Cloud Computing – A Comprehensive Introduction, Service Model Types & Main Characteristics

Over the course of the past few years, cloud computing has gained significant popularity due to its flexibility, scalability, self service capacity, and affordability. Having so many names like cloud computing, cloud, cloud server hosting, and cloud hosting etc., it becomes difficult to understand what this technology actually does and how it works in the real world. If you are having the same confusions, it is completely okay because you are a part of a larger audience who is not fully aware of it.

Cloud computing, unlike conventional hosting alternatives, use virtual technology to utilize an underlying network of physical servers. For the sake of clarity, let’s take the physical servers as big servers that offer you the resources whenever you require them. Cloud computing offers shared computing resources, software, or data through the internet. Please note that it is the most common way of accessing the cloud i.e. via the internet. However, other mediums include dedicated networks and intranets. The resources provided by cloud computing include servers, applications, software, storage, platforms, and other services. A very large group of people, organizations, and other users utilize these shared services. One such example of cloud storage is Google Drive, where people having their accounts can easily store and access their important documents whenever needed.

Main Characteristics of Cloud Computing

In cloud computing, there are five basic characteristics that make it different from the conventional hosting services. Let’s take a look at them one by one:

Broad Network Access

Cloud computing services are deployed over a network regardless of its nature. For example, the services can either be deployed on a dedicated network, intranet, or the internet. This is the reason why these services can be accessed by anyone at anytime and anywhere on any device. However, it will require the right credentials.

Self-Service

Through cloud computing’s on demand self-service, the users can easily access the applications, software, emails, data stored, or the server services without any human interaction. It empowers the users to set up their account with the seller, create billing, and choose the cloud computing services they need. All of it is possible with just one web-based service portal that is very easy to use.

Tailor-Made Service

One of the best features of cloud computing is that the users only have to pay for the service they choose to use. In simple words, the users only pay in arrears for the services they have utilized, thus the savings are quite high.

Scalability

There is absolutely no doubt in the fact that cloud computing services are extremely scalable and flexible. The cloud resources can be rapidly supplied to the users and empower them to meet the demands. Whenever you need the resources, you can access them without any unwanted delays.

Pooled Resources

With cloud computing, multiple users can use the same physical resources with a separate environment for each client. These resources from the physical servers can be pooled from different services in numerous locations and data centers. This ensures connectivity under all scenarios. Even if one data center is down, the resources will be pooled from other data centers in other locations, so the risk of failure is minimized.

These 5 main characteristics of cloud computing suggest that the service is extremely useful not just for individuals but organizations and enterprises as well. This is the reason why making an investment in this model can be beneficial for the business in the long run.

Service Models of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has three main service models and each of them holds its own significance. These include:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Let’s discuss each one of them in detail.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS (software as a service) is arguably the most used cloud computing service model. SaaS is especially designed for developers and organizations looking to make it big by utilizing the business specific applications developed mostly by third parties. In this service model, the service provider known as vendor hosts both the data and the application. The user enjoys the leverage to use the services from anywhere. What distinguishes SaaS from other applications is that it is deployed over a network and can be accessed through the program interface. The services provided through software can be anything including inventory control, database processing, and even email.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

This is a type of cloud computing that provides the users with tools to develop software. These tools are hosted on a cloud infrastructure. Under the PaaS environment, the developers can make use of the resources of a cloud provider to develop and host applications on their platforms. These platforms are maintained and operated through the internet. One of the best benefits of using this service model is that it allows the users to run the current applications or develop their own without any worries of maintenance of the server hardware or the operating systems. All the infrastructure to develop the apps are provided by the vendor i.e. the service provider. There are many successful applications developed through this cloud computing service model and many new are being developed on a regular basis.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a type of cloud computing that offers networks, storage, system software, and virtual servers to the users with complete functionality of a data center. The users are able to use the systems and computers of the vendor without bearing any costs of maintenance. The resources including storage, servers, and managed network with virtualization layers deployed with an objective to provide the users with convenient solutions. Some of the biggest examples of this service model include: RackSpace Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Go Grid.

Users can choose their own service model based on their requirement. Besides the service models, there are three types of cloud solutions. These include public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud. We will cover these three types in our next posts. If you are looking for cloud computing services, you can contact us and book a free consultation with us. Our team will also guide you to choose the right service model if you are uncertain as to which service to choose. For more information, just send us an email to [email protected] and we will get back to you.

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