Episode 1: To Cloud or Not to Cloud?

Cloud has become a global trend allowing companies to vastly improve almost all of their operations. The pace of cloud adoption is so fast that Gartner predicts that the entire market will reach $331.2 billion by 2022. In order to fully understand this technological revolution happening right before our eyes let’s take a closer look at the phenomena by breaking down all of its aspects. In episode 1, we will go over types of cloud, types of services, and examples use cases.

What does Cloud do?

Accessed via the internet, cloud computing uses resources hosted at remote data centers owned by service providers. In other words, data is stored and accessed on external servers instead of your own (on-premise) infrastructure. This service is offered to the client as a monthly subscription. As many examples show the main motivation behind going digital is an ability to provide easy access to data and applications from almost every device. In comparison to the traditional model, the cloud is also more cost-effective as it does not require building, licensing and maintaining any infrastructure.

What can be done in the Cloud?

  • Compute – running applications on the system of a cloud service provider.
  • Test and develop – Quickly deploy an environment to build and test a new solution.
  • Container support – the capacity to host and run Docker / Kubernetes containers.
  • Database services – Scalable databases and services with features like SSD storage to accelerate performance.
  • Machine learning – is much more accessible and affordable with on-demand cloud resources.
  • Big Data Analytics – allows collection of information on consumer behavior with an attempt to predict future purchases/activities to grow their businesses (Predictive analytics).
  • Management of resources – cloud services track large quantities of resources using one dashboard.
  • Virtual desktops – thanks to the growing BYOD culture, applications can be run everywhere.
  • Backup – making clients less vulnerable to disasters.
  • Chatbots – the cloud is a cost-effective way to implement interactive chatbots.
  • and many more …

What types of cloud services do we have?

Cloud providers offer 3 main types of service:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is like a traditional (on-premise) infrastructure made of servers, storage, and networking hardware, but located at the host sites. IaaS gives clients tight control over all resources so they can be managed according to business needs with a minimal level of participation from the cloud service providers.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offers a wide variety of ready-made tools (like operating systems) that allows users to run and manage applications without the need for managing and maintaining their own infrastructure. This solution is used mainly by developers because it radically improves the speed of application delivery.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a web-based application that can usually be accessed via browser instead of installing it locally. The customer is charged based on the number of people using the application, the number of transactions, or some other measure of usage. SaaS is often used by companies for billing, processing, sales management, human resources, or financial management.

What type of cloud do we have?

There are three main types of cloud: Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, and Private Cloud.

Public Cloud offers massive amounts of free space and scalability built on a multi-tenant platform shared with other subscribers. This solution is frequently used by companies dealing with software development and collaborative projects. Cloud service providers can offer virtualized infrastructure providing storage, processing power, platforms for building applications, or even easy to use software programs and CRM systems.

Private cloud is a solution designed for companies processing sensitive data. To ensure the highest security standards users are assigned dedicated  processing power and storage of a given server or number of servers for the sole use of their organisation. Public cloud is not cheap as the company owning the cloud is responsible for all works related to managing the infrastructure.

Hybrid cloud combines the benefits of the two aforementioned types by providing scalability with tighter security and control of a private cloud, or even resources hosted in the customer’s on-premise data centre. Thanks to encryption protocols and extensive usage of the firewalls, sensitive data can be moved between these two environments securely, minimising the risk of a security breach. This is often a perfect choice for companies using big data analytics for processing confidential information.

Cloud computing. What’s next?

In the next episode, we will take a look at the cons and pros of cloud computing. As it turns out – despite this general optimism – there are some drawbacks to be aware of.

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