"If someone asks me what cloud computing is, I try not to get bogged down by definitions. I tell them that, simply put, cloud computing is a better way to run your business!” – Marc Benioff, Founder, CEO, and Chairman of Salesforce.
Clouds today are so much more than bringers of rain and pleasant weather. All over the IT world for the last decade, the cloud has been a very important and massive part of technology. Cloud computing is one of the defining IT technologies amongst technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Robotic Process Automation, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality. We’ve all heard about the cloud, and it is likely most of us use the cloud in one way or the other at a personal level – be it Dropbox or iCloud services (such as iCloud email sync). The true power of the cloud is at the enterprise level, and that is what is truly fascinating! As of 2018, the cloud services industry was worth a massive $182.4 billion! As per estimates, it is expected to grow to $214.3 billion by the end of 2019. (Source: Gartner Press Release April 2019)
As per Microsoft Azure’s website definition, “cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently and scale as your business needs change.”
In other words, the cloud does away with local hardware requirements. Maintaining a server can be tedious and quite difficult for a corporation. The hardware and maintenance itself can increase the cost quite rapidly. With cloud computing, the user needs to pay only for the part of the cloud he is using. The burden of the physical server, security, maintenance, etc. are all up to the service provider!
There are 4 types of cloud services – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Serverless Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS).
Let’s take a simple example. A young entrepreneur named Jane wants to start an online business. So, she sets up a server from her home on her own computer and takes the required initial steps. Quickly, traffic picks up and her personal computer is unable to handle this sudden increase! Now, she buys a server configuration, hardware and sets it up. All is well for a few weeks until the server reaches capacity. Her venture is growing quickly, and she is keeping up the work and employing staff to help her, but the server issue is a bottleneck to traffic. What can she do? She is forced to buy another server unit. As these units increase in number, she must provide cooling for them to run even in the summer! She is also facing the difficulty of complying with the latest server protocols, keeping on top of the fastest server settings and making sure none of her server’s malfunction! For this, she must now hire a team to look after her servers. At this point, a Cloud Solutions company reaches out to her. They tell her that she can ditch her private infrastructure and all the related costs. Instead, they will simply move all her data onto their cloud platform and take care of the cloud management for a fee! This is an ideal solution for Jane because not only will this reduce costs but will allow her to focus her energies on her core work!
In any IT environment, a cloud is strictly considered an upgrade over traditional options. Cloud storage provides the following massive advantages:
Here are some of the popular cloud service providers:
The adoption of cloud services is the way forward for any industry in the IT field in the 21st century. Offline data centers will soon be obsolete, and it is paramount that companies keep up with the current trends. The cloud is faster, safer, more secure, cheaper and simply a more efficient solution for businesses to adopt. There is a massive global market for cloud services with many competitors, including big names like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Alibaba as well as specialized cloud companies all vying to deliver the best possible solutions for end-users!