What is Cloud Computing?

What is cloud computing and why is it so important for us to know about it well it might help to understand cloud computing by putting it into historical context let’s take a look at why cloud computing is considered the third wave of computation and what were the first two.

Cloud Computing

First Wave – Mainframes

The first one was mainframes we had a mainframe computer or a mini computer depending on the size of your organization and all of the processing. And storage took place on that mainframe system we accessed that mainframe through dumb terminals that could pass text into the mainframe and receive video output from the mainframe in order to do our work.



Now the good news about this was that the mainframe could distribute resources to many many users. And if a user wasn’t using their terminal then those resources could be given to a different user in a shared system. Now of course the downside of the mainframe is that those dumb terminals had to be located fairly close to the mainframe and what that meant is that we had a computing center and to do any work.

We had to go to the computing center that evolved over time and we had mainframes talking to other mainframes the early internet but still for the most part we had a dumb terminal connecting to a smart mainframe.

Second Wave – PCs

Micro Computers and what the micro computer does also referred to as a personal pc is it puts the processing and the storage right on your desktop. And that meant that you didn’t have to go to the computing center you could actually do computing and processing.

You could store files on your desktop on your office at home wherever you might be and of course laptops came out so we were transportable and of course we now have smartphones where we have tons of Computing power right in the palm of our hands.

You could store files on your desktop on your office at home wherever you might be and of course laptops came out so we were transportable and of course we now have smartphones where we have tons of Computing power right in the palm of our hands.



Now the downside of that of course is that that meant resources were distributed all across organization. So a model evolved from that called the client server model where dedicated servers were used to store information like shared files a file server or email servers in order to control email within organization.

And then those all became connected through the internet so we wound up with a global network or Through a wide area network. Where we could connect different parts of organization or just on premise as a local area network the point here being is that that second wave was a client server scenario where we had distributed processing power distributed services and we would then consolidate those in a server client model.

Third Wave – The Cloud

The cloud kind of takes the best of both of these worlds how did the cloud even begin. Well take a company like Amazon who offers amazon web services as that company grew they found that they had more resources than they were currently using. But they built their infrastructure for growth then somebody had the bright idea.

That said you know what why don’t we connect our resources to the internet and why don’t we allow people to store their files on our infrastructure. So that if they’re using multiple devices they can just use the internet to connect to our infrastructure and that copy of the file will be available across all their devices.



You may be familiar with this if you use a service such as iCloud. If you take a picture on your phone it automatically appears on your Mac, because what’s really happened is it’s gone from your phone to the apple cloud and from the apple cloud to your mac. So what’s happening here is you have access to all of your resources but all of your resources are safe they’re Being backed up on the cloud.

They’re being controlled by you in terms of saying here’s what I want to upload here’s what I want to download and the very early cloud services really were more about file sharing services like drobox services like Microsoft’s OneDrive which used to be called SkyDrive so you can see that that was the birth of the cloud.

Data Center Evolution

Well of course these Data Centers have evolved vastly. So what’s happening is we now have amazon web services which offers a whole host of different services that you can use amazon’s infrastructure rather than having to build your own. Microsoft’s, Azure, IBM cloud, Google cloud services, iCloud these are some of the big providers of these data center services.



And what we do is we can take any device even a low-powered device we can connect up to that infrastructure that’s located on a data center that belongs to someone Else. And then what we can do is use those services and this can be pretty extensive.

For example let’s say I have a computer at home it’s a little bit of an older computer and it doesn’t have a lot of power but I want to do some sort of deep analytics or I want to start working with artificial intelligence or machine learning. My computer’s processor and storage might not be capable of doing that. But I can basically go to the cloud and just rent a portion of Microsoft’s infrastructure in order to accomplish those tasks.

And this is made possible because of course the pervasiveness of the internet around the world we have a network of networks that allows us to connect pretty much with any device. Obviously the cloud’s not going to be useful for you if you have no internet access but the cloud is basically infrastructure that belongs to someone else that you can rent on a temporary Basis.

Business Benefits Of The Cloud – Elastic

Want to start a new service one of the big obstacles that we had if we wanted to start any type of it company in the past is that I had to have a certain amount of money just to buy an initial infrastructure just to do things like proof of concept with services like Amazon web services azure all of them IBM.

we can go and purchase just as much bandwidth as we need just as much computing power as we need and. If we only have 10 or 11 customers for my product we don’t have to purchase an entire infrastructure that’s capable of serving thousands of customers.

Just on the chance that will grow and if it grow then what we can do is simply scale up operations in the cloud on an as needed basis. And if we find that we have a Seasonal business where during certain seasons we don’t need as much power. We can scale that back you can’t do that if you purchase your own infrastructure you’re stuck with whatever you bought whether it meets your needs or whether it over exceeds capacity so that’s a huge benefit of the cloud.

