Introduction – What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing refers to the on-demand availability of computer system resources. Large clouds, which are common today, commonly have features distributed across multiple locations from central servers.
Advocates of public and hybrid clouds point out that cloud computing allows businesses to avoid or reduce upfront IT infrastructure costs.
It allows IT teams to more quickly adjust resources to meet fluctuating and unpredictable demand, providing burst computing capability during peak demand periods. The term is commonly used to describe data centers that are accessible to a large number of users via the Internet.
History of cloud computing
The term “cloud computing”started to appear more frequently as early as 1996. With the launch of its Elastic Compute Cloud product in 2006 Amazon popularized the technology and it’s use across web applications and enterprise environments.
The term cloud was used as a metaphor for the Internet, and a standardized cloud-like shape was used to denote a network on telephony schematics.
The origins of the technology however date back to the 1950’s with legacy mainframes created by companies like IBM which were at the time very powerful but very expensive systems that only large enterprises could afford.
It became common practice to enable multiple users from any organization to share access to the same data storage layer and CPU power. An enterprise would get a better return on its investment in this sophisticated piece of technology if it allowed shared mainframe access.
The rise of virtualization technology and growth of the internet into the 1990’s enabled more cost-effective server solutions to exist which meant that processing power could be split and divided across an array of servers enabling an organization to have access to only the resources they needed and not have to pay for an entire mainframe which contained some resources they may not use.
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Different styles of cloud computing
Cloud infrastructure is typically broken up into 3 main categories which include the following models:
This model involves a licensed subscription for a piece of software that is delivered through an app or web interface and is typically billed on a monthly or yearly basis. An example of a SaaS product would be online accounting. Other SaaS applications can be developed by a software developer like AGR Technology through dedicated SaaS Development Services.
This model is a little more complex and involves the leasing of infrastructure such as storage or compute power which is essentially a server that can be customized to run specific software or other functionality. Some common examples of this approach include AWS and Microsoft Azure, see the link above for a more detailed page about IaaS.
This last approach to cloud computing is a more complex system whereby instead of renting infrastructure or using a pre-built solution you are leasing a platform which can be built on top of. An example of a PaaS system is Heroku which is a platform used to create complex software applications on top of the infrastructure and provides a development framework to do so.
Regardless of the type of operation, cloud computing systems provide users with a number of features, including:
- Email, storage, backup, and data retrieval
- Developing and testing applications
- Streaming audio and video content including large scale
- On-demand software delivery
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Other relevant links from our glossary:
Cloud computing. (2021, April 29). Retrieved May 03, 2021, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing
Us-en_cloud_blog_cloud-computing-history. (n.d.). Retrieved May 03, 2021, from https://www.ibm.com/cloud/blog/cloud-computing-history