What is Cloud Computing?
In computer science the term cloud relates to a network of computing devices working together to provide services. Cloud Computing means denotes a network of computing devices working altogether to produce result. There are three models of Cloud Computing. IaaS, PaaS & SaaS (Read: IaaS, PaaS & SaaS explained with examples)
Definition: The practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.
As an example, In a Cloud Hosting infrastructure (which is an example of cloud computing), all the web hosting services such as ftp, mail, apache, mysql will be kept on separate servers which ensures us that the failure of one device won’t cause a system failure. The system will remain online as the failed device can easily be replaced by a fit one which obviously reduces the time and the cost.
Furthermore, as we are using a network of devices, that gives us the ability to use as much resource as we want without any downtime.
What is not cloud: Keeping files in your hard disk or a having a dedicated network attached storage (NAS) hardware or server in residence or office is not cloud.
Mythbuster: Cloud is not just a backup solution as most of us use it as. The data of most of the apps we use in daily life, store their entire data on cloud.
In Simple terms, with an online connection, cloud computing can be done anywhere, anytime.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
- Upgrade or downgrade your package as per your requirements. You don’t need to change the whole device here. Resources are available, take as much as you need and pay for the same. No downtime or time lapse.
- Dedicated resources- In a cloud environment, you are given dedicated resources, the system ensures that only you get the resources. Sharing of CPU or memory doesn’t happen in a Cloud environment.
- Security benefits of Cloud- As every cloud user gets an isolated environment, this ensures the security problems will be isolated to a user only rather than spreading to others which generally happens in a shared environment. Furthermore the separate devices prevents the chances single point of failure.
If we talk in terms of hosting, a user hosted on Cloud server get all the features of a dedicated server with dedicated resources (whatever the users buys) with no sharing of resources with anyone.
Real life examples of Cloud Computing
I already have given the example of cloud computing in Cloud Hosting environment but here are some real life services based on cloud computing.
Google drive– A popular services which offers users to keep their file on their cloud server. Gone are those days when people use to keep their office files in their computer hard drive. Keeping files on Cloud makes it accessible to everyone you wish.
Apple iCloud– A services which gives user the ability to synchronize their mobile phones so they don’t need to worry about the data while changing phones. The data is stored on iCloud along with the memory of the phone. A user can access it from any location even when he/she is not having their phone/device.
There are many other day to day examples of cloud computing or cloud services which we have adopted such as Chromebook or chrome-bites. These devices have minimal space just to run the chrome OS, they connect (using the chrome browser) to the cloud and perform almost every action of yours on cloud (apps, media, storage etc).
Drawbacks of Cloud Computing
Despite so many advantages, there are some major flaw of cloud computing and the biggest disadvantage is its dependence on Internet.
Every single operation on cloud is based on the internet connection which is the backbone of cloud computing. Your access to data is totally dependent on the access to the internet. Downtime can be a nightmare in a cloud computing environment.
Even a slow connection can be your worst dream as all your data is on cloud and slow internet = slow access to data. This turns into a serious trouble in third world countries where we have failed to avail them an average connection speed. (Imagine the situation when a user has to wait 6 hours to download a file of 1 GB)
However I do not consider the dependability of cloud on Internet connection as a serious problem is solvable.
Bottomline: Is Cloud good or bad?
Cloud computing is undoubtedly the future. Despite its huge dependability on Internet connection, the cloud gives you a better control and accessibility to the data. The leverage on cost and lesser security issues makes cloud a better platform than the traditional one.