What are the Various Types of Cloud Computing
You might already be using cloud computing even if you don’t realize it. Today, people are using their smartphones to perform a variety of online activities – sending a document, sharing a post on social media, watching a web series, transferring money to someone, booking a hotel, and so on. One technology that keeps on working while performing all these online activities is cloud computing. Do you remember that traditionally people used to download Microsoft Office and use Microsoft Word to create any new document? But how do we create a new document now? Well, you may instantly open your Google Drive and use Google Docs, even on your smartphone. This is just a simple example of the application of cloud computing.
Cloud computing is basically the delivery of computing services using the internet. These services may include storage, infrastructure, networking, hosting, servers, databases, or more advanced ones like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), and big data analytics. Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are the key players that offer cloud services across the world. They basically work on a pay-as-you-go basis, giving businesses a cost-effective way to increase their IT capacity and functionality. Based on the specific requirements, companies select appropriate cloud services and pay for the services used only, with the option to cancel their subscription anytime.
This article discusses the types of cloud computing so that you get a better introduction to this topic.
Cloud Computing Types
When it comes to types of cloud computing, you need to decide what factors you are considering. If you want the categorization based on the type of cloud deployment, then there are three ways – Public cloud, Private Cloud, and Hybrid Cloud. Next, if you are referring to types of cloud services, then it is divided into – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Let us first describe the classification based on the type of cloud deployment.
As the name suggests, public clouds are the ones owned by third-party cloud service providers and accessible to businesses and individuals through the internet. The third party is responsible for building and maintaining the resources, allowing businesses to use the services and infrastructure to reduce their IT operational costs. Such services are hosted on one of the globally distributed and managed data centers of the cloud service provider. AWS, GCP, and Microsoft Azure are the top examples of service providers offering this type of cloud.
Contrary to a public cloud, when the cloud services and infrastructure are hosted on a private network, then we call it a private cloud. It is usually owned by a single organization and involves a more controlled environment and more centralized access to IT resources. The private cloud can be physically located on the on-site data center of the organization or it can also be hosted privately by a third-party services provider. As you can expect, a private cloud is more expensive than a public cloud, but offers improved security and offers businesses more autonomy to customize the networking, compute services, and storage to suit their IT requirements.
Hybrid cloud refers to the combination of public and private cloud, bound securely over the internet usually through a virtual private network (VPN) or specific private channel. Companies that opt for a hybrid cloud aim to utilize all the benefits offered by a public cloud while managing control over mission-critical data through a private cloud. A hybrid cloud is also convenient for organizations that wish to conduct data processing on-premises while at the same time using the high storage capacity of the public cloud.
Now based on the types of cloud services, you will come across three terms, as discussed below:
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
The term infrastructure encompasses the fundamental network, computer resources, and storage services, and through IaaS, the service providers rent them out on a pay-as-you-go basis. With IaaS, organizations do not need any hardware on-premises as they get the entire infrastructure of the network, virtual servers, data storage drives, and operating systems online. It facilitates the migration of workloads to a virtual machine, and companies have control over starting, stopping, accessing, and configuring the VM as required.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
The PaaS model refers to the hosting of development tools on cloud infrastructures. The aim here is to simplify the web app development process by letting the cloud service provider handle all the backend management like servers, databases, networks, and storage. There are gateway software, web portals, or APIs for users to access such development tools. PaaS solutions are suitable for businesses that work on a project involving multiple developers.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS facilitates access to ready-to-use software for customers. Just like we open any website, these SaaS applications can be accessed through a web browser on a system connected to the internet. The Google Docs example we mentioned in the beginning is basically a SaaS offering. The cloud provider is responsible for hosting and managing the software application, its underlying infrastructure, and also handles its maintenance, software upgrades, and security patching.
Willing to learn more about cloud computing? Why not enroll in a cloud course and understand cloud concepts in detail.