What is Cloud Computing?

Last Updated on January 5, 2023

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort. These resources are typically available over the Internet and accessed through web-based interfaces.

It allows users to access and use computing resources without the need to have knowledge of, expertise in, or control over the underlying technology infrastructure. This model can provide users with the ability to access a wide range of resources, including applications, storage, and computing power, on an as-needed basis and with minimal upfront costs.

How Cloud Computing Works

Client devices can access data and cloud applications from distant physical servers, databases, and computers via the internet to explain how cloud computing functions. The front end, which consists of the accessing client device, browser, network, and cloud software applications, and the back end, which consists of databases, servers, and computers, are connected by an internet network connection. The back end serves as a repository, holding the information that the front end can access.

A central server controls communications between the front and back ends. The central server uses protocols to speed up data exchange. To control connectivity between various client devices and cloud servers, the central server makes use of both software and middleware. Usually, each distinct application or workload has its own dedicated server.

The technologies of virtualization and automation are crucial to cloud computing. Through the use of virtualization, users can quickly abstract and deploy services and the underpinning cloud systems into logical entities. Users can provision resources, connect services, and deploy workloads with a high degree of self-service because of automation and the related orchestration capabilities, all without requiring direct assistance from the cloud provider’s IT personnel.

Types of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing can be divided into three categories: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Application programming interfaces (APIs) are provided by IaaS providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), to enable users to move workloads to virtual machines (VM). Users are given a certain amount of storage space and are free to start, stop, access, and modify the virtual machine and storage as needed. For different workload requirements, IaaS providers provide small, medium, big, extra-large, and memory- or compute-optimized instances in addition to providing instance customisation. For commercial users, the IaaS cloud model is the most similar to a remote data centre.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

The PaaS concept places development tools on the infrastructure of cloud providers. Using APIs, web portals, or gateway software, users can access these tools online. PaaS is utilised for the creation of all types of software, and numerous PaaS service providers host the finished product. Salesforce’s Lightning Platform, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and Google App Engine are examples of popular PaaS platforms.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a service (SaaS) is a method of distributing programmes via the internet; these programmes are frequently referred to as web services. Users can use a PC or mobile device with internet connectivity to access SaaS applications and services from any location. Users get access to databases and application software under the SaaS model. The productivity and email capabilities provided by Microsoft 365 are typical examples of SaaS applications.

Read more: IaaS vs SaaS vs PaaS: Introduction to Cloud Computing Models

Cloud Computing Deployment Models

There are 5 main deployment models for cloud computing: public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, community cloud, and multi-cloud.

Public cloud: A public cloud is owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider, which provides access to computing resources over the Internet. Users can access these resources on a pay-per-use basis and do not need to worry about the underlying infrastructure. This model is suitable for users who do not have the resources or expertise to set up and maintain their own infrastructure.

Private cloud: A private cloud is owned and operated by a single organization and is used exclusively by that organization. The resources in a private cloud are dedicated to a single organization and are not shared with other organizations. This model is suitable for organizations that have sensitive data or regulatory requirements that prevent them from using a public cloud.

Hybrid cloud: A hybrid cloud is a combination of a public cloud and a private cloud, in which an organization can use both types of clouds to meet its computing needs. This model allows an organization to take advantage of the benefits of both public and private clouds, such as the ability to scale up quickly in the public cloud and the security and control of a private cloud.

Community cloud: A community cloud is a type of cloud computing service that is shared by a group of organizations that have similar requirements and concerns. A community cloud can be privately owned, or it can be owned and managed by a third-party service provider.

Multi-cloud: Multi-cloud refers to the use of multiple cloud computing services from different vendors in a single heterogeneous architecture. Instead of using a single cloud provider, an organization may choose to use multiple cloud providers in order to diversify its risk, reduce vendor lock-in, and take advantage of the unique features and pricing of each individual cloud provider.

Read more: The 5 Cloud Deployment Models (with their pros and cons)

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Deploy globally in minutes

With the cloud, you may quickly deploy globally and grow to new geographic areas. For instance, AWS offers infrastructure all over the world, allowing you to quickly deploy your application in several physical locations. Applications that are located nearer to end users have lower latency and provide better user experiences.


With cloud computing, you can handle future peaks in business activity without having to over-provision resources now. As an alternative, you only provide the resources that you truly require. As your company’s demands change, you may scale these resources up or down to immediately increase and decrease capacity.


You can easily access a wide variety of technologies thanks to the cloud, which allows you to innovate more quickly and create almost anything you can think of. You may instantly spin up resources as you require them, including the Internet of Things, machine learning, data lakes, analytics, and infrastructure services like computation, storage, and databases.

Technology services may be deployed quickly, allowing you to move from idea to implementation much more quickly than in the past. This allows you the flexibility to try new things, test novel customer experience concepts, and reinvent your company.

Cost savings

With the cloud, you can swap out fixed costs (such as data centres and physical servers) for variable costs and only pay for the IT you actually use. Additionally, because of the economies of scale, the variable costs are considerably cheaper than what you would spend to do it yourself.

Data and workload mobility

Users that save information in the cloud can access it using any device and any internet-connected location. Users no longer need to carry along many CDs, USB drives, or external hard drives in order to access their data. Smartphones and other mobile devices can be used to access company data, allowing remote employees to stay in touch with coworkers and clients. The cloud makes it simple for end users to process, store, retrieve, and restore resources. Additionally, cloud vendors immediately supply all upgrades and updates, saving time and effort.

Cloud Computing Challenges

Many businesses are still weighing their options when it comes to moving their on-premises operations to the cloud. The promise of trouble-free, cloud-based information systems continues to be a distant dream for the majority of enterprises. Despite the fact that cloud computing is widely used, the majority of installations today are brand-new applications in private clouds run by in-house IT employees. Although this is quickly changing, the great majority of enterprise apps and infrastructure are still on-premises.

But IT leaders frequently hold off on entrusting crucial applications to cloud service providers, in part because they can’t see a clear migration path for firmly established legacy assets and in part because they’re unsure of whether public cloud services are prepared to meet enterprise requirements. They have good reason to be wary because the majority of public cloud products are characterised by a lack of enterprise-level management tools, a lack of flexible deployment options, and a limited degree of compatibility between on-premises and cloud systems.

Read more: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Cloud Computing

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