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Cloud Computing: An Integral Part of the Modern-Day IT Industry

Par Reda EL GHOMARI Publié le 23/06/2019 à 09:18:40 Noter cet article:
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If we compare today’s world with what it was some 50-60 years ago, then it will be quite easy to notice the drastic changes that have occurred in-between. Indeed, technologies including, integrated circuit, communications satellite, fiber optics, supercomputer, World Wide Web (WWW), Bluetooth and Facebook were all developed within the past 5 decades. All these innovations not only have a significant impact on the lives of people but to the world itself.

Among the heap of technological innovations developed in the recent years, cloud computing is the one. Though the idea of cloud computing is believed to have been surfaced in the 1990s, the technology got the attention in 2006 when Amazon released its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service. Since then, cloud computing is under constant growth with most industries adopting technology including the IT sector.

What Actually Is Cloud Computing?

What is it? It is the most common questions that pop up in the mind after hearing the name of cloud computing. In simple words, cloud computing is a technology that allows users to get on-demand computer system resources such as storage, processing power and applications over the internet. All the resources available through cloud computing are not actively managed by the user itself but by the large data centers.

Users of cloud computing services extend from individuals to large corporate companies. Cloud services that limit themselves for the use of a single organization are known as enterprise clouds while the cloud services that are available to multiple organizations are identified as public clouds. Furthermore, there is also a hybrid cloud, which is the combination of enterprise and public cloud.

Service Models of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing services are divided into different models based on the services that the end-users get. The three most common service models are namely, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Each model is different from another in terms of services offered to the users. All three service models are discussed briefly as follows:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

    Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offers services to the users that act as basic components of network infrastructure. Services such as data storage, backup, computing resources, security, etc. are available within IaaS clouds. The computing resources offered by the IaaS usually acts as virtualized hardware a.k.a. computing infrastructure, which consists of elements including virtual server, load balancers, IP addresses, raw block storage, and firewalls.

    According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the use of IaaS allows consumers to install and run software such as applications and operating systems. Wherein, the consumers have the authority to control and manage installed software but cannot make any type of adjustments in the cloud infrastructure, which is hosting the software (Operating Systems and/or applications). The actual hardware resources available within IaaS may be present in multiple data centers that are present in different geographic locations and the cloud service providers are responsible for the maintenance of their respective cloud infrastructures.

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)

    Apart from offering computing infrastructure, the Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides an application development environment to the consumers. In the PaaS model, the vendors generally develop their own standards and toolkits that consumers use for application development. In addition, the PaaS providers also have their own separate channels for making distribution and payments.

    A PaaS vendor allows consumers to create software using programming languages, graphic user interface (GUI), database and tools supported by the vendor itself. The cloud infrastructure offered to the consumers includes servers, storage, and operating system, but they have no access to manage or control these resources. Organizations that deal with the development and testing of applications are the common users of PaaS services. In fact, many application developers who are working at either individual level or in an organization prefer PaaS because it eliminates the high costs and complications associated with the setup and management of the hardware and software layers required for application development.

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

    Software as a Service is another major service model of cloud computing and is becoming more and more popular these days. The SaaS allows consumers to get access to web-based applications that run on the cloud infrastructure. By using SaaS, users do not have to install and run the application on their computers, which eventually lower down the maintenance required at the user’s end. In general, consumers can access and use the software applications offered by a SaaS vendor over the Internet.

    On-demand software is another name used to identify SaaS services. The providers of SaaS services charges consumers either a subscription fee or on a pay-per-use basis. One of the biggest advantages that cloud applications offer over normal applications is the ability to match up with the shifting work demand. To be sspecific, the tasks related to the cloud applications can clone themselves onto several virtual machines with the use of load balancers and that too in run-time.

