What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing

Table of Contents

1. History of Cloud Computing

The traditional model of application process starts with development, automation, storage, delivery and performance. Cloud with the modern innovation of containers, Kubernetes, and API driven architecture led the way to change the process of development, automation, database process, and delivery of the application. Data analysis and video streaming are new branches which are growing and revolutionizing in the shadow of cloud computing.

Cloud computing has a long history way back to the 1960s when the first vision to interconnect the multiple needs of the businesses started. JCR Licklider is the person behind the research and idea of an intergalactic computer network. In the year 1969, he incorporated an advanced research projects agency network. The notable years for the growth of Cloud computing are 2006 when AWS introduced EC2, 2008 when Google introduced the Google App Engine beta version which is also called GSuite, and 2010 is the year of Microsoft azure. In the year 1999 salesforce.com developed to support SAAS with a simple website. In the year 2009 web2.0 came into the market as another form of SAAS provider. Web 2.0 is the technology that initiated Google to create Google apps. Google apps created the business of mobile apps to new heights and Google is making the PPC of mobile apps simpler to boost the businesses.

1.1 Early history

In the year 1972 IBM released an operating system called VM which is a virtual machine operating system. The concept behind VM is to provide private networks to the businesses through the internet. This operated as a rentable service to the companies. Telecommunications Company and data-driven businesses took the privilege of this service to promote their businesses.

1.2 2000s

In the year 2000 as a service arm to support Amazon.com, Amazon web services were started. To scale the operations of e-commerce the company developed core systems. Merchant.com is the e-commerce service which is developed to serve third-party websites to integrate with Amazon website.

API-access and internally developing tools transformed Amazon web services into a service-based company. In the year 2007 the concept of the cloud was under research and big companies like Google, IBM wanted to develop a powerful server for cloud computing. Netflix video streaming service also started in the year 2007 with the backup of cloud technology.

1.3 2010s

In the year 2010, Microsoft Azure started blooming with cloud technology. Linux operating system is widely used in Microsoft Azure. Openstack is the cloud project of NASA and Rack space hosting which uses the solutions of the cloud stack, OpenNebula, and Ganeti.

In the year 2011 Oracle released Oracle cloud. In the year 2012 Google released Google compute Engine. Email, chat, collaborative file, and conferences are organized with cloud technology support. Cloud technology has initiated change with every industry and business.

2. What is Cloud Computing?

About Cloud Computing

Cloud is the term that remodeled the concept of buying servers in the companies. Cloud technology aids in delivering the projects with high speed and for solving the barriers to globalization. With the rise of corporate data, cloud technology had a big track of records for usage.

Cloud computing is the internet-based service which satisfies the demand of the software requirement and hardware requirement of the companies with remote server available for multiple locations. The applications which we use for our personal use in our day to day lives like G-mail, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Netflix are the examples for Cloud computing.

The resources which cloud handle include servers, databases, tools, and applications. Cloud computing is the storage system with popular service providers like AWS, Azure, and Google. As of 2019, the top providers of cloud services are Microsoft, Salesforce.com, and Amazon web services, IBM, SAP, Google, Workday, Oracle, VMware, and ServiceNow.

Learning Cloud computing is a priority element for job seekers and give an incredible edge to the businesses. As per one report, the revenue from the public cloud alone globally is predicted as 41.7 billion for BPAAS, 26.4 billion for PAAS, 85.7 billion for SAAS, 32.4 billion for IAAS.

There is a question which creeps the mind about the cloud that is “what is the future of Cloud?” As the cloud is approximately increasing 53 percent of the revenue it has potential demand in the future also. The future is expected to bring many innovations with cloud from artificial intelligence, machine learning, hybrid cloud, big data, and UI advancements.

For big applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence pay per use model of cloud is very beneficial. Amazon Azure and Google offer a wide range of AI for image recognition, speech to text, video analysis, text to speech, language analysis, chatbot, and translation.

Cloud is a boon to advance artificial intelligence and machine learning. A hybrid cloud is predicted as another compelling component that dominates the future. The workloads work with isolation to run along with the speed of the business. The business of tomorrow is expected to be fast and the cloud is the trending technology that rules the future business as it gives importance to every specific business function.

Hybrid cloud requires skilled professionals as they need to operate different services of cloud vendors. Arranging servers, buying software and using the latest version is becoming outdated as the cloud is the metered cost for all the back end processes of companies. Big data and data science will forecast solutions to many problems in the future. Cloud will bring many new changes to the UI and apps will have more intelligence and relationships in the future.

