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Everything you need to know about the cloud

Undoubtedly the growth of cloud computing has been one of the biggest trends in technology within the last decade. More companies are recognising the advantages of moving to the cloud – but why? Everything you need to know about the cloud is right here.

The ‘cloud’ has become part of a dictionary of buzzwords used by computing professionals. However, the average person is still unsure of what the cloud actually is and what the benefits of it are.

At Cloud With Me we want to make the cloud more accessible. To people who lack the time or expertise to use Google Cloud or AWS themselves. To developers who need a streamlined system to keep on top of their servers and websites. Check out our website to view the full list of our services here.

What is cloud computing?

“The cloud” has developed and evolved in recent years into a vast ecosystem of products and services. But at its core, cloud computing is basically the use of third-party computing power that delivers services over the internet.

Companies do this by setting up large scale computing operations, known as data centers. That means businesses will essentially host their computing power in these data centers. Rather than going through the expense of setting up their own infrastructure. This can be a very costly expense and only really an option for a large scale business or corporation.

How does it work?

Instead of owning their own computing infrastructure or data centers, companies rent access to these centers, which gives them capabilities for a range of services, including storage, hosting and networking.

A major benefit of using the cloud is that firms avoid the upfront cost and complexity of maintaining their own computing centers, and only pay for what they use.

Cloud computing services cover a vast range of options now, from the basics of storage, networking, and processing to more modern practices which include artificial intelligence as well as standard office applications. Any service that doesn’t require you to be physically close to the computer hardware that you are using can now be delivered via the cloud.

So, is the cloud just the internet?

This is a common misconception about cloud computing. While some aspects of the cloud do correlate with what we consider as the traditional internet – it represents much more than that. It is the sharing of computing power between devices worldwide. Services are provisioned based on the needs of the individual or organisation – with a practically limitless resource pool to work with.

These application services are accessed over a network—and not necessarily a public network. Three distinct types of cloud deployments exist: public, private and a hybrid version – which is gaining plenty of traction in recent times.

Public Cloud

Resources for the public cloud are offered dynamically to its user as requested and frequently under a pay-per-usage model. A public cloud is made accessible to the public by a provider in charge or hosting and maintaining data centers within the cloud infrastructure. Popular providers of public clouds include Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services, all of which are available via Cloud With Me.

Private Cloud

The private cloud is more akin to what we know as traditional computing power. Private cloud is usually deployed in the data center and under the network using its cloud computing technologies i.e it is developed for and maintained by a solitary organisation. These will tend to be larger companies or bodies which need to have a dedicated computing system within the cloud.

Hybrid cloud

The rising star of cloud computing in 2018. The benefits of both the public and private cloud are obvious – but what if you could have the best of both worlds? Many large corporations in certain sectors (such as financial institutions) want the efficiency, flexibility and scalability of public cloud, but the added security and peace of mind which comes with private cloud. Hybrid cloud offerings continue to provide the same amount of service but all within your control.

Big players

While the emergence of the cloud is a relatively recent phenomenon, most of the main players in the cloud market come from established tech giants. While it may be a surprise to someone just learning the ropes of cloud computing, the largest global provider is actually Amazon, through its cloud platform Amazon Web Services. Many eyebrows were raised when Jeff Bezos’ company expanded into computing systems, but the company has had the last laugh and now controls more than 30% of the total market.

Microsoft Azure is catching up, with plenty of businesses benefiting from historically having their data and computing power hosted on Microsoft software. Google Cloud is also on the up, with some very big clients migrating to the platform in recent years. Among the other main players are IBM and AliBaba.

Advantages

Quick deployment

For many small and medium businesses it’s likely that they don’t have huge IT departments. Or massive teams of developers able to maintain their own servers. Cloud computing allows even the smallest of businesses and even individuals set up and maintain computing networks.

Managing large data centers is not within the budgets or possibilities of most companies. Their time is often much better spent focusing on the core of their business and cloud computing allows them to do that.

Cost

Out of all the facts relating to the pros and cons of cloud computing, the cost argument perhaps holds the strongest weight. The cost of running your databases, websites and apps is significantly less than traditional methods. This is because they don’t have to physically maintain any servers.

The cloud is available at much cheaper rates and hence, can significantly lower a company’s IT expenses. Upgrade costs will also end up being lower as there is no hardware to replace.

Backups

One of the major advantages of the cloud is that it offers the ability to store information in a complex network of servers rather than on any hardware device. That you don’t have to worry about saving all your files on a single device. They can be maintained and secured easily and quickly online.

Programmes like Google Docs are based on cloud technology, as they can automatically save and store information without the user having to physically store it on their hardware.

‘Unlimited’ storage

While not technically unlimited, the amount of storage you can use is a key point. The cloud relies on making use of the vast array of space available in computers around the world, so in theory there is endless capability in terms of storage.

Scalability

Due to IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), you can quickly build out new infrastructure to support new applications. As the load on your application gets bigger you can scale by provisioning new servers. If you need to increase the size of your servers to support loads that cannot scale horizontally, you can provision larger servers to support the increased demands.

Challenges

Security

In theory, making use of the public cloud means a third party shares access to your data. While the majority of what we do on the internet today involves third parties, there are some who believe that they should keep all their data in their own hands. Your cloud infrastructure can be as secure or as insecure as you make it.

Technical Issues

While all hosting solutions are prone to downtime periodically, cloud hosting is part of that group too. As your information on the cloud can be accessed anytime and from anywhere at all, there are times when this system can misfunction.

 


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