CLOUD COMPUTING: THE NEW PLAYSTORE

One evening, Kunal sat in the balcony. It had rained heavily in the morning and so it pretty much a gloomy day. Clouds ran through the sky and the sun was playing hide and seek. Kunal wondered how clouds held gallons of water and controlled the entire cycle of rains.

Isn’t it amazing that most of the latest technologies, researches and techniques that we propose/use these days are all “nature-inspired”?

That was the day when Kunal actually understood the buzz term in the language of computer science engineers and AI applications- CLOUD COMPUTING. Through this article, we will understand the basics of cloud computing, which is one of the latest trends in the world and tops the list of advanced technologies. This topic is highly researched which is why it is very important to first understand the basic aspects of cloud computing which includes cloud computing models and its numerous benefits.

You must be wondering, what’s up with this name- Cloud Computing? Does it offer computational properties to the clouds in the sky? (HAHA, just kidding)

Or maybe, the data is stored in the clouds? If you think so, then you’re pretty close to what Cloud Computing is. Cloud computing is the concept where the computer resources are shared over internet and instead of storing data on our personal hard drive or updating applications for our needs, we make use of services over the Internet at another location, saving device storage and infrastructure. The entire data is stored in imaginary clouds from where data can be accessed based on the application and location. This technique is usually called the simple “plug and play model”. 

The next question is what makes cloud computing, a trend in global technology market? This term has been gaining popularity since a while and has become one of the biggest paradigms for serving on demand applications. Why? The answer to this question can be derived if we simply understand that any technology/ technique is accepted due to its advantages in cost saving, efficiency improving, agility enhancing, flexibility and scalability of services, and environmental sustainability. And CLOUD COMPUTING has just done that right!

It is a demand-based and easy access model under a network to a sharing set of configurable computing resources (including servers, networks, storage devices, applications, and services). The best part is that resources are provided quickly with minimal cost and effort. What better could we ask for? Our data is kept safe and secure and we can access it anytime, anywhere and from any device with just a few clicks. This level of feasibility tends to make any technology, popular and reliable.

With this, we also need to understand that the cloud computing operation is equivalent to the outsourcing in information technology. Cloud computing is gaining popularity since it changes the IT industry by sharing resources through the idea of virtualization. But this “virtualized environment” is also the most important concern of Cloud computing. The idea of cloud computing is based on a very fundamental principal of reusability of IT capabilities. The difference that cloud computing brings compared to traditional concepts of grid computing, distributed computing, utility computing, or autonomic computing is to broaden horizons across organizational boundaries, making everything from invention to business.

Figure 1 Service models of Cloud Computing (Source- https://d1jnx9ba8s6j9r.cloudfront.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/spi-1-449×300.png)

CLOUD COMPUTING MODELS

As Kunal curiously studied about this unique concept- cloud computing, he found that it substantial work was done in this field. Cloud computing wasn’t just a name, but it had several models to be implemented practically for real life applications. Cloud Providers offer services that can be grouped into three categories and they can be elaborated as-

1. Software as a Service (SaaS)

In this model, a complete application is offered to the customer, as a service on demand. Consider NETFLIX or any other application that you use in daily life and all these applications are offered as services to the customers. A single instance of the service runs on the cloud & multiple end users are serviced. The applications or what we call, the service runs on the top of the cloud infrastructure, which is not visible to humans/ users/ customers.  

Common examples of platforms that offers SaaS include Yahoo!, Gmail, Google Docs, etc.

2. Platform as a Service (Paas)

Virtual Windows is the best example of this type of a model. Meaning, the customer is free to build his/her own application on the provider’s application. The entire platform is offered as a service. The consumer can use the platform to develop and run his own applications, supported by a cloud-based infrastructure.

Google’s App `Engine, Force.com, etc. are some of the popular PaaS examples.

3. Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas)

Say, your laptop offers you a total of 1 TB memory and a additional 2 GB RAM would be the best explanation of IaaS. IaaS provides basic storage and computing capabilities as standardized services over the network. Several infrastructure units can be pooled or can be shared by various users as a service and the customers can deploy their own software on the infrastructure.

Some example of IaaS models includes Amazon (S3, EC2), Windows Azure, etc.

Figure 2 Features of Cloud Computing (Source- https://data-flair.training/blogs/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2018/11/Cloud-computing-features.jpg)

BENEFITS OF CLOUD COMPUTING

Wait…now we know what cloud is in terms of technology, what are its various models and his importance.

But Kunal still had one question in his mind. What would be the benefits of cloud computing?

If you have the same questions, then continue reading to explore the benefits of cloud computing.

Cloud Computing adoption is on the rise every moment. This novel technology has turned tables for the IT industry and data handling across globe. Few benefits of cloud computing are listed below-

1. Data and Cost Efficiency

By using cloud infrastructure, you don’t have to spend huge amounts of money on purchase and maintenance of the equipment. Just imagine, you don’t really have to invest in hardware, facilities, utilities, or building out a large data center to grow your business. Additionally, you do not even need large IT teams to handle your cloud data center operations as you can utilize the expert services by the cloud provider’s staff.

2. Personal Data Security

One of the major concerns of every business, regardless of size and industry, is the security of its data. It is very obvious that cybercrimes can devastate a company’s revenue and reputation, customer loyalty and brand positioning. This is why Cloud Computing functions with an aim of offering personalized and secure environment to each of its user. It offers many advanced security features that guarantee security of data at every stage.

Cloud storage providers implement baseline protections for their platforms and the data they process, such authentication, access control, and encryption. A user can supplement these protections with added security measures to tighten access to sensitive information in the cloud.