2.1 Before Cloud Computing

Before cloud

  • The acceleration of the cloud in the business is huge and lets us see the operations before the introduction of cloud computing.
  • The concept of traditional server deals with OS, hardware, storage, applications, and servers. If the server is met with problems then a new server is added.
  • The scalability of clusters has limits and server maintenance is a big job. The growth of the cloud started from the virtual servers which host the server.

2.2 After Cloud Computing

After cloudCloud computing is different from virtualization as it provides configurable resources for computing, network access, and convenience. Virtualization works with the physical server to divide the hardware into multiple segments. The virtual infrastructure is suitable for network access at low speed.

  • One host tends to house more than one server in case of virtualization. The resource allocation to the virtual servers can be adjusted as per the cost.
  • Virtualization is about sharing the hardware resources and running multiple operating systems.
  • Cloud is about sharing the resources promptly and scale the resources as up and down as per the flexibility of the businesses.
  • Cloud computing enables flexibility and support to customers in terms of connectivity.

3. Deployment models of Cloud Computing

The differentiation based on the deployment model is a private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud. From the distinction of services, the different models of the cloud are IAAS, PAAS and SAAS. Cloud offers high-level networks and servers leaving the option as per the requirement of the companies. All three models are beneficial for increasing the productivity of the different types of businesses.

Let us take a deeper look at these three concepts. These models are the layers in a stack and each model is offered as separate service. For instance, one can make use of SAAS without using the services from PAAS or IAAS. Similarly, the IAAS service of the cloud can be used separately and no need to use SAAS for the business model. The business requirement is given more importance to select the type of deployment model that the companies adopt.

Each deployment model differs with different cost and this deployment model shows the characteristics of the environment. The control of the infrastructure and the location of the infrastructure are tagged with the model in which applications fall into. The nature of business and the money play a vital role in deciding the model of deployment decision.

3.1 Private cloud

A private cloud is suitable for computing resources that belongs to one business or organization and offers security for the resources. Private clouds are used by financial services, government agencies, and large size organizations. A private cloud service provider will use the intranet of the company or the data center of the company to extend the service to the company.

From the cost point having a data center is a costly option for the company. Here environment belongs to the cloud provider but the operations like maintenance, management, and data update belong to the company. Key points about the advantages of a private cloud are security, privacy, flexibility, greater control, and scalability.

3.2 Public Cloud

Public cloud is used by many companies for online office applications, web-based email systems, storage, development environments, and testing. In the case of the public cloud, the data center and the operations both are handled by the cloud provider.

Public cloud and private cloud entails the server location, usage of the server and the tasks conducted with servers. Public clouds offer hardware, software and infrastructure services for the clients. Key points about the advantages of public cloud are scalability, reliability, low maintenance, and cost-effectiveness.

3.3 Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud offers a combination of private and public clouds for the flexibility of the company and clients. The difference between the private cloud and the public cloud is the security of data or resources handled. Key points about the advantages of hybrid cloud are top-notch control, cost efficiency, flexibility, and transitioning.

3.4 Others

3.4.1 Community cloud

Some organizations expect for the cloud services with specific features like security, jurisdiction, and compliance where community cloud satisfy the needs. The cost of such a cloud is spread with fewer users and managed internally or externally by an organization that falls under the category of community cloud.

3.4.2 Distributed cloud

Distributed cloud operates with the system of distributed machines in different locations with a single network. Public resource computing is one form of the distributed cloud where the importance is given to the distributed service than the cloud. Volunteer cloud is another form of the distributed cloud where the volunteered resources are used to create the infrastructure of the cloud.

3.4.3 Multi-cloud

Multicloud is the option of selecting the combination of private and public clouds to increase flexibility. The requirement of the business to save from disasters demand the multi-cloud.

3.4.4 Poly cloud

Poly cloud is the combination of services offered by public cloud vendors. The specific services of each provider aid in achieving the business goals for the organizations.

3.4.5 Big Data cloud

As the cloud handles a large amount of data and provides security to a large amount of data it also provides a solution to the business analysis. The use cases are used from the big data cloud which gives more insight into the data.

3.4.6 HPC cloud

HPC cloud is the service that offers high memory, high computing power and virtualizes computing nodes. It is said that it replaces the services of EC2 of AWS. In the year 2016 many companies like AWS, Silicon Graphics international, Univa, Gomput, sabalcore, penguin computing and R-HPC offered the service of high-performance cloud computing.

4. Similar concepts

Cloud computing is confused with other related concepts. There is a difference between cloud and SAAS, Cloud and storage systems, and web hosting. SAAS is the advanced model service provided by the cloud. Companies work on hardware, software, process and services for the betterment of the business.

