Cloud technology is nothing new to most people who are familiar with the Internet. However, it has recently been in the spotlight due to its ability to simplify many business processes, dramatically cutting costs and giving IT departments greater control. When comparing cloud computing to traditional computing, there are five key differences that should be clearly understood. These include:
The first key difference is that most cloud technology delivers hardware and software as part of a service and not as a stand-alone server. Cloud computing is simply the on-demand access to computer network resources, especially computer data storage, and processing power, without direct user active management. Many large cloud-based services have several functions deployed over several geographic locations, each having independent data centers. These services provide instant access to stored data and application servers and can quickly meet the demand for additional capacity when needed.
The second key difference is that most cloud computing technology utilizes a business interface that is client-server in nature. This means that applications hosted in a cloud are not only state-of-the-art, but are also highly customizable. This enables organizations to replace individual servers with those provided by a single provider or even manage the deployment of web services, databases, email, and other internal web services. Organizations gain greater control over their IT infrastructure and are able to more precisely plan out usage and expenditures.
Offered in a form of a service
Another difference is found in the way in which most cloud technology is offered in a form of a service, such as a software model or a subscription model. In the former case, organizations can easily deploy their own software as well as update them whenever required. They enjoy guaranteed quality and performance, along with control and accountability over deployment. With a subscription model, on the other hand, users are typically assigned a unique hosting account, subject to periodic updates, with the ability to install third-party software and programs.
Many organizations are surprised to learn that they do not need to buy their own infrastructure to get access to cloud computing. The term “cloud computing” refers to the idea that providers host their services on high-speed Internet servers, which have the capability to deliver scalable, real-time services. By contrast, many businesses assume that they need to have their own servers, IT infrastructure, and network in order to use cloud computing. The reality is that there is no need to own servers because cloud computing infrastructure already exists. There is also no need to buy expensive hardware since the underlying infrastructure is provided by service providers. In fact, the infrastructure is so efficient that providers can provide low-cost, high-quality services even to businesses with limited IT resources.
Used as a backend
One area that proves very popular with clients is cloud technology used as a backend for an internet connection. With this service, companies eliminate the need for costly IT equipment and installation. Instead, they simply need to purchase a high-speed internet connection from a cloud provider and deploy their own software. This is especially useful for new ventures that cannot afford to hire IT personnel and incur expenses on storage, routers, servers, and software. Cloud storage providers provide storage, application service providers, application management systems, and other related computer systems, eliminating the need for heavy equipment and support. For this reason, it is one of the technologies important for business.
Another popular application of cloud computing technology is in the area of software solutions. Software applications that run on virtual machines are easier to implement compared to applications that must be installed on physical hardware. Furthermore, cloud applications can scale up and down as needed without the need to incur additional capital investment. Additionally, the ability to scale as operations change or the number of employees grows provides business flexibility that physical hardware can’t provide.
Another area where cloud technology proves beneficial is data storage. Since most people use the Internet for e-mail, social networking, document storage, research and other personal purposes, companies have a tendency to store more data in their data centers than they actually need. With cloud computing, all data is stored in a virtual server, which means companies only pay for the amount of space needed. This reduces capital expense since there is no investment into upgrades or additional hardware.