Cloud computing has become such a must have service that those not using such services must feel as though they have been left out or are missing out on something but the reality is that we have all been involved in cloud computing and were so long before someone coined the phrase ‘cloud computing’. So what is it? It is simply an application, software or some other kind of service that we access through an internet connection rather than having it held on our own computer, hard drive, memory stick or whatever. So, for example, if you use Gmail you are using the cloud. You simply log in and Google does everything else. You do not know or care where Google does it, where it makes it all happen, it could be New York, London or anywhere else on planet earth, all you know is that Google does all the hard work and you just have to log on. That is the cloud.
In business use there are a number of reasons why cloud computing has become so popular and I’ll discuss the advantages (and disadvantages) elsewhere but probably a significant driver for the growth in this area is that it simply allows you to tap into larger resources and greater expertise than many businesses would otherwise be able to obtain. It levels the playing field. It allows the smaller companies to access expertise and cutting edge applications that would, a few years ago, have been impossible to get and it allows the larger corporations to be able to deal with huge swings in demand without the massive upfront cost in hardware and having the annoying problem of redundant, that is, capacity that has had to be paid for but which may commonly be used only from time to time.
This video, in a little over two minutes, does a good job of explaining in simple terms what cloud computing is about for those of you who may have struggled with my explanation.
Types Of Cloud Computing – Private, Public or Hybrid
Just when you are trying to adjust to the fact that this type of cloud is not the white fluffy things in the sky I should mention that across different types of services that you will see there are three different terms that you will commonly see and I’ll deal with these here. The terms are Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud. Okay one at a time.
Public Cloud. A company supplying cloud services has a data centre. Two hundred different companies (or whatever figure) share the resources; this is a public cloud.
Private Cloud. A company supplying cloud services has a data centre and your business uses this exclusively, that is, its resources are yours and yours alone.
Hybrid Cloud. Is a ‘mix and match’ of the above two. For example, you may have very sensitive data that you want held in a private cloud and less sensitive, more general data, that you are happy to go into a public cloud. This is a hybrid cloud. The reason you may do this is that using a public cloud will cost less than a private cloud will. Again for those struggling with this then watch the 5 minute video beneath where a very nice man explains it all.
I’ll break down the different cloud computing components in forthcoming articles, but you now know what the cloud is, even if you are often not aware where it is!