Cloud Computing is a technology that uses computing resources, including hardware and software, offering services over a network. The technology uses networks, applications, services, servers, and storage to provide convenient and on-demand services with minimal service provider interaction and management effort.
In simple terms, cloud computing stores or accesses data or applications over the internet instead of a hard drive.
By using the cloud as a technology, services like software, storage, and infrastructure can be provided. This makes cloud computing more like a business model where the service provider can store and maintain the assets.
Out of the many benefits that the technology offers, the three big reasons that make cloud computing a big deal are:
- Low on maintenance and management from the user’s point
- Infinite in size, so never run out of capacity
- With a device and internet connection, the services can be accessed at any time from anywhere
However, to leverage the best from this business model, both commercially and technologically, it is important to dig deeper and understand the characteristics of cloud computing.
Characteristics of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is composed of 5 essential characteristics, viz:
- On-demand Self Service
- Broad Network Access
- Resource Pooling
- Rapid Elasticity
- Measured Service
These 5 characteristics of cloud computing are what make the technology the most buzzing and in-demand technology of today.
Let’s learn about each characteristic in detail.
On-demand Self Service
Cloud Computing services are available on-demand and do not require much human interaction. The user himself can provision, manage, and monitor the resources as per his requirement. This is done through a web-based self-service management console.
The customer can create the service on his own, like creating a new mailbox or adding additional disk space to a virtual machine, etc.
For example, for booking a ticket on a travel portal, a passenger gets the flexibility to book his ticket by himself without any human interaction. Right from choosing the flight to preference class, the process is entirely automated and does not require any salesperson in between.
Broad Network Access
Cloud computing is accessible from a network, generally over the internet. Similarly, private cloud services can be accessed from anywhere within the enterprise. The services are provided over heterogeneous devices such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, office computers, etc.
The user can access the existing data on a cloud platform or upload new data on the cloud from anywhere using a device and internet connection.
In the above example, the passenger can book his ticket via the internet from any device like a smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc., which has access to a network.
Also Read: Top Cloud Computing Models Explained
Resource Pooling and Multi-tenancy
Computing resources like networks, servers, storage, applications, and service can be pooled to serve multiple consumers by securely separating the resources on a logical level. This is done using a multi-tenant model, which allows multiple customers to share the same application or physical infrastructure while retaining data security and privacy.
It is the same as an apartment building where many people share the same building infrastructure but still have the privacy of their apartment.
If we take the same example of the travel portal, the flights can carry several passengers in a single trip. These passengers travel to the same destination, board the same flight, and are allotted separate seats as per the demand and requirement.
Rapid Elasticity and Scalability
Resource capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released to meet immediate requirements. Similarly, they can be removed or scaled-down when not required. In many cases, this can even happen automatically in response to business demands. This makes sure that the application has the capacity it needs at any point in time.
Scalability adds a cost-effectiveness aspect to cloud technology. When the demand or workload is high, more servers can be added for that particular period.
For example, to meet the demand of the increasing number of passengers, an airline can increase the number of flights for a particular time and stop the flights when the demand goes down.
The utilization of resources is tracked, monitored, controlled, and reported for each occupant. This gives transparency to both the service provider and the consumer. The cloud system has a metering capability, which is leveraged to monitor billing, use of resources, and pay only for what has been used.
When a passenger is traveling by train, he has to pay only for the distance traveled by him and not for the entire journey that the train takes.
Nowadays, almost everything is either running on the cloud, stored on the cloud, or accessed from the cloud, making cloud computing the most in-demand technology in all sectors of the economy and business.
With measurable costs, controlled risks, and flexible usage, cloud computing has become the platform of choice for large applications, enterprise technology development, and data storage.
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