At its simplest level, cloud computing means using someone else’s computer. This gives you rapid access to computing power, storage, and network services that can help you scale your operation up or down, depending on your requirements.
Cloud is a technology buzzword with many meanings. Dropbox is cloud. Microsoft Office 365 is cloud. Salesforce is cloud. Any software that you access via the Web is technically cloud. ‘Cloud’ is so prominent in today’s technology industry lexicon, that it is hard to remember a time without it.
The standardization of ‘cloud’ is very recent though. Consider that a 2004 review of the Beta release of Amazon Web Services never mentions the word ‘cloud’. And ‘cloud’ does not show any prominence in Amazon’s blogs until 2006!
By the time the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) published a definition of Cloud in 2011, the NIST researchers had at least seven years to observe the rise and evolution of cloud computing to guide their definition:
“Cloud Computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”
There are five key traits that cloud infrastructure has:
- On-demand self-service – the self in self-service can be an individual person or an individual corporation
- Broad network access
- Resource pooling
- Rapid elasticity
- Measured service
Cloud services can generally be broken down into three service models: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Each of these has a similar component stack. The difference is which parts of the stack are managed by the provider and which are handled by the consumer.
The Deployment Model for Cloud is delineated less along the lines of ‘where’ the Cloud is deployed and more along the lines of ‘with whom’ the Cloud is shared. There are a variety of models that can be used to deploy cloud services in any given business.
Public cloud solutions are readily available from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and others. Public cloud services provide infrastructure and services to the public. You or your company can secure a piece of that infrastructure. Resources are shared by hundreds or thousands of people. Google reported in April 2017 that it had 1 billion monthly users. While your email account is protected by a password, the hardware on which it is stored is shared by over 1 billion people.
In contrast to public cloud computing, a private cloud is typically hosted within a company’s firewalls. Alternately, some companies host their private cloud with an external third-party provider, which allows these deployments to tap into external compute resources on an on-demand basis.
At its most basic, a hybrid cloud joins together a public and private cloud with an encrypted connection and technology that makes data portable. The key here is that both clouds remain separate, independent entities while also having one or more touch points in common. A hybrid cloud is not the same as simply relying on cloud services for some functions and a private cloud for others.
For some organizations, a hybrid cloud represents an intermediary step between their old on-site data storage and processing setups and transitioning entirely to the public cloud. For others, hybrid cloud solutions enable them to leverage the scalability of cloud computing while maintaining the integrity of their data and ensuring compliance with regulatory mandates and compliance standards.
Multi-cloud is a deployment model that involves using multiple cloud services from multiple public cloud hosting providers, often in combination with on-premises physical, virtual, and private cloud infrastructure.
Adopting Cloud for your business allows for an incredible amount of innovation and an overwhelming array of options. If you’re unsure about how to start assessing the various applications for your business, the folks at CCSI are here to help. We’ll ensure that your configuration meets your daily operational, security, compliance, and back up needs.
How are you utilizing the cloud? Does your company use a public, private, or hybrid cloud solution?
Migrating applications and data services to the cloud is fraught with risk. While businesses expect improved flexibility, cost and control, many don’t anticipate the application performance problems that can arise due to significant infrastructure changes. Learn the challenges that will need to be tackled before making the jump to the cloud in this free whitepaper.
Author Bio: Joe Goldberg is the Senior Cloud Program manager at CCSI. Over the past 15+ years, Joe has helped companies to design, build out, and optimize their network and data center infrastructure. As a result of his efforts, major gains in ROI have been realized through virtualization, WAN implementation, core network redesigns, and the adoption of cloud services. Joe is also ITIL certified.