Characteristics of Cloud Computing

After gaining an idea of cloud computing and its service models, it might be easy to comprehend what it can do for users especially businesses. Now before moving ahead, it is important to have an idea of the attributes exhibit by the cloud computing that is responsible for its widespread success. Following are the key characteristics of cloud computing:

  • Resource Pooling and Multi-tenancy

    Based on the multi-tenant model, the resources offered by cloud computing are pooled together in such a way that multiple users can access the computing infrastructure or applications at a single time without compromising their privacy or security. In general, the pool of resources is very large and has the flexibility to be accessed by multiple users at a single time.

  • Broad Accessibility

    The cloud computing services are accessible via the internet, which means users can access the computing resources from literally anywhere. Devices such as mobile phones, laptops, and workstations that have web accessibility can be used for approaching a cloud computing service.

  • On-demand Self Service

    It is possible for users to acquire computing resources all by themselves and there is no need for human interaction with the vendors. In general, a self-service web portal is available with most cloud computing service providers that consumers can use to get resources like network storage, virtual servers, etc. as per their requirements.

  • Scalability and Elasticity

  • Measurable Usage

    One of the most highlighted characteristics of cloud computing is its ability to expand and contract as per the demands of the organizations. An organization can easily get additional computing resources when scaling up and remove the excess resources when scaling down. Such elasticity makes cloud computing a cost-effective solution for businesses that have to scale up or scale down quite frequently

Why Cloud Computing is Important to the IT Industry?

In the modern world, almost all companies utilize IT services to enhance and strengthen their businesses. The use of Information technology is imperative to businesses since they require the most effective ways of processing data. Going back just a few years, it was a common thing for businesses to develop their own IT environment that requires them to buy and set-up servers, hardware, software, etc. However, ever since the cloud computing gained popularity, most businesses especially the new ones give very little significance to the development of their own IT infrastructure. By using cloud-computing services, companies can get the much needed IT infrastructure at lower costs.

Another major reason for cloud computing to become the center of attention is its services that are available to businesses of all sizes. Moreover, cloud solutions are available to a wide variety of industries and are accessible from almost any part of the globe. A recent study has revealed that the out of all the worldwide IT spending, more than one-third spending is on the development of the cloud computing infrastructure while the traditional in-house IT budget is falling sharply. The main advantages that companies are getting from the use of cloud computing are:

  • Easy to implement IT and that too with increased flexibility

  • Decline in the overall costs of ownership

  • Availability of advanced IT resources

  • Lower market entrance barriers

  • Access to the resources from anywhere at any time

Significance of Cloud Computing

Today, cloud computing has become a much-needed resource for companies to enhance the efficiency of their work. Earlier, companies used to invest a significant amount of money to maintain their IT department but thanks to the cloud solutions, they no longer have to concern much about their company’s IT environment. All these stances of cloud computing have made it an imperative part of the IT industry. Some of the major points that highlight the worth of cloud computing in the IT industry are as follows:

  • Cloud services are available to almost everyone including individuals, startups and large enterprises

  • Because of the reduced costs of computing resources, many new businesses are emerging, which eventually leads to the development of the IT industry

  • As the number of IT resources deployed by the user can be increased or decreased as per their requirements, high resource efficiency can be achieved

  • By using cloud computing services, businesses can lessen the environmental impact that would otherwise happen in case personal IT facilities are set up

  • Cloud computing is both reliable and secure, which makes it perfect for use especially by organizations

Summary

Just in a couple of years, cloud computing has earned a reputed position in the global IT industry. The benefits offered by cloud computing are aplenty and have opened up new ways of working for both individuals and businesses. In addition, because of the different service models, it became much easier for consumers to pick-up specific services that they need and thus results in cost-effectiveness. By concluding all, it is pretty clear and obvious that the IT industry prevailing in the modern world is depending persistently on cloud computing services.

Reference Links (Bibliography)

  • https://rickscloud.com/how-is-cloud-computing-influencing-the-it-industry/

  • https://www.analyticsinsight.net/how-cloud-computing-will-revolutionize-the-it-industry/

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