3 Different Types of Cloud Services

SaaS

There are many many services on the cloud everything from storage to Artificial intelligence machine learning internet of things data analytics. However we can sort of break these into three rough categories the first category is one that most people are familiar with it’s SAAS or software as a service.

These are things like google docs or Microsoft office 365 and what they allow us to do is run applications from the cloud we don’t have to install anything on our computers we don’t have to make sure that we meet the hardware requirements. We don’t have to make sure that we have all sorts of specifications in terms of enough processing power or enough storage space.



We simply connect through a web interface to those services and start creating documents start creating presentations doing whatever that we might need to do. Now those are very useful now some applications don’t lend themselves very well to this everybody says what about video games. There are some attempts to do some video games in the cloud.

Software as a service has evolved and we can do many things all the way from personal productivity applications all the way up to things like customer relationship management sales force and even website design. We can go in and we can build off-the-shelf websites very easy without having to do any of the back-end coding.

PaaS

But what if you do want to do some of the back-end coding. What if you want to use things in the cloud but you want to write the software yourself or you want to configure it in a unique way. Well that’s the second type of cloud service we have it’s called Platform as a Service and a classic.



Example, of this might be something like a database maybe you’re writing an application and you need a place to store the data. Maybe that data is going to be accessed across the globe and you want to have the cloud service provide geo-redundancy you want to be able to scale up and scale down your data needs on it as you need that.

And you can do that through platform as a service in this case what you’ll do is you’ll have a little bit more control Over the back end the configuration of the database. Those types of things and then what you’ll do is you’ll write the front end so in this case you control quite a lot of the infrastructure not the infrastructure you control. Quite a lot of the platform and then the cloud provider provides all of the infrastructure backup redundancy and so on.

IaaS

If you want to control the infrastructure that’s called infrastructure as a service or IaaS. Now In this case you’re really going to the cloud provider they’re providing the resources but you’re configuring the infrastructure around those resources.

In this case you’re responsible for things like managing how and when things are backed up doing things like network configurations on virtual networks and much more of the architecture. But with a great deal of control so we have software as a service you don’t have a lot of control of what’s happening in The background but you don’t care you’re just using the software platform as a service.



You have a lot of control over the specific platform such as a database or an email server but you don’t really have to worry about the infrastructure and infrastructure as a service where you adopt much more of the responsibility. But you get to run it on other people’s equipment the cloud provider and have a lot of control over how things work.

Now there are some new things coming out as well for example, windows 365 offers desktop as a service where you can use the cloud to connect to an entire operating system that’s running in the cloud. And we’re seeing more and more services being offered by cloud providers as time goes on everything from simple consumer level photo protection.



So every photo you take is loaded up to say apple’s iCloud and you don’t have to worry if your computer gets lost or if something happens to your iPhone all your photos of your family are safe. And we know this was a big concern in the past we spent a lot of time when setting up individuals so that they wouldn’t lose photos.

With the advent of the cloud that’s no longer something you need to do you can simply have the photos load up to iCloud. And if anything happens to their computer they just get a new computer log into their iCloud account and you get your photos as same as before.

Concerns About The Cloud

I would be remiss if I said the cloud’s perfect there are some concerns that people have with the cloud. And a good example of this is people think that these cloud companies are going to read your data or somehow act in a nefarious way. That’s being a little bit paranoid and if you’re very very concerned about this for example, if you were a government agency or if you had highly sensitive data.



There are two Things one the cloud providers have separate cloud services for the government and two you can use things such as encryption but for the average consumer. What we can do is we can look and say to ourselves who’s going to be better able to secure my data myself without the computer expertise to set up security and configuration or a dedicated team of 24×7 by 365 professionals.

That are always there always monitoring and always looking for threats and attacks against my data. Cloud services because it allows even the smallest of companies to have access to a data center that is worth millions upon millions of dollars.

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid Cloud we’re seeing a lot of these enterprise companies have some services on their premise and some services in the cloud and as the servers start to reach their end of life. What they’re doing is called a lift and shift where they’re taking their server that used to be on premise and they’re putting the exact same thing into the cloud.

This is really where infrastructure as a service comes into play because it’s quite easy to do with Infrastructure as a service other companies are being as they say born in the cloud. They’re actually building their company around a value proposition that doesn’t include them being an I.T company.

For example, A company that wants to provide some local service and they can just simply use software that’s available in the cloud or they can use the platform of the cloud to develop their own software. We have a number of Clients that have gone completely to the cloud and if they open up a new location it takes literally anywhere from half a day to maybe a day to get them completely up and running.



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