What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is a technology model that allows access to a shared pool of computing resources over the internet. These resources include computing power, storage, and various services that can be provisioned and delivered on-demand. Cloud computing eliminates the need for organizations and individuals to own and maintain physical hardware and software, as they can leverage the resources provided by cloud service providers.

Here's a technical breakdown of key components and concepts in cloud computing:

  1. Service Models:
    • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Provides virtualized computing resources over the internet. Users can rent virtual machines, storage, and networks. Examples include Amazon EC2 and Google Compute Engine.
    • Platform as a Service (PaaS): Offers a platform allowing users to develop, run, and manage applications without dealing with the complexity of infrastructure. Examples include Google App Engine and Microsoft Azure App Service.
    • Software as a Service (SaaS): Delivers software applications over the internet on a subscription basis. Users can access the software through a web browser without worrying about installation or maintenance. Examples include Google Workspace and Salesforce.
  2. Deployment Models:
    • Public Cloud: Resources are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider and are made available to the general public.
    • Private Cloud: Resources are used exclusively by a single organization. The infrastructure may be owned and managed by the organization or a third party.
    • Hybrid Cloud: Combines elements of both public and private clouds, allowing data and applications to be shared between them.
  3. Essential Characteristics:
    • On-Demand Self-Service: Users can provision and manage computing resources as needed without human intervention from the service provider.
    • Broad Network Access: Resources are accessible over the network and can be accessed by various devices like laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
    • Resource Pooling: Computing resources are pooled and shared among multiple users, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to demand.
    • Rapid Elasticity: Resources can be rapidly and elastically provisioned or released to quickly scale up or down based on demand.
    • Measured Service: Cloud computing resources are metered, and users are billed based on their usage.
  4. Key Technologies:
    • Virtualization: Allows multiple virtual machines or operating systems to run on a single physical machine, optimizing resource utilization.
    • Containers: Provide a lightweight, portable, and consistent environment for running applications, enhancing scalability and efficiency.
    • Orchestration: Automation of the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes is a popular orchestration tool.
    • APIs (Application Programming Interfaces): Enable communication and interaction between different software systems, allowing them to work together.