SAAS falls under the service model where the developed application is readily available for use with storage facilities. Storage is another service confused with the functioning of the cloud. ICloud, Dropbox, and Google Drive are some of the products that work with concept or storage. Cloud storage works with the space of the cloud but uses less computing power.

Cloud computing makes use of more processing power than cloud storage. Cloud storage is focused on personal and business functions. Cloud computing is focused on business alone. Remote access is not possible for storage without the usage of cloud computing. Another concept which is confused as the cloud is web hosting. Web hosting is using a single server for different types of hosting whereas cloud computing is using many servers with high power for hosting.

Let us detail some of the other concepts which look similar to cloud computing. Client-server model, grid computing, computer bureau, fog computing, mainframe computer, peer to peer model, utility computing, cloud sandbox, and green computing are some of the concepts which look similar to a cloud. The client-server model is about the distribution with servers and service requestors or clients.

The computer bureau is about the services of computers in between the 1960s and 1980s. Fog computing is about providing distributed computing to the edge devices or near the user. It handles the data with the network level and not at the processing level. Grid computing is the concept of using loosely coupled computers with a cluster of the network to complete complex tasks or large tasks. Utility computing is about using the resources under cloud computing like storage and computation as packaged metered service.

A mainframe computer is used for critical applications by large organizations. Some of the examples are census, intelligence services, financial transaction processing, and consumer statistics. All these applications demand bulk data processing for which mainframe computer is used. Peer to peer model is the architecture of a distributed environment without any central coordination. The suppliers and consumers are like participants and this model is the contrast model to the client-server model where the request and response are needed. Cloud sandbox is the process of running code or file in a computer without disturbing the application.

5. Characteristics

The characteristics of the cloud are agility, device independence, location independence, maintenance, cost reduction, multitenancy, productivity, reliability, security, scalability, and high performance. Companies prefer to use cloud services to handle mundane tasks with less failure and high performance. Cloud services are framed to help the businesses to focus on competition, the opportunity for employers to operate the systems with basic knowledge and for cost reduction.

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6. Service Models

Cloud services are divided as per the nature of the services and the broad list of services are Software as a service, platform as a service, infrastructure as a service, storage as a service, data as a service, security as a service, test environment as a service, API as a service and desktop as a service. Platform support, software support, infrastructure support, and storage support are the operations of these services.

IAAS is the basic service for the infrastructure, PAAS is the service for specific services like developing, managing, testing, and delivering software applications, the storage systems, database and network, and SAAS is the service for the delivery of the application.

There are services from the cloud which standout for the advantages and these services are unique. The instances for such services are Amazon S3 glacier, Azure cosmos DB and Google’s Firebase.

AWS S3 Glacier is popular for data storage for a long tenure with less cost, Cosmos DB is popular for accessibility for different models of database systems, and Google’s Firebase is popular for migration of the right data to the client. Let us take a broader understanding of the major services such as IAAS, SAAS, and PAAS.

6.1 IAAS


IAAS service is used by companies such as AWS, flackspace.com, and Go GRID. IAAS service is suitable for companies which require frequent customization, the services are availed for the tenure of short term and long term, accessibility through dashboard or API for the clients, and suitable for companies with a requirement for testing the product before deployment.

Elements related to infrastructure like servers, hardware, firewalls, storage systems are provided through IAAS service. Amazon EC2, Rack space, Windows Azure, Google compute engine are the examples for IAAS services.

6.2 PAAS


PAAS service is used by popular companies such as APP Engine, Azure and force.com. Before using the service of PAAS the requirement analysis goes as a suitable programming language, integration of the information among the application, the tools that it offers for the application building, elements related to configuration and customization.

Examples of PAAS services are Heroku, Force.com, Windows Azure, and AWS elastic beanstalk, Google App Engine, and Apache Stratos.

6.3 SAAS


SAAS service is used by companies such as Google Docs, Gmail, Salesforce, and Basecamp. PAAS is the service that provides the ground for development tools, libraries for code, servers, an app with pre-configuration, testing apps, and hosting. Coding knowledge is not required in case of creating a PAAS application as it is associated with field creation with point and clicks, drag and drop for creating a page layout, and customizable dashboards.

SAAS service provides the applications in readymade style. Maintenance, customization and troubleshooting are the tasks handled by the vendor company. Examples of SAAS services are Google apps, Dropbox, QuickBooks, Microsoft office 365 products, Zen desk, slack, and CRM tools from Salesforce’s suite.


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6.4 Mobile “backend” as a service (MBaaS)

This model is the recent model gaining popularity among enterprise customers. This service is called Baas which is explained as backend as a service. The API of the cloud is exposed to the mobile app and web app which serve for user management, social network management, push notification and much more.

