Cloud Computing : The future of data storage
Imagine you are the owner of a medium size tech firm. Your firm consists of basic infrastructure, amenities, and a work force of 20 people. Since it is a tech firm, you require machines, computers, software, servers for the database, and a storage unit (a company would typically lease space in a data center, or may own the whole building). Therefore, to assemble the machines, you need an extra safe room, and a network that keeps them all connected, and of course the clients connected to them. Now, it requires a high qualified IT employee for installation. Since you have a small firm, imagine you don’t have your own IT guy who can set up the database and create a server. Therefore, you have to call an external consultant.
Once everything is set up, it works until every employee starts using it. 20 employees using the system in 20 different ways, and the data base turns into a data chaos. Once in a while, updates have to be made too. Therefore, after updating servers got renewed and all data got migrated again, and gradually your company is growing. More and more important data continues to be stored in the office and more places. Therefore, the stress increases, chaos rises and chances of valuable and confidential data breach becomes high.
Here comes the picture of Cloud where everything gets stored in a safe and secured place, and all you need to access is a simple web browser. This is called Cloud Computing. Cloud Computing is the on-demand availability and accessibility of resources such as data storage and computing power, without any requirement of direct management by the user. Put your whole work flow on the internet and if your business grows, simply add more user to your cloud, or remove them.
In cloud service, you don’t have to manage or own the infrastructure on which the service runs. You just need to subscribe its service on a subscription/consumption model as per your requirement. The service scales as demand changes. In simple words, a user can consume cloud resources, as needed automatically, and without human contact.
Therefore, getting access to cloud computing not only saves huge expenditure on resources (such as data centre building, data centre securities, physical IT hardware, software licensing cost, extra power needed to run the machines) but also saves a lot of time and man-power as no maintenance is required and nobody has to monitor it.
Let us take an example to understand more about Cloud Application. You are the owner of an e-commerce business. Assume you don’t have a private cloud (the old way) and you have deployed your e-commerce website on-premises. So, you need to purchase all the necessary hardware which will take 4 to 12 weeks. Installing the hardware into the data centre will take another 4 to 8 weeks. You would then need to perform various tests and for it to pass the acceptance testing it will take another 2 to 4 weeks, and finally handing it over to the Operations team which will take additional 1 to 2 weeks. Therefore, the entire setup will take near about 3 to 6 months.
So, how do you do this in cloud? Well, in the cloud, the service provider has their own corporate office and Internet connection, and everything is managed by them. So, what happens is the admin will deploy the e-commerce website and database using the cloud management console. So, it’s literally just going in to a browser window and saying, this is what you need. And that website will then be deployed. The database will be deployed and they can be connected together. Customers can then come and use your application.
Now, of course, there is a bit more to it than that. You have got to install and configure your application. You still got to do your user acceptance testing, but there is no hardware to purchase.
You don’t have to install any hardware into a data centre. You can literally go in for a console and launch that infrastructure because it is all available in the cloud. So, that is a lot faster and easier than doing it on premises. And there are also some great cost benefits as well, because you can make sure that you size.
Some of the non-cloud services are E-mail server, File server, Customer Relation Management (CRM). On the other hand, some of the cloud services are Gmail, Dropbox, and Salesforce. Cloud can be classified into two models, that is, Cloud Service Model and Cloud Deployment Model.
Cloud Service Model
Cloud Service model can be further classified into four parts- Private Cloud, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
An organization with Private Cloud has to manage almost everything such as the physical server, data centre, Hypervisor (a type of emulator that runs virtual machine), Virtual Machine (virtualization of computer system), Storage system, Docker Container (open-source software development platform), and management and backup software. It also includes self-service, multi tenancy, metering, and elasticity. Therefore, the organization have greater responsibility to carry out, but also, they have greater control over the system.
Infrastructure as a Service
If the organization opts for IaaS model, they only have to manage Virtual Instances, Operating System, Data, and application framework. The rest activities are managed by the Cloud service provider. Therefore, the organization has less to manage. Some of the examples of IaaS model are Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Azure Virtual Machines, and Google Compute Engine.
Platform as a Service
If the company takes PaaS model, they have to only upload their code to create application. In other words, they only have to manage data and application code, and that’s it. The rest is managed by the Cloud service provider. Some of the examples are AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Azure Web Apps, and Compute App Engine.
Software as a Service
In SaaS model the organization has to do nothing but simply consume the service. That means each and every activity is managed by the Cloud service provider and the organization has bare minimum of responsibility to fulfil. Examples of SaaS model are Google Apps, Salesforce.com, and Zoom.
Cloud Deployment Model
Just like Cloud Service model, Cloud Deployment model also has four parts- Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, and Multi Cloud.
In Private Cloud, an enterprise deploys their own infrastructure and application into their own data centre. Example – VMware, Microsoft, RedHat, Open Stack.
In Public Cloud, the IT service that you consume are hosted and delivered from a third-party service provider and is accessed over the internet, Example – Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google Clouds Platform.
Hybrid Cloud is the combination of on-premises private cloud and public cloud, and the blend of both services are consumed.
Multi Cloud is the usage of two or more public clouds at a time, and possibly multiple private cloud.
So, this is just an introduction to Cloud Computing that will give you an idea of basic functionalities and why you must opt for Cloud service for your firm rather than investing on resources that might cost you fortune and increase your work load.