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Ultimate guide to cloud computing

What is simple cloud computing? Cloud computing is the provision of on - demand computing services - from applications to storage and processing power - typically online and pay - as - you - go.

How does computing in the cloud work?

Companies can rent access to anything from applications to cloud service provider storage instead of owning their own computing infrastructure or data centers.

One advantage of using cloud computing services is that companies can avoid the upfront cost and complexity of owning and maintaining their own IT infrastructure and, when using it, simply pay for what they use.

In turn, cloud computing service providers can benefit by delivering the same services to a wide range of customers from significant economies of scale.

What services are available for cloud computing?

Cloud computing services now cover a wide range of options, from basic storage, networking, and processing to natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and standard office applications. Almost any service that doesn't require you to be physically close to your computer hardware can now be delivered via the cloud.

What are cloud computing examples?

Cloud computing supports a wide range of services. This includes consumer services such as Gmail or cloud photo backup on your smartphone, but services that allow large companies to host all of their data and run all of their applications in the cloud. Netflix also relies on cloud computing services to run its video streaming service and a number of other organizations.

For many applications, cloud computing is becoming the default option: software vendors are increasingly offering their applications as internet services rather than as stand-alone products as they attempt to switch to a subscription model. Cloud computing, however, has a potential downside in that it can also introduce new costs and new risks for businesses that use it.

Why is cloud computing called?

A fundamental concept behind cloud computing is that the service's location is largely irrelevant to the user, and many of the details such as the hardware or operating system it runs on.

It is with this in mind that the cloud metaphor was borrowed from old telecommunications network schemes, in which the public telephone network (and later the internet) was often represented as a cloud to denote just that it didn't matter-it was just a cloud of things. This is, of course, over-simplification; the location of their services and data for many customers remains a key issue.

What is the cloud computing history?

Cloud computing as a term has been around since the early 2000s, but the concept of computing-as - a-service has been around for a long, long time-as far back as the 1960s, when computer offices would allow companies to rent time on a mainframe instead of buying one on their own.

These 'time-sharing' services were largely overtaken by the rise of the PC which made owning a computer much more affordable, and then in turn by the rise of corporate data centers where companies would store vast amounts of data.

How important is the cloud?

According to IDC research, building cloud computing infrastructure now accounts for more than a third of all IT spending worldwide. Meanwhile, expenditure on traditional, in-house IT continues to slide as computing workloads continue to move into the cloud, be it public cloud services offered by vendors or private clouds built up by companies themselves.

451 Research predicts that around one-third of enterprise IT spending will be on hosting and cloud services this year "indicating a growing reliance on external sources of infrastructure, application, management and security services". Analyst Gartner predicts that by 2021 half of the global cloud-based enterprises will have gone all - in.

According to Gartner, global spending on cloud services will reach $260bn this year up from $219.6bn. It's also growing at a faster rate than the analysts expected. But it's not entirely clear how much of that demand is coming from businesses that actually want to move to the cloud and how much is being created by vendors who now only offer cloud versions of their products (often because they are keen to move to away from selling one-off licences to selling potentially more lucrative and predictable cloud subscriptions).

Cloud computing benefits

The exact benefits will vary depending on the type of cloud service being used, but basically using cloud services does not require companies to purchase or maintain their own computing infrastructure. No longer buying servers, updating applications or operating systems, or dismantling and disposing of hardware or software when outdated, as the supplier takes care of everything.

It may make sense to switch to a cloud provider for commodity applications such as email, rather than relying on in-house skills.

Using cloud services means businesses can move faster on projects and test concepts without prolonged procurement and large upfront costs, as companies only pay for the resources they consume. Cloud advocates often refer to this concept of business agility as a key benefit.

The ability to spin up new services without the time and effort associated with traditional IT procurement should mean that is easier to get going with new applications faster. And if a new application turns out to be a wildly popular the elastic nature of the cloud means it is easier to scale it up fast.

Which are the big companies in the cloud computing?

There are really just a few giant cloud providers when it comes to IaaS andPaaS. Leading the way is Amazon Web Services, and then the following pack of Microsoft's Azure, Google, IBM, and Alibaba. While the following package may grow rapidly, according to data from the Synergy Research Group, their combined revenues are still lower than those of AWS.

What's cloud computing's future?

Cloud computing, despite its long history, is still at a relatively early stage of adoption. Many businesses are still considering which and when applications to move. Use, however, is only likely to escalate as organizations become more comfortable with the idea that their data is somewhere other than a basement server. We're still in the cloud relatively early.


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