CLOUD COMPUTING TODAY
Whether you are running applications that share photos to millions of mobile users or you’re supporting the critical operations of your business, a cloud services platform provides rapid access to flexible and low-cost IT resources. With cloud computing, you don’t need to make large upfront investments in hardware and spend a lot of time on the heavy lifting of managing that hardware. You can access as many resources as you need, almost instantly, and only pay for what you use.
Cloud computing provides a simple way to access servers, storage, databases and a broad set of application services over the Internet. A Cloud services platform such as Amazon Web Services owns and maintains the network-connected hardware required for these application services, while you provision and use what you need via a web application.
Cloud Computing has several unique and essential characteristics such as :
- On-Demand Self-Service
Most flexibility that users can access cloud resources in a buffet-style fashion on an as-needed basis without the need for lengthy negotiations with the service provider.
- Rapid Elasticity
A cloud computing term for scalable provisioning, or the ability to provide scalable services.
- Broad Network Access
Cloud services are accessed via the Internet form almost anywhere and from almost any Web-enabled device.
- Resource Pooling
An IT term used in cloud computing environments to describe a situation in which providers serve multiple clients, customers or “tenants” with provisional and scalable services.
- Measured Service
Typically provided using a utility computing model, where customers pay only for what they use, and the metering depends on type of resource.
Cloud Computing Models
There are three main models for cloud computing. Each model represents a different part of the cloud computing stack.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service, contains the basic building blocks for cloud IT and typically provide access to networking features, computers (virtual or on dedicated hardware), and data storage space. Infrastructure as a Service provides you with the highest level of flexibility and management control over your IT resources and is most similar to existing IT resources that many IT departments and developers are familiar with today.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
In this model, customers can run their own applications, which are typically designed using tools provided by the service provider. The user has control over the applications but has limited or no control over the underlying infrastructure.
- Software as a Service
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a method for delivering software applications over the Internet, on demand and typically on a subscription basis. With a SaaS offering you do not have to think about how the service is maintained or how the underlying infrastructure is managed; you only need to think about how you will use that particular piece software. A common example of a SaaS application is web-based email where you can send and receive email without having to manage feature additions to the email product or maintaining the servers and operating systems that the email program is running on.
Six Advantages and Benefits of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running on-site datacentres – the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. It adds up fast.
- Increase speed and agility
In a cloud computing environment, new IT resources are only ever a click away, which means you reduce the time it takes to make those resources available to your developers from weeks to just minutes. This results in a dramatic increase in agility for the organization, since the cost and time it takes to experiment and develop is significantly lower.
- Global scale
The benefits of cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. In cloud speak, that means delivering the right amount of IT resources—for example, more or less computing power, storage, bandwidth—right when its needed and from the right geographic location.
On-site datacentre’s typically require a lot of “racking and stacking”—hardware set up, software patching and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for many of these tasks, so IT teams can spend time on achieving more important business goals.
The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure datacentre’s, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate datacentre, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.
Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity easier and less expensive, because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.
Valacich & Schneider (2016), Information System Today : Managing in the Digital World, 7th edition. Pearson. Chapter 3