What Exactly is the Cloud?

“Cloud” was not so long ago just a technological industry slang term, vaguely describing a capability of storing files somewhere else than on your local device. Since that time, cloud technology has grown into one of the most significant and most promising branches of IT, expanding both space and freedom for every single one of us to work on our terms. So what does one exactly mean when bragging about keeping files in a cloud and what exactly is the cloud? Let’s find out!

“Cloud” was not so long ago just a technological industry slang term, vaguely describing a capability of storing files somewhere else than on your local device. Since that time, cloud technology has grown into one of the most significant and most promising branches of IT, expanding both space and freedom for every single one of us to work on our terms. So what does one exactly mean when bragging about keeping files in a cloud and what exactly is the cloud? Let’s find out!

Cloud represents software or database that is running on external servers in multiple data centers. Users can access this software, files or data from any given location using any chosen device. The only obligation that you need is a solid Internet connection. It means that computing or storage of files (or both) does not happen on a local device, as it used to. Instead, these processes take place on previously mentioned servers worldwide (cloud computing), which are nothing but physical computers or programs, simply providing a service to another device. This technology can even create sufficient space for many users within a single, physical computer server. Cloud is typically offered by cloud data hosting vendors, who usually provide professional support and automated backup strategies.

All your files are stored on your device’s hard drive without using a cloud, which has limited space. You can access these files only via that tool since they are nowhere else but there. When something goes wrong, well, let’s hope you’ve done some backups! When using the cloud, all your files are saved on multiple servers-computers. You can reach those records from any device you want, remember? If you pick the right cloud product for you, there should be no need to worry about limited space or data loss anymore. The same goes for any applications you are using. You don’t have to install them, store and update them on your local device. Cloud does all the storing, updating, and backups for you! All of that, thanks to the power of the Internet and your browser!

Main service models of cloud computing

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You will come across a variety of services of cloud computing. To understand this subject correctly, models can be divided by what exactly, in a given case, is a service, but also which elements of the service are managed by the user and which by the vendor.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Software is accessible on-demand, usually via browser. In this case, there is no need to install anything on the user’s device. The software is already accessible over the Internet since every component is installed on a cloud server. Good examples are Microsoft Office 365 or Google Mail. All you have to do is open the application through a web browser.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

PaaS Platforms are offered to those who, for example, need development tools for building an app without having to maintain a complex infrastructure. PaaS is also commonly used for business analytics and forecasting. Heroku or SAP Cloud are some of the biggest PaaS providers.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

In the IaaS case, cloud vendor provides only base infrastructure, such as storage and servers, upon which users can build their application with their tools. Some of the biggest names in IaaS branch are Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and our favourite solution at Accesto – Google Cloud.

Function-as-a-Service (FaaS)

Some will also point out the fourth big service, with its rapidly increasing popularity – FaaS. This service allows users to deploy only parts of the app, therefore makes it possible to, for example, run backend code without maintaining the servers by themselves. AWS Lambda, which is Amazon’s serverless computing architecture, works on FaaS.

Benefits of using cloud computing

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There are many reasons for the frequent usage of cloud computing. No matter if you are a company or an ordinary user, you care about your finances. Cloud computing helps you save tons of money. Building and maintaining a complete IT infrastructure, including servers and data centers, is expensive, let alone creating space or hiring a specialized maintenance crew. If you decide to use a cloud solution, all these costs are gone. Same with planning your future moves or strategies. There’s no need to worry about paying more than you used to. With cloud services, you decide what you need, and you pay only for the storage or computing you actually use.

What’s more, you can diversify required resources, following your most current needs. And again, you only pay for what you use. If your employees work remotely or even abroad, the cloud can help them stay up to date. After all, they can access equal files, apps, or databases from basically any place with an Internet connection.

If you are a regular user, you are probably worried about free space on your hard drive. Cloud storage takes it off your shoulders. You can have as much space as you need. Thanks to the cloud, data losses are rarely ever a problem. Any changes can be saved automatically, seconds after you made them, so no consequences of losing data in a computer crash will bother you anymore.

What’s more, there is less risk of losing access to your applications or databases since they are not running on your local device. Instead, you are simply accessing them via any device of yours and a browser, thanks to the SaaS model.

Trusted solution for every user

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Cloud computing has been around for quite some time now but will, undoubtedly, continue to expand and evolve. We use clouds often without knowing it because most programs and applications today run on public or private clouds. As a single user, the cloud helps you with limited hard drive space and saves you from critical data losses, making your files and applications available anywhere and anytime. As a company owner, the cloud saves much money, allowing you to enjoy an IT infrastructure that you don’t have to own, therefore maintain and oversee. Cloud is also a better way of protecting files, whether it’s a virus, hacker activity, or simply a machine malfunction. If you’re somehow still not using cloud technology, it is high time to try it out. Once you adjust it to your needs, it feels like “walking on clouds”!