Cloud Computing Explained In Plain English

Cloud Computing Explained In Plain EnglishSource: Flickr

You have most likely already heard these two words before – Cloud Computing. And you are probably seeing them used more often in recent months. The trouble is, not many people outside of the industry actually know what it is. You probably already use cloud based services, without even realising it – so what is it?

Basically, using cloud computing we are harnessing the power of other more powerful computers. We connect to these computers via an internet connection, so their location isn’t that important. Once connected we are able to use their software, which will be running on their machines and not ours.

By using computers via the ‘cloud’, everything is ready for us whenever we might need it. This removes the need for us to own powerful computers ourselves, or even the software that we will be using. As mentioned, the location of these services and computers are not an issue for us the users. It’s all just a part of the cloud that is the internet.

Many companies make use of cloud computing in order backup their data, which is how you have probably been using it all along. With that, let’s take a look at an example.

Search Engines Cloud Computing In Action

As cloud computing providers go, you have probably never given your favourite search much thought. When you enter a search query, your computer or smartphone isn’t nearly powerful enough to scour the internet and search directories looking for a match. So, given that your local computing abilities aren’t up to the challenge, what’s happening?

Our computers simply work as front end machines, requesting details and patiently waiting for the results. The actual leg work is performed by the computers owned by Google, Bing and Yahoo. You probably didn’t know this was happening, and why would you? This is a perfect example of cloud computing done right.

Now that you have a basic understanding of what cloud computing is, let us take things just a step further.

There Are Actually 3 Types Of Cloud Computing

IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service. This when you purchase the hardware that you want to use, but you connect remotely as you would with regular cloud computing. Essentially, you buy whatever it is that you need and then pay-as-you-go for the actual connection costs.

Perhaps the most common example of IaaS is when you buy a web hosting solution for your website. Here, a monthly fee is paid for access to storage on their servers and for them to serve up your website pages.

SaaS – Software as a Service. As you have probably already guessed, this involves you using a software suite over an internet connection.

Microsoft and Google both provide these free of charge, in the form of Word Online and Google Docs respectively.

PaaS – Platform as a Service. The type of cloud computing allows for the creation of applications. These are created using web-based toolkits, meaning that they are able to run remotely. WordPress.com is one example of a company that provides these kinds of services, since they host everything for you.

Cloud computing can be an extremely cost effective way of doing business, and hopefully this has cleared up some of the mystery surrounding it.

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