Cloud Services

Although the oldest cloud computing services are only about ten years old, they are becoming more integral to the way people live and work. Cloud services allow data access from any location that has an internet connection. The cloud allows individuals and companies to be more productive, and it has been embraced by tiny startups, large global corporations, government agencies, non-profit agencies and individual citizens. The main appeal surrounding cloud computing is that even a small start-up can gain access to powerful computing services for a relatively small ongoing fee, with no need to set up and maintain expensive servers. This article will discuss what cloud service is and some examples of those services.

Understanding Cloud as a Service

Many individuals are transitioning to cloud services without even realizing the shift. For example, iPhones will periodically back up a user's data and files to the cloud and Amazon stores all of a user's Kindle book purchases to the cloud as well as any music, movies and other digital products purchased. People who subscribe to Netflix or other streaming services are using the cloud.

Businesses as well, are turning to the cloud because it saves time, money, and increases productivity. For a monthly service fee, a business can have access to a scalable, high powered computing service from wherever they are working. The major cloud computing services run on secure data centers and these data centers are kept upgraded to the latest generation of computer hardware.

There are three types of cloud services:

Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)Platform as a service (PaaS)Software as a service (SaaS)

  • Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) – Customers rent IT infrastructure from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis. IaaS is the most basic and common type of cloud service.
  • Platform as a service (PaaS) - Supplies an on-demand service for developing, testing, delivering, and managing software applications.
  • Software as a service (SaaS) – Is service that provides a method for delivering software applications through the Internet, on demand, and usually via subscription.

Examples of Cloud Services

There are many ways in which customers are using cloud services. These include but are not limited to storage platforms, recovering data, sharing data and networking.

  • Storage - When using the cloud for storage, files are uploaded to the cloud to clean up and free up space on local drives, or to be able to access those files from any location. The cloud eliminates the need to carry files around on physical storage media. The data is also safe on the cloud in the event of computer crashes or theft. Google Drive is an example of this service.
  • Platforms – Allow people to create, run, and manage their applications without having to build and maintain the infrastructure that would normally be required. The greatest advantage to this is that there is much less likelihood of hardware failure. Users pay for what they use, and the service is scalable to their needs. Some examples of cloud platform services are Microsoft 365, Adobe Cloud, Salesforce.com and Google Apps.
  • Recovery – Anyone who has had their iPhone restored from the cloud will understand this concept. The cloud is a good choice for disaster recovery because it requires fewer IT resources and storage space on the part of the customer. Some examples of cloud recovery services are Microsoft Azure, Zero Virtual Replication, and Zetta Disaster Recovery.
  • Data Sharing – This service is much like the storage service however the customer can grant access to others to view or to edit the files. This sharing capability is very useful to teams who need to collaborate on projects. Dropbox and Google Drive are common examples of this service.
  • Networking - Cloud networking provides a way to deploy, operate, and manage distributed enterprise networks to deliver enterprise-class network capabilities via the internet. Cloud networking requires little or no capital investment. Aerohive Networks, Meraki, and Pareto Networks are some examples of companies that are implementing cloud techniques.
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