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Understanding cloud computing

In simple terms, cloud computing is having computing services such as storage, databases, analytics, networking, intelligence and even servers, available over the internet and referred to as “the Cloud”. When using cloud services, one typically only pays for the services used with a pay-as-you-go model. This helps reduce operating costs, provides the ability to run infrastructures more efficiently as well as the possibility to scale up as your business grows - which helps in reducing the initial cost.

To date, there are three main types of cloud computing, namely public clouds, private clouds and hybrid clouds.

Public Clouds

In a public cloud environment, the infrastructure is typically not owned by the end user but provided by a cloud service provider. In such an environment, all software, hardware and other infrastructure is managed by the cloud provider, with the end user having access to manage their services and account via a web portal. Some of the providers that offer public cloud computing include Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services.

Private Clouds

A private cloud environment means having a dedicated environment used by a single user or organisation with completely isolated access. Such environment could be physically located in a company’s datacentre or else offered by a third-party service provider hosted as a private cloud. In a private cloud, services and infrastructure are maintained via a private network.

Hybrid Clouds

In a hybrid cloud environment, public or private clouds are combined using technology that allows data and applications to be shared between both. As an example, a hybrid cloud could be established using one of the following:

  • 1 private cloud environment and 1 public cloud environment
  • 2 public cloud environments or more
  • 2 private cloud environments or more
Having data and applications moving between cloud environments, gives your business more flexibility and help to optimise the infrastructure and security.
Comparing cloud computing to the traditional way ends up with a significant transformation.

Top benefits of cloud computing?

Cloud services eliminate the need for buying hardware and software as well as reduces manpower requirements of setting up and maintaining such an environment.

Scalability: Cloud computing gives users the ability to scale elastically. In simple terms, each environment can have more or less storage, computing power, bandwidth etc right when needed.

Performance: In a cloud computing environment, hardware is regularly being updated to the latest generation in order to ensure that performance always remains fast and efficient.

Reliability: A cloud environment helps with making business continuity, data backups, disaster recoveries easier and is less expensive to setup. This all leads to having a more reliable system since, with a few clicks of a button, you can have the system up and running in no time.

Today, more and more organisations are shifting their workload to cloud, especially public cloud. One of the main reasons for this is to ensure that their businesses are able to compete in the new world of digital transformation, to which cloud platforms give a significant input. In fact, Gartner (Gartner Says Four Trends Are Shaping the Future of Public Cloud, 2021) is predicting an increase of $86bn in expenses for such services. The first cloud computing service was set up in less than a decade but business and organisations from start-ups to global and government corporations are using and experimenting with the technology for various reasons such as:
  • Email
  • Storage, backup, and data retrieval
  • Creating and testing apps
  • Analysing data
  • Audio and video streaming
  • Delivering software on demand
Current forecasts and predictions show that cloud computing will keep growing year after year. This will help cloud computing to further evolve and make it possible for companies in various industries to shift from traditional hosting to cloud.