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What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is the practice of using different computing resources as a service over the network. The computing resources could be hardware, software, infrastructure etc. Cloud computing could also be said as a different approach of managing IT resources on large scale. It makes use of many different existing technologies including service orientation, virtualization and grid computing.
Cloud shaped symbol is being used in system diagrams to represent the complