Cloud Computing is a type of Internet based computing where shared servers provide computational power, data storage space, and software applications to computers via the internet. Cloud computing services allow organizations to avoid capital investments in information technology (IT) infrastructure and instead pay only for what they use.
The term was coined in 1999 by NASA’s Ames Research Center vice president Harry Shum in his paper titled “Pushing the Limits: Toward Ubiquitous High Performance Computing”. In the same year, Amazon Web Services launched its first public cloud service called Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).
In 2012, Gartner Inc. estimated that over half of enterprises have at least some cloud deployments. By 2015, the market had grown to $20 billion, according to research firm IDC.
Cloud computing is often used synonymously with Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Utility computing. However, these terms do not always refer to the same thing.
Cloud computing is sometimes described as a model for enabling ubiquitous access to shared pools of configurable computing resources and associated services, which can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or interaction with IT staff.
Cloud computing is based on virtualization, automation, elasticity, on demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, measured service, and utility computing.
Cloud computing is a way of providing computer processing resources and data storage capacity as a service to users who need them online. A user pays for the time he uses the service rather than buying equipment upfront.
Cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular due to its flexibility and scalability. There are three basic models of cloud computing: Software as a Service (or SaaS), Platform as Service (or PaaS), and Infrastructure as Service (or IaaS).
Software as a Service (SAAS):
SAAS is a web application that provides hosted software as a service. Users log onto a website and download the software directly to their desktop. The provider hosts the software and makes sure it works properly. SAAS providers offer many different types of software including email, office suites, collaboration tools, databases, and instant messaging.
Platform as a Service (PAAS):
PAAS is a combination of hardware and software that runs on top of a cloud platform. PAAS providers host the operating system and middleware on the cloud platform. PAAS is similar to SAAS except that the software is installed on the customer’s own server. Customers manage the software and install it themselves.
Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS):
IAAS is a fully managed cloud environment that includes everything needed to run an application. The customer does not manage any of the underlying cloud infrastructure; the provider manages everything. IAAS providers build out the physical infrastructure, install and configure the operating systems, deploy and maintain the applications, and perform routine maintenance.
Benefits of Cloud Technology:
In cloud computing, the number of resources that you actually need. You can scale the resources up or down instantly as per your business needs.
The cloud technology allows you to pay only as you consume the resources, which means less initial capital investment, reducing the physical space and labour in hardware maintenance.