What Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing refers to any kind of hosted service delivered over the internet. These services often include servers, databases, software, networks, analytics and other computing functions that can be operated through the cloud.
Files and programs stored in the cloud can be accessed anywhere by users on the service, eliminating the need to always be near physical hardware. In the past, for example, user-created documents and spreadsheets had to be saved to a physical hard drive, USB drive or disk. Without some kind of hardware component, the files were completely inaccessible outside the computer they originated on. Thanks to the cloud, few people worry anymore about fried hard drives or lost or corrupted USB drives. Cloud computing makes the documents available everywhere because the data actually lives on a network of hosted servers that transmit data over the internet.
Cloud Computing Service Types
Cloud computing services are broken down into three major categories: software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).
SaaS is the most common cloud service type. Many of us use it on a daily basis. The SaaS model makes software accessible through an app or web browser. Some SaaS programs are free, but many require a monthly or annual subscription to maintain the service. Requiring no hardware installation or management, SaaS solutions are a big hit in the business world. Notable examples include Salesforce, Dropbox or Google Docs.
IaaS provides users with basic computer infrastructure capabilities like data storage, servers and hardware — all in the cloud. IaaS gives businesses access to large platforms and applications without the need for large onsite physical infrastructures. Notable examples of IaaS include DigitalOcean, Amazon EC2 and Google Compute Engine.
How Does Cloud Computing Work?
The cloud is basically a decentralized place to share information through satellite networks. Every cloud application has a host, and the hosting company is responsible for maintaining the massive data centers that provide the security, storage capacity and computing power needed to maintain all of the information users send to the cloud.
Generally, cloud computing follows three models:
Uses for Cloud Computing with Top Hat Networking:
Companies and individuals use cloud computing in a variety. In addition to some of the examples already covered, here is a quick look at some other important application areas.