What is Cloud Computing Technology? | Types, Platforms, Architecture
Cloud computing technology is a modern technology based on the internet and network, which provides users services in multiple ways.
Cloud computing technology provides the speed, scalability, and flexibility that enables businesses to develop, innovate, and support business IT solutions.
In definition, Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage (cloud storage) and computing power, without direct active management by the user. (Wikipedia)
Advantages of Cloud Computing
Cloud-based software offers companies from all sectors a number of benefits, These advantages are:
- Ability to use software from any device either through a native application or a browser.
- It enables users to move their files and settings from devices to device effortlessly.
- It allows users to check their email on any computer and even store files using services such as Dropbox and Google Drive.
- It make it possible for users to back up their music, files, and photos.
- It offers big companies huge cost-saving potential.
- It also lets users upgrade software more quickly because software companies can offer their products via the web rather than through more traditional, tangible methods involving discs or flash drives. For example, Adobe customers can access applications in its Creative Cloud through an Internet-based subscription. This allows users to download new versions and fixes to their programs easily.
Types of Cloud Computing
There are basically 4 main types of cloud computing technology which are:
- Private Clouds
- Public Clouds
- Hybrid Clouds
Private clouds can be defined as cloud platforms dedicated only to a single end user or group, where the platform usually runs behind that user or group’s firewall. All clouds become private clouds when the underlying IT infrastructure is dedicated to a single customer with completely isolated access.
But private clouds no longer have to be sourced from on-premise IT infrastructure. Companies are now building private clouds on rented, vendor-owned data centers located off-premises, which makes any location and ownership rules obsolete. This has also led to a number of private cloud subtypes, including managed private clouds.
In managed private clouds, users create and use a private cloud that’s deployed, configured, and managed by a third-party vendor. Managed private clouds are a cloud delivery option that helps enterprises with understaffed or underskilled IT teams provide better private cloud services and infrastructure.
Public clouds are cloud platforms typically created from IT infrastructure not owned by the end user. Some of the largest public cloud providers include Alibaba Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.
Traditional public clouds always ran off-premises, but today’s public cloud providers have started offering cloud services on clients’ on-premise data centers. This has made location and ownership distinctions obsolete.
All clouds become public clouds when the platforms are partitioned and redistributed to multiple tenants. Fee structures aren’t necessary characteristics of public clouds anymore, since some cloud providers (like the Massachusettes Open Cloud) allow tenants to use their clouds for free. The bare-metal IT infrastructure used by public cloud providers can also be abstracted and sold as Infrastructure as a Service, or it can be developed into a cloud platform sold as Platform as a Service.
A hybrid cloud is a single IT platform created from multiple platforms connected through local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), virtual private networks (VPNs), and/or APIs.
A hybrid cloud include the following:
- At least 1 private cloud and at least 1 public cloud
- 2 or more private clouds
- 2 or more public clouds
- A bare-metal or virtual environment connected to at least 1 public cloud or private cloud
But every IT system becomes a hybrid cloud when apps can move in and out of multiple separate yet connected platforms. At least a few of those platforms need to be sourced from consolidated IT resources that can scale on demand. And all those environments need to be managed as a single platform using an integrated management and orchestration platform.
Multiclouds are a cloud approach made up of more than 1 cloud service, from more than 1 cloud vendor public or private. All hybrid clouds are multiclouds, but not all multiclouds are hybrid clouds. Multiclouds become hybrid clouds when multiple clouds are connected by some form of integration.
A multicloud platform might exist on purpose (to better control sensitive data or as redundant storage space for improved disaster recovery) or by accident (usually the result of shadow IT). Either way, having multiple clouds is becoming more common across enterprises that seek to improve security and performance through an expanded portfolio of platforms.
Cloud Computing Services
Cloud computing services are categorized into 4 main services; Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Functions as a Service (FaaS) though FaaS is a relatively new Cloud service model. These are sometimes called the Cloud computing stack because they build on top of one another.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) contains the most basic building blocks for Cloud infrastructure and offers services on tops of it such as renting IT infrastructure (virtual or physical) and networking features. IaaS mainly includes Cloud-based services on a pay-as-you-go model. A user pays for computing services on IaaS because it is the fundamental platform to build new technologies.
Platform as a service (PaaS)
Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) refers to the supply of on-demand tools for developing, testing, delivering, and managing software applications. PaaS delivers a framework for developers and IT architects to create web or mobile apps that are scalable, without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network, and databases needed for development.
Software as a service (SaaS)
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a method for delivering on-demand software applications through Cloud on a subscription basis. A Cloud storage provider takes care of managing the Cloud infrastructure and offers SaaS applications over the internet to a user that are accessible via a native app or a web browser. These applications are also available on multiple devices which can be accessed from anywhere.
Functions as a Service (FaaS)
Functions as a Service (FaaS) adds another layer of abstraction to PaaS so that developers are completely isolated from everything in the stack below their code. FaaS is the concept of Serverless Computing. Instead of handling the stress of virtual servers, containers, and application runtimes, they upload narrowly functional blocks of code and set them to be triggered by a certain event. FaaS applications consume no IaaS resources until an event occurs, reducing pay-per-use fees.
Architecture of Cloud Computing Technology
Cloud Computing Architecture is a combination of components required for a Cloud Computing service. A Cloud computing architecture consists of several components like a frontend platform, a backend platform or servers, a network or Internet service, and a cloud-based delivery service.
The Architecture of Cloud computing contains many different components. It includes Client infrastructure, applications, services, runtime clouds, storage spaces, management, and security. These are all the parts of a Cloud computing architecture.
Cloud computing architecture are divided into two. They are;
- Front End
- Back End
The client uses the front end, which contains a client-side interface and application. Both of these components are important to access the Cloud computing platform. The front end includes web servers (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc.), clients, and mobile devices.
The backend part helps you manage all the resources needed to provide Cloud computing services. This Cloud architecture part includes a security mechanism, a large amount of data storage, servers, virtual machines, traffic control mechanisms, etc.
Limitations of Cloud Computing Technology
In as much as the advantages of cloud computing technology is enormous, It is undeniable that this technology also has some limitations and disadvantages. The risks of cloud computing you should know includes:
- Data confidentiality/Privacy Risks – There is always a risk that user data can be accessed by other people. So data and cloud protection and security must be good because if it won’t be dangerous for data confidentiality.
- Absolute dependence on internet connectivity – The internet is the only way to cloud computing. When there is no internet connection in your place, or the internet path to the cloud provider is in trouble, automatically access to your cloud computing machine will be disconnected.
- Security – By using a cloud computing softwares, we have fully entrusted with the security and confidentiality of data to companies that provide cloud computing servers.
- Compliance – This refers to the risk of a level of compliance deviation from the provider against the regulations applied by the user.
- Vulnerability to Cyber Attacks – Cloud Computing software systems work online and this exposes your data to wide range of malicious attacks is the systems are not secured properly by a trusted cloud security company.
- Technical problem – The cloud servers experience technical issues from time to time and this leaves you completely in the hands of your CSPs to bring your business back online. In some cases, it incurs some cost to fix.