What is Cloud Computing? – Definition, Types, Benefits and Services

Today we hear so much talk about Cloud Computing. But what is it really? And why should businesses care? The following article offers insight into the definition, benefits and types of Cloud Computing and how it can benefit businesses today and into the future.

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services – typically over the internet and via a pay as you go basis – and typically on a demand basis, which means that you only pay for what you use. This is an ideal solution for businesses operating on a tight budget but who require a large amount of computing resources. The two main cloud computing architectures are: public and hybrid. The public cloud is a self-service model that is based on the hardware and software that already exist in a public data center.

Public cloud computing refers to managed service providers (MSPs) that operate within a virtual network of multiple customers and have application and infrastructure flexibility. This architecture allows MSPs to create custom designed “virtual servers” on demand. On the other hand, a hybrid cloud data center combines the advantages of public cloud technology with a utility computing model. In a utility computing environment, an IT professional maintains the underlying infrastructure, such as storage, network connectivity and computer software. The benefits of utility computing are less expensive software, lower IT costs, greater availability and control. In contrast, public cloud technologies may offer more flexible access to storage, network resources and other resources, while utility cloud models typically provide more control.

There are many uses for cloud computing, ranging from using it as a utility to developing custom software that can be used by a wide variety of customers. A good example of a business that could benefit from using cloud services is a medicine manufacturer. Medicine manufacturers may want to use a utility model such as Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform to streamline their data collection. They can then make their software available to doctors around the world, all while reducing operational costs.

As a smaller business, you may want to consider what it would take for your company to go from using its existing hardware and software to implementing a full-service model. The upfront costs for this transition would depend on how big your company is and how much of your IT staff and capacity are dedicated to managing your data. Cloud computing services like Hootsuite and Buffer can help you streamline the software and increase your ability to manage data across multiple devices.

As you can see, there are many different types of cloud computing, each delivering via different types of transport mechanisms. As a business owner, you need to determine which method will best suit your unique needs. Depending on the type of application you have, you may not need all three. If you think you do, then choose your provider accordingly. In some cases, a business can even go so far as to build its own platform. In this case, the platform will most likely be delivered via a web browser.

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