Understanding the Cloud for Small Business
While hype and speculation have long swirled around the concept of cloud computing, it’s not just a buzzword. With the rapid proliferation of devices such as smartphones, tablets, and even laptops in the personal consumer sector, the shift from working from home, on-the-go activities, and using personal devices in the workplace, the need is there. Computer hardware has exploded over the past few years. In fact, most of us use some form of cloud computing every day without really realizing it, whether it’s webmail or online gaming.
What is Cloud Computing?
In general, the cloud describes any situation in which the user (cloud client) accesses computing resources from the virtual environment (the cloud) through an Internet connection. sd-wan products may conflict with the use of computing resources on a user’s local machine, on a local network or on specific physical machines on other networks. There are many different services that can be provided under the umbrella of cloud computing that fit the above definitions, but they are generally divided into three areas, depending on the provision of hardware and software resources. Software as a Service (IaaS)
Is Your Head in the Cloud?
Commonly referred to as IaaS, cloud computing includes services that provide physical computing resources, i.e. resources such as server space, bandwidth, and networking.
A key example of IaaS offerings includes cloud hosting where websites are hosted on virtual server domains that draw physical resources from a pool of multiple servers spread across multiple data centers. This concept can provide some benefits like
- Cost-effective scalability – hardware resources are available on demand so the customer only pays for what they use and is not limited by capacity.
- Reliability – there is no single point of server failure as data is stored (backed up) across multiple servers. If the server goes down, the website will not go online
- The field of IaaS and cloud hosting can also include the concept of Virtual Data Centers (VDC) where a network of servers or computers is made available to the user instead of easy access to the server. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS describes a plan that includes the software required to create an operating environment that a customer can use to develop their own applications. In other words, PaaS will include tools such as a collection of solutions – operating systems, server-side environments, database support, etc. – in addition to the computer hardware components assembled as shown above. Cloud vendors control the devices installed on their platforms, sometimes from a restricted list, and their configurations, but the vendors provide all the basics.