Cloud computing is on-demand and real-time computing capabilities delivered over the Internet. You can access cloud storage, databases, servers and software easily without a single IT setup in your office.
Cloud computing is on-demand and real-time computing capabilities delivered over the Internet. You can access cloud storage, databases, servers and software easily without a single IT setup in your office. Cloud computing has grown to be a secure, affordable, flexible and viable option for many small businesses.
What are the benefits of cloud computing?
There are many benefits of cloud computing, which has led to its wide scale adoption. Large organisations such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon, provide a comprehensive portfolio of cloud services that benefits small businesses in terms of:
Cost: cloud computing eliminates the need for you to purchase servers and software. Instead, the cost is spread across many clients, allowing cloud services to be delivered for significantly cheaper than traditional setup.
Speed: due to the scale of most cloud computing providers, they can afford significantly more powerful systems that deliver faster response times.
Global scalability: most cloud providers are large companies with significant resources to offer huge scalability and global access to the cloud. Cloud storage is one great example of scalability, where you can easily add on more storage as your business grows.
Productivity: utilising an outsourced computing solution means that in-house IT staff can focus on other tasks, which raises productivity.
Performance: because cloud computing providers have many clients, they dedicate significant time and resources to ensuring their systems are up-to-date and secure.
Reliability: similarly, with so many relying on their services, cloud service providers ensure that there are reliable failsafe and back-ups to prevent data loss and system breakdowns.
What are the main types of cloud computing services?
There are three main types of cloud computing:
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): examples include network infrastructure, website hosting, servers and cloud storage solutions like Apple iCloud, Google Cloud and Dropbox.
Platform as a service (PaaS): covers software and web development environment and operating systems.
Software as a service (SaaS): Email, CRM, ERP, business software like Google Apps, automated services, data analysis, streaming services and apps.
These services build on top of one another and interact to offer the huge capabilities of cloud computing. Together, they are called the ‘cloud computing stack’.
What does each layer of the cloud computing stack do?
Each layer of the cloud computing stack represents a layer of virtual services starting from the bottom layer of IaaS, followed by PaaS and then SaaS.
Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS): IaaS is the bottommost layer of cloud computing, which allows clients to use IT infrastructure remotely. This includes servers, data storage systems or cloud storage, networks and virtual machines. These are typically provided on a contract or a pay-as-you-go basis.
Platform as a service (PaaS): PaaS enables developers to create applications without setting up the platform required to develop, test, deliver and manage those applications. By using operating systems, development environments and databases in the cloud, software and app developers can create much more effectively.
Software as a service (SaaS): SaaS is the top layer of the cloud computing stack, which utilises IaaS and SaaS to provide usable software solutions through the internet. This means that clients only need a web browser to utilise powerful programs, which require better and more complex hardware and software than they can afford.