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There has been a lot of noise about Cloud Computing in the last decade or so. In this post we are going back to the basics of Cloud Computing. We’ll explain what it is, its different models, and what its advantages and disadvantages are.

What exactly is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing simply refers to the delivery of any computing service through a private network or over the internet. When you connect to your favorite public email provider either through a web browser or through an app on your smartphone, you are essentially using an email service that in the cloud.

Cloud Service Models

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). IaaS is the provision of computing resources in the form of servers (both physical computers and virtual), block storage, networking components and other hardware like firewalls and load balancers. These resources are pooled to provide on-demand access. There are catalogs of operating systems, application stacks from which customers can choose. Some IaaS providers allow customers to upload their own installation media.
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). SaaS is a model in which applications are delivered as a service over the Internet. SaaS applications are accessed using a web browser or a dedicated app. SaaS is subscription based and pricing varies based on feature-set. A SaaS customer does not have to worry about complex licencing, manual updates, and all other hurdles that come with tradition in-house application deployments.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). PaaS is a cloud-based development and deployment environment that has resources for delivering cloud-based apps and cloud-enabled enterprise applications. PaaS is made up of servers, storage, networking, middle-ware, development tools, business intelligence, database management systems, and more. PaaS supports the complete web application life-cycle: building, testing, deploying, managing, and updating.

Types of Cloud Computing

  • Public Cloud. A public cloud is one in which all services and resources are available to the general public over the Internet. Examples are Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, etc.
  • Private Cloud. A private cloud is cloud infrastructure that is not available to the general public but for use exclusively by a single organisation. A private cloud may accessed either over the internet or via a dedicated private network.
  • Hybrid Cloud. A hybrid cloud is an integrated cloud service that uses both private and public clouds for distinct workloads within the same organisation.

Advantages of Cloud Computing

  • Minimal up-front costs. Even the smallest company on a tight budget can spin up a cloud-based server for a nominal monthly fee instead of purchasing a physical server.
  • Elasticity. It is very easy to scale your infrastructure up or down when it is cloud-based.
  • Seamless upgrades. In the case of SaaS, you always get the latest versions of software and you don’t have to go through the pain of manually upgrading it yourself.
  • Improved mobility and availability. Company resources are available to members 24/7 from anywhere in the world via smart phones, tablets, and laptops through secure VPN connections.
  • Easy collaboration. Cloud computing gives organisations with multiple branches the ability to communicate and share more easily, more transparently and faster. This ease of calibration is also useful in B2B scenarios.

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

  • Downtime and outages. Even with clustered and fault tolerant infrastructure, no cloud provider can guarantee 100% up-time. There will be times when network connections become degraded and servers experiencing high utilization resulting in slow performance. Full-blown outages are also a possibility due to other factors such as your ISP doing maintenance on their infrastructure thus cutting your internet connection which you use to access your cloud infrastructure (this can be mitigated this by employing multiple internet lines).
  • Vendor lock-in. There is currently no easy way of moving from one cloud provider to another. For companies that have invested on a particular cloud provider and want to switch to another provider, this could be a gigantic headache.
  • Privacy and security. Due to the shared nature of public clouds, if no security best practices are employed when deploying cloud infrastructure, an organisation’s data runs the risk of falling in the wrong hands. This is mitigated by using techniques like full disk encryption, encrypted backups, intrusion detection, etc.

Nizkeb Tech’s role in Cloud Computing

We are specialists in cloud computing. We are a re-seller of cloud computing platforms. We also manage and support other organisations’ cloud infrastructure.
Whether you are a small company that needs two cloud servers and a secure VPN connection to you infrastructure, we will tailor a solution that will meet your budget and performance requirements.
Talk to us when you are ready to take that exciting migration to the cloud.