What is cloud computing?
I simply mean the process of providing the access to computing services, including, software, networking operations, databases, etc., via the internet. The services are hosted on the virtual storage space (cloud) of a service provider, called the host, and can be accessed by all the users by connecting their devices, registered with the host, to the internet.
Cloud computing allows the users to shift the burden of performing computations on their computers to that of the host's. This has allowed many users save a lot of money, time and other resources, especially when trying to scale their business as the customer base expands.
How does cloud computing works?
The architecture of cloud computing can be divided into two parts, namely, frontend and backend.
The frontend represents the client side. It runs all the application required to connect to the host's network to access the services. Depending upon the application used the functions may vary, a little. For example, windows will have separate commands than the Linux based system.
The backend represents the service provider or the host. It consists of multiple servers, databases and computers that are configured to run required programs. Further, the backend consists of a central system that manage all the incoming requests and redirects them to the required program. It uses a set of protocols to achieve this functionality.
Apart from this, the service provider also requires extra storage devices for storing the data and keeping its backup. In case of a disaster, the backup will be utilized for data recovery. See the image below for better understanding.
There are following types of cloud computing services offered: -
1. Software-as-a-service: - it provides license of using a given software to the clients. For example, MS Office 365.
2. Infrastructure-as-a-service: - it makes available different products ranging from operating system to storage space, via the internet. For example, Microsoft Azure
3. Platform-as-service: - it is slightly different from SaaS in the sense that it does not offer software but a platform to create software. For example, Heroku.
Advantages of Cloud Computing
1. Cost: -
With the increase in the number of internet user, there is a huge influx of the data that need to be stored. To store such an amount of data companies, need to make their own datacentres, buy hardware, racks of server, and IT professionals to set it up and to operate it, and that will cost a fortune for the company. With the help of cloud computing, this cost can be reduced significantly.
2. Performance: -
The datacentre you set up for your company will get outdated in a year or two which needs to be upgraded to keep the services going without any interruption. As almost every cloud computing service consists of secure datacentres networks spread throughout the world, those datacentres are regularly upgraded to the newest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This helps the company in reducing network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.
3. Universal Access: -
Cloud computing services are platform independent that means it is easily accessible from any device using the internet connection. This increases the mobility and the productivity as it allows team members to collaborate irrespective of the platform they use.
Future of Cloud Computing?
The future of cloud computing looks very bright. It seems like cloud computing is going to stay with us for a while and the reasons is that will help satisfying future demands and facilitate making the future technologies more efficient, in the following manner.
1. Increasing demand of storage: -
Our lives are becoming more dependent on data with each passing day. Everything we see around us, including advertisements, entertainment videos/photos, news, etc., pop up on our devices based on the type of data we consume and spend time surfing. All our daily activities are tracked, quantified and stored by the social media platforms. This has increased the demand for data storage.
Not all the companies can afford maintaining a dedicated server room to handle the data. This is where the cloud computing comes into picture. It can provide a way to store the data on a remote location and access it on need basis. This is especially helpful for the new start-ups who want to save financial resources and scale their operations swiftly.
2. 5G is coming: -
We are now closer than ever to experience the full rollout of 5G. But what has 5G got to do with cloud computing?
With 5G one of the things that would expand massive is Internet of Things (IoT). IoT will lead to a better communication among all the devices connected to the internet. One of things that need to be done to make IoT efficient is to analyse the data and provide an appropriate response and cloud computing can help with this.
With cloud computing, the incoming data can be analysed and sent to the required program to process and send a response. This modularization of data helps better utilize the server resources and reduce the response time.
3. Artificial Intelligence: -
One of the common uses of AI that we see around us the voice command on our devices, like phone, Alexa, etc. Currently the way they work feels a bit artificial or fabricated. This is because whenever a command is issued, the device takes in the data, processes it, checks the response to be provided and then send it to the user.
On cloud computing, the deep learning programs can be deployed, and the devices can be provided continues access to them. This will enable the AI to continuedly read and learn from the data. In time, the response time will be reduced, and the respond AI assistant will be responding to the user as if it were a real person talking. This can take AI to the next level.
What are the challenges for Cloud computing?
1. Security: -
The biggest concern for the companies who are weighing whether or not to invest in cloud computing is security. Businesses are very dubious about giving their most sensitive data over to a third-party cloud service provider. Whenever an organization sets up a cloud account, it cannot be sure about the location where its data will be stored and what protocols are being used by the providers to secure the data from cyber-attacks. This makes organisations apprehensive of using cloud computing.
2. Difficulty setting up: -
Moving a cloud-based application from one to another host is straightforward but the same cannot be said for moving traditionally setup application to cloud. There are multiple and sometimes complex steps involved. The process can be very time consuming and frustrating. According to a study conducted by Velostrata, more than 50% of the companies migrating to cloud find the process to be difficult. This can be a limiting factor when it comes to expanding the technology.
3. Governance: -
Each country has different rules and regulations for storing and using the data. Whenever a cloud storage is setup in a new country, the organization has to ensure compliance with the rules of the territory. Further, some government regulated organizations need to comply with their own set of rules for keeping client data online. For instance, health organizations in USA have to follow Health Insurance Portability and Accountability law.
The report was successfully completed because of the collective efforts made by all the team members. Each and every member of the group did the research to collect relevant information about the topic. Vikaramjit wrote about what cloud computing is and how it works. Harman wrote about its advantages. Both Harman and Vikaramjit collectively shared their thoughts about what future holds for cloud computing. Prithvi and Percy wrote about the challenges the technology can face and also read the report for any errors.