Cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources. Here are common reasons why organisations are turning to cloud computing services:
Top benefits of cloud computing
Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running on-site data centres – the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling and the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. It adds up quickly.
Most cloud computing services are provided as self service and on demand, so even vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, typically with just a few mouse clicks, giving businesses a lot of flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.
The benefits of cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. In cloud speak, that means delivering the right amount of IT resources – for example, more or less computing power, storage, bandwidth – right when they’re needed, and from the right geographic location.
On-site data centres typically require a lot of “racking and stacking” – hardware setup, software patching and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for many of these tasks, so IT teams can spend time on achieving more important business goals.
The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure data centres, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate data centre, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.
Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity easier and less expensive because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.
Many cloud providers offer a broad set of policies, technologies and controls that strengthen your security posture overall, helping to protect your data, apps and infrastructure from potential threats.
Types of cloud services: IaaS, PaaS, serverless and SaaS
Most cloud computing services fall into four broad categories: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), serverless and software as a service (SaaS). These are sometimes called the cloud computing stack because they build on top of one another. Knowing what they are and how they’re different makes accomplishing your business goals easier.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
The most basic category of cloud computing services. With IaaS, you rent IT infrastructure – servers and virtual machines (VMs), storage, networks, operating systems – from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Platform as a service (PaaS)
Platform as a service refers to cloud computing services that supply an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering and managing software applications. PaaS is designed to make it easier for developers to quickly create web or mobile apps, without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network and databases needed for development.
Overlapping with PaaS, serverless computing focuses on building app functionality without spending time continually managing the servers and infrastructure required to do so. The cloud provider handles the setup, capacity planning, and server management for you. Serverless architectures are highly scalable and event-driven, only using resources when a specific function or trigger occurs.
Software as a service (SaaS)
Software as a service is a method for delivering software applications over the Internet, on demand and typically on a subscription basis. With SaaS, cloud providers host and manage the software application and underlying infrastructure, and handle any maintenance, such as software upgrades and security patching. Users connect to the application over the Internet, usually with a web browser on their phone, tablet or PC.