dell Technologies Cloud
Like all services, cloud computing has great benefits but also some drawbacks. Here’s what you need to consider:
What are the benefits of cloud computing?
Here are the main benefits of cloud computing:
High scalability: It can be instantly scaled up or down to meet client needs. Accessible anywhere: Businesses can access cloud applications with low latency from anywhere on the globe.
Lower costs: It removes the need to invest in hardware infrastructure and data center that can remain underutilized.
Automated updates: Removes the productivity-crushing downtime that traditional computing services suffer from.
Disaster mitigation plans: It can help businesses recover quicker from damaging setbacks as data and systems are under the cloud provider’s control.
High security: Is Cloud Hosting Secure? Cloud hosting and computing reduces the risk of dangerous cyber-attacks. Different types of security policies in cloud computing all strive for maximum safety.
Flexibility: Offers game-changing accessibility on any internet-enabled device anywhere, at any time of day or night.
Fosters collaboration: It enables superior collaboration between remote teams.
Are there any downsides to cloud computing?
There aren’t many disadvantages to cloud computing, but here are some cloud computing risks you need to consider:
Dependency on internet connection: If your internet connection is unstable, your cloud computing experience will not be ideal.
Security: One of its greatest strengths can also be a weakness. By entrusting our data to cloud service providers, we understand that there is always the potential of a data breach.
Downtime (unlikely): Cloud providers work hard to maintain uptime, but they are not perfect. AWS went down in 2017 and caused business disruption to many customers.
Lock-in: It’s still not easy to switch between vendors. Migrating to another platform can be hard work if the two are not compatible.
Vulnerability to failure: Let’s face it; we give a crucial part of our business continuity to a third party. With that comes susceptibility to failure.
Cloud computing has changed the way organizations think about computing. In the past, each organization had to invest in its own IT infrastructure, which in many cases was not its business core function. Now everyone can safely outsource their infrastructure and software needs to a third party and be agile enough to focus on the reason they are in business.
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