The cloud computing industry’s current value is in the hundreds of billions and expected to keep growing.
It seems like everyone should understand what cloud computing does with that kind of money in play. Yet, for many, “the cloud” is a hollow voodoo incantation that means “tech solutions.”
If you’re nodding at that description, keep reading. We’re going to give you a plain language introduction to cloud computing to help dispel the mysteries.
Let’s jump in!
What Is Cloud Computing?
Historically, all computing happened inside your computer. The hard drive stores data and programs. The processor and RAM do things with the programs and data.
That’s called local computing because everything happens on your computer or on-site network.
In cloud computing, some or all of those processes get moved to the Internet. The data or programs get stored on and accessed from off-site servers. Most of the time the servers belong to a third-party company that specializes in cloud computing.
Think of it this way. You can only keep a certain number of books in your home. When you hit that number, you either need to get rid of some books or put them in storage.
A computer only holds so much data or runs so many programs before it stops working. Moving something into the cloud is like putting it into storage, except you get on-demand access.
Cloud Computing Uses
Cloud computing uses range from web hosting and analytics to machine learning. We’ll walk you through a few of the more common uses.
Infrastructure as a service provides essential resources, like VPNs, scalable databases, and hardware. One of the most common IaaS resources is storage.
Let’s say you want to hang on to a lot of files for future research, but you don’t want to keep them on your in-house server. You’d rent space from a service like HubStor to archive the files.
Software as a service happens when a company makes a program available to you through their website.
A graphic artist might pay a monthly fee to get access to high-end photo editing software. A small business might pay to get access to an office suite or a customer relationship management program.
Platform as a service refers to giving access to virtual servers and related services. Its main use is in software development.
Cloud Computing Pros and Cons
Cloud computing pros include faster software development and cheaper access to top-end software. It also reduces your IT management, since software updates and security falls onto the provider’s shoulders.
Cloud computing disadvantages include reduced control over your data, vendor lock-in, and security. You must trust that the provider is staying up to date on threats. You also face the possibility of service outages
Parting Thought on Your Introduction to Cloud Computing
The biggest takeaway from this introduction to cloud computing is that it happens over the Internet. You store data and even programs on off-site servers and access them online.
The second biggest takeaway is that cloud computing touches almost every area of modern computing. It’s here to stay and its influence will keep growing.
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