This service provides the resources for mobile development through cloud storage and API. This service will boost the speed of mobile development and aid for improving the UI/UX designs of the mobile through time management. As less time is spent for back end development the available extra time will be used towards front end designs of mobile apps.

6.5 Serverless computing

Serverless computing work with the concept of full operations taken over by the cloud provider like starting the service and stopping the service of a virtual machine is taken control by the cloud provider. In the case of serverless computing, the backend is invisible to the developers and available instantly without configuration.

6.6 Function as a service (FaaS)

FAAS is the service hosted for the individual functions in the cloud with serverless computing service. Faas is one of the services from the broad services of serverless computing.

7. Adoption of cloud by companies

Accenture Company says out of its valuable three years of journey with the cloud that Cloud is the future of the businesses. The technological shift brought $14.5 million profit to the Accenture Company. This Company gains 95 percent profit through public cloud operations. The recognized products from the workday, SAAS solution provider works due to the adoption of cloud and ERP market. It provides a solution to the HR process, education sector, automation, enterprise planning, and financial process.

Opendrive, spideroak, synplicity, Microsoft onedrive, justcloud, dropbox, and box are some of the option for small companies to use cloud technology with less investment. Small companies have less work when compared to enterprises and thus they prefer for public cloud. The hybrid cloud is the prioritized as the best choice by the enterprise companies. It is recorded that some companies go for a single cloud and some companies opt for multiple clouds in case of small companies. It is predicted that by the year 2020 78 percent of the small companies will use cloud technology. As designing elastic applications are not easy it requires new skills from the technical engineers. Cloud computing is paying way to cost reduction and also demand for new application models from the quality workforce of companies. The adoption of cloud by the companies is bringing in a change in the rates also.

The advantages of the cloud services are better understood with the history of the companies adopted it. The bottom line which comes to the mind regarding cloud services is scalability and security. The global market for cloud is expected to reach $206.2 billion in the year 2019. 50 percent of the organizations run by the US government use the cloud services as per one report. The Financial sector is still in the trial stage for the adoption of the cloud. Cloud is the best window for the secured payments. In the future financial sector is expected to be booming with the vast cloud adoption.

8. Architecture

The architecture of cloud involves the communication among the components which are loosely coupled and elasticity is the intelligence part of the cloud technology which emphasizes the tight and loose coupling of the components.

The front end of cloud computing

The front end of the cloud application is exposed to the user or client and it is the user interface of different applications that have differences. Clients access the cloud services through the front end and the internet. The front end of the cloud application can be accepted through a web browser or mobile device.

The back end of cloud computing

The back end of the cloud consists of servers, databases, programs, and virtual machines. The backend of the application is responsible for communication, security and traffic balance. If the server is not running as per the capacity at which it is empowered then it is a mere waste of computing power. Cloud computing makes use of multiple servers with the correct amount of computing power without wastage.

8.1 Cloud engineering

Engineering is the broader term under which cloud engineering simply means the approach with systems to solve the concerns arising with commercialization, governance, and standardization in developing, maintaining, operating and conceiving the computing systems. The areas of focus of Cloud engineering include web development, software development, system administration, information technology, performance, risk analysis, security, quality, and platform-oriented solutions.

9. Security and privacy

The data storage and freedom to share the data to the third party for the law and order need is the policy of the cloud. The privacy policy of the cloud shows that the users should be aware of the policies of the cloud provider. There are chances to accidentally delete the information which may cause data loss to the user.

Encryption is one option that provides security to the data within the cloud. Identity management systems are the services of cloud which offers solutions to the privacy issues like the differentiation among the authorized users and unauthorized users.

Data loss, network failure and insecure APIs are the security issues of cloud which is the reason for the private cloud. A private cloud provides a high level of control with required security for the business data.

10. Limitations and disadvantages

Cost and the competitive element is given more importance in the recent business operations but there are few key areas where cloud computing is lacking. They are back end control and privacy is a big concern with the cloud environment. Downtime is another limitation of cloud computing that is not suitable for small businesses? Cloud operates with the internet which means it is not possible to access the data from remote locations which are a disadvantage for small business operators.

Apart from the disadvantages some of the questions which are perceived as argument are application crashes and data security. AWS is the top performer in the arena of cloud computing and history says that the applications under AWS are exposed to crashes. In the year 2015 Netflix, Tinder and Reddit experienced the causes of the sudden crash from AWS.

Cloudwatch is the system to monitor the application, DynamoDB provides NoSQL data and Cognito is for saving the mobile data. All these services of AWS crashed and by the effect, the applications crashed for five and a half hours. Data security is becoming a big issue as problems are arising out of security breaches. AS total control is not with one hand there is a question regarding data security. The trust of the cloud gives importance to security.

