Familiarizing Yourself With Cloud Computing

By Lars Fyhr - June 16, 2020

Cloud Computing is ubiquitous in modern technology infrastructure, as it offers on-demand availability, data storage resources (cloud storage) and computing power directly over the Internet. Cloud virtualizes server resources and converts hardware into services, allowing software companies and corporations to utilize them without worrying about hardware related complexities.

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While more and more companies increasingly rely on Cloud Computing for everyday tasks, the methods in which they utilize them is by no means the same. In fact, there are many models of services that are offered through cloud computing service providers, with three of the main services being Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).

Infrastructure as a Service serves to replace infrastructure used by typical business with cloud accessible infrastructure. For example, if you had a series of server racks used to store important data for your business, you could move all that information online, making it remotely accessible, by using IaaS. The benefit? You no longer have to worry about managing, setting-up, or investing in the hardware systems needed for said storage and can put more time and energy into your business itself.

Platform as a Service serves to provide users with even more defined tech that does not need to be set up, by offering a platform in which developers can dive right into to developing, testing, and deploying new and customized applications. While you are given less control over the system as a whole, the narrowed scope allows for you to focus more on getting straight to the task on hand. The ease of access to these utilities allows for development teams to boost productivity.

Software as a Service is the final form of services offered by cloud computing service providers and arguably the most prevalently used. In this model, third-party vendors deliver software to users typically on a subscription fee via the internet. One well-known use of SaaS is by Netflix, who uses AWS to deliver a video streaming service over the internet to millions every day. The importance of cloud computing here is that your computer does not need to download anything, all it needs is a somewhat stable and strong internet connection that allows your computer to access whatever cloud structure Netflix uses to then allow you to binge the latest and greatest in film.

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In addition to these three core services, many more services are on the rise, especially Serverless Architecture that utilizes Backend as a Service (BaaS) and Function as a Service (FaaS). This architecture set-up makes cloud computing even simpler for users by completely eliminating their need to control, run, and manage any servers (hence “serverless”). Serverless cloud computations, referred to as cloud functions, offer users a wide range of possibilities from video encoding to recognizing user-drawn shapes. Since cloud functions (FaaS) only charge users based off the consumption of compute resources, companies are able to easily scale to match user demand.

Another important aspect of cloud computing lies in the employment of containers, highly portable, lightweight, packaged applications. They offer increased flexibility to users by increasing possible application deployment environments, just like portable computers offered flexibility by increasing locations they could be used from. Containers serve to further enhance the speed at which teams can work by making it easier to transfer around information through the cloud in a very lightweight manner.

Cloud computing offers a variety of advantages over previous on-site computer structures. One of the most valuable advantages is the opportunity for rapid growth, achieved through the scalability and elasticity offered by cloud services. Need for an expansion? Simply up your subscription with the provider or select additional necessary cloud services and they’re ready to go in minutes. The idea that infrastructure can be built upon or drawn back instantaneously offers businesses a refined form of horizontal scaling far superior to traditional methods, enhancing profitability based on a pay-as-you-grow model (very easy to adjust scale based on current demands). Why prolong growth by wasting time on building and setting-up new hardware infrastructure on-site? Well, while cloud computing is very enticing, there are definitely certain details and specifics that companies need to look at when searching for and deciding on a cloud solution.

Cloud users must consider whether the convenience of not having to worry about on-site hardware, is worth the risk of a full reliance on cloud service providers to take care of issues for you. Imagine if AWS just disappeared tomorrow? Would Netflix be gone forever? Probably not... They know that a full-reliance on cloud-services with all their data, information, etc. offers a high-risk of data-loss and the possibility of data-migration headaches. As such, it’s smart for businesses to take on healthy

cloud computing practices, like investing in on-site storage backups or diversifying use of cloud service providers.

It’s also important to note that there are also different types of cloud computing available to consumers: Public, Private, and Hybrid Clouds.

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Public Clouds offer users a shared network space of cloud access, giving multiple tenants access to the same services. The benefits of public clouds lie in the idea that upkeep is fully managed by the provider, leaving users without worry. They are also relatively cheap and scalable at subscription pricing, allowing individuals to use and pay for only what they need. Since public clouds consist of a myriad of shared resources, it is important to be aware of the sensitivity of data being shared through such a network. Users should ensure that public cloud security measures match the standards they must follow.

Private Clouds differ in the sense that the computer systems used are often constructed on-premise (sometimes still available through cloud service providers) and made available to a single individual, company, or organization through a private network. While significantly more expensive to set up and keep running, private clouds offer users enhanced security and increased customizable control. However, dedicated on-site cloud data centers need to be given proper management and attention to remain effective and efficient.

Hybrid Clouds attempt to spread services between both private and public clouds in an intelligent fashion to keep sensitive information secure on a private cloud, while allowing general computing and application services to remain cheap and widely accessible on a public cloud. This strategy allows users to keep all aspects of their cloud infrastructure running as efficiently as possible; however, trying to keep everything streamlined under a hybrid setup can get tricky.

GST offers full-service to software companies by fully leveraging the Cloud to deliver and deploy the aforementioned software systems. Both the actual software (code) and the infrastructure to deliver the software are important parts of the equation. We utilize Cloud-enabled scalability along with the elasticity and customizability of software to deliver the highest level of B2B SaaS solutions.

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