3. Information Control

Just the right information but in the wrong hands, can cause a great trouble to your enterprise!

But need not worry as “Cloud” has the solution to your control over your information as it enables you control your data in terms of visibility and access. You can easily decide which users have what level of access to what data. Along with control, cloud extends as a great platform for collaboration and teamwork by offering ease in collaboration. Since one version of the document can be worked on by different people, and there’s no need to have copies of the same document in circulation.

4. Disaster recovery

If your computer or mobile device crashes someday, how confident are you about your data? But, if you have uploaded your data to the cloud for it to remain accessible for any computer with an internet connection, then I cannot raise a question over your data.

Data loss is a major concern for all organizations, along with data security. Storing your data in the cloud guarantees that data is always available, even if your equipment like laptops or PCs, is damaged. With Cloud, you’re sorted as cloud-based services provide quick data recovery for all kinds of emergency scenarios from natural disasters to power outages. Another important point is that Cloud infrastructure also helps you with loss prevention. While computers can malfunction due to malware and viruses, age-related hardware deterioration or simple user error, cloud has no such limitations.

5. Maneuverability

Cloud computing allows mobile access to corporate data via smartphones and devices which ensures that everyone is informed and connected. Staff with busy schedules, or who live a long way away from the corporate office, can use this feature to keep instantly up-to-date with clients and coworkers.

Now, it is just a matter of a few clicks to store, retrieve, recover, or process data. You have the access to data on cloud via any devices in any corner of the world as long as you stay connected to the internet. This tremendously reduces the IT workload and connectivity issues.

6. Scalability

This is one of the most desirable features of any advanced technology as different companies have different IT needs, so obviously a large enterprise of say, 1000+ employees won’t have the same IT requirements as that of a small start-up. Cloud offers you best services at zero investment with feasibility and accessibility across globe.

Using cloud is a great solution because it enables enterprise to effectively scale up/down their IT departments, according to business demands.

Cloud based solutions are preferred in case of bandwidth demand fluctuations in businesses as you can easily expand the capacity of your cloud without actually investing in some sort of a physical equipment. Isn’t it cool? This scalability minimizes the risks associated with in-house operational issues and maintenance.

7. Environment friendly

Now, the ultimate goal of using Cloud is to reduce the data centres, complexity and costs in the ever so growing IT sector. With fewer data centres worldwide and more efficient operations, we are collectively having less of an impact on the environment. Sharing is caring and when companies share resources, they are collectively improving their ‘green’ credentials.

8. Fresh Software

The latest versions of the applications needed to run the business are made available to all customers as soon as they’re released. This is the power of the SaaS model.  Automatic and immediate upgrades empower the functionality with new features, hence leading to higher productivity.

Figure 3 Cloud Computing has developed global offices; Source- Wikipedia

CLOUD COMPUTING- EXAMPLES

No case is considered without an evidence and so is the case with our brain. It wouldn’t accept anything if has no supporting statement/examples/ evidences to support the arguments. Kunal’s search brought him to the final stage of understanding the concept of cloud. He found that most of the companies across globe have started to look to cloud computing for part or all of their IT solutions. The companies that have successfully implemented Cloud computing in their functionality have shown tremendous growth and sustainability in the global market. Some of the companies have taken cloud computing by storm and show us that we should expand our thinking of just how valuable the cloud can be-

(1) Netflix

(2) Pinterest

(3) Instagram

(4) Etsy

(5) Apple

(6) Media Math.

You can read more about them and how they implemented Cloud Computing at- https://www.smartdatacollective.com/7-well-known-companies-have-moved-cloud/

Figure 4 Companies that have implemented cloud computing as an example for the global market (Source- https://www.google.com/search?q=comapnies+that+impemented+cloud+computing+&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwjm0qjkj6voAhXmh0sFHTmjCxAQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=com)

A common observation these days is the increasing number of online cloud storage providers competing over the amount of storage they can provide to clients. Dropbox is the current leader in cloud manifestation allowing users to access files on any device through its application or website with up to 1 terabyte of free storage.

Apart from this, the revolutionary Google’s email service provider Gmail is another great example that provides unlimited storage on the cloud and Facebook is another such application with an ability to store infinite amount of information, images, and videos on your profile. Additionally, this data can then be easily accessed on multiple devices.

So, these examples clearly show the significance of cloud computing in our real life and how cloud computing has successfully taken over other ways of storage in a very short while.

It has now become a part and parcel of our lives, even without our realization!

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

With all the evidences, we can say that cloud computing provides enormous benefits and advantages to one’s business. It isn’t just a fantasy but does a big deal of tasks for us humans. It provides flexibility over time to connect anywhere. The world has realized the worth and the power of Cloud Computing. Most businesses, industries and offices have changed their ways and are following the path of “cloud” computing in the recent years. Eventually, this trend is expected to grow even more because of an array of benefits that this technology has to offer. As we proceed on this path of development, the amount of data is only going to increase. And that point when every device/equipment fails to support our heterogenous data, cloud computing will summon us.

So, you as the future of our country and hence the global market, have an opportunity to understand and implement better versions of cloud computing in the future digital revolutions.

And just like Kunal, observe and learn from the nature. Our surroundings have a great capability to solve most of our problems. Back then, Genetic algorithm techniques like Bacterial Foraging or Ant Colony Optimization techniques were found by observing such trends in the nature. Similarly, we learnt from clouds to sort the industrial problems like space. Equipment and cost. It is fairly possible that you get another glimpse of technology in the nature to solve the existing issues, making our development sustainable!