American companies face $7.9 million of a data breach in average. Data breaches give competitors a leg up and sometimes cloud applications have leaked data to the public. As there is no central body to provide the security it is said by the experts to use the right cloud-like private or public or hybrid cloud for the applications.

11. Top Benefits of Cloud Computing

The low code and no code structure of cloud will have an exponential advancement in the future. Machine learning, Artificial intelligence, big data, and IoT will bring notable changes to cloud computing technology. Learning Cloud computing Training will reify the job opportunities for the learners as there is huge growth in the future.

The checklist for the companies before taking up the transformation of the cloud is to check the cloud vendor suitable for the specific business they are involved into, negotiate the SLA, review the policies of the vendor for the data protection, and finally monitor the services offered by the cloud rigorously.

After the implementation of Cloud the users experience the visible change with the performance. Some of the top benefits are listed below.

11.1 Cost

Cloud Computing Cost

Software’s are now available through online mode which is the notable growth from the usage of the software through flash drives and discs. The cost-saving with the companies for the infrastructure is the prime advantage to talk about.

From the employee’s perspective, the cloud enhances communication among the employees with an efficient platform.

The hardware cost is charged by the vendor company and the cost includes the purchase cost, replacement cost and the cost for repairs. These costs save the budget and increase productivity.

11.2 Speed

Speed of cloud computing

Infrastructure in the IT sector is time-consuming and approximately physical servers require days or weeks to complete the tasks. Cloud services aid for increasing productivity as projects are delivered on time and decrease the time with infrastructure.

11.3 Productivity

Cloud Computing Productivity

Cloud computing has proven records for the success of services like storage, data retrieval, back up support, email services, data analytics services, audio streaming services, video streaming services, and delivery services.

Cloud is the new era for storage where the users store music, files, and photos with a hard drive crash.

Professionally and personally cloud computing had sealed the technology with many advantages. The cloud increases productivity as it improves performance.

11.4 Reliability

Cloud Computing Reliability

Cloud is a distributed system that requires reliability. The operational time without any failure with the system is described as reliability. Reliability is the point which increases customer confidence.

11.5 Global scale

Cloud Computing Global Scale

Cloud is the valued service that enhances substantially the performance, productivity, reliability, elasticity, security, agility and global scale for the applications. The availability and elasticity associated with cloud technology propel cloud as a global platform.

The advantages of cloud-like delivering the cloud resources globally, computing power, bandwidth and storage with multiple locations measure the success of cloud with a global scale. Global reach is one of the reasons why big companies opt for cloud technologies.

11.6 Performance

Cloud Computing Performance

The hardware of cloud technology is updated frequently and it is suitable for the reduced network as well as greater economies. The multi-cloud architecture is suitable for fast delivery and big volume storage in the case of many giant businesses.

The digital transformation demand for multi-cloud architecture and 85 percent of companies will invest in the multi-cloud architecture by 2020 as per one report. Multi-cloud is using many services of cloud as like for storage AWS S3 and computing Azure virtual machine have been used.

Some companies use Google for testing and development part of the application and AWS for the production environment. Choosing multi-cloud will improve disaster recovery, negotiating power, and dependency with a single vendor and cherry-pick services.

11.7 Security

Cloud Computing Security

Cloud is the safe platform for protecting the data, infrastructure and apps. Sensitive information and transactions are used with cloud during transit it is essential to check the security standards. Cloud offers high security and safeguards the data from breaches.

Cloud offers the backup storage and it takes high time to process the data for recovery during on-premise. Cloud integrates the software as per the requirement and it is not essential for customization. The advantages of cloud attract multiple types of users like enterprises, developers, and simple users. Cloud is the fastest growing technology that is going to change the software industry.

One of the reports says that SAAS revenue will grow from $13.5 billion to $32.8 billion in the year 2016. Many companies spend billions on research and development of the cloud. Microsoft uses 90 percent of its Research and development budget to cloud research.

The amount spent by Microsoft is $9.6 billion. Artificial intelligence, hybrid cloud, edge computing, serverless computing, backup, and disaster recovery, are some of the features of cloud which is creating the emerging trends for technology. Thus cloud technology has been used not only for the storage but also for the decision making and analysis.

13. Digital forensics in the cloud

Cloud computing is used for investigation as it produces digital evidence for everything. Digital forensics creates tools to use cloud storage as devices in some scenarios. The functionalities related to the forensic process are available with Microsoft’s built-in discovery resources. This service is an alternative to Office 365 with an E5 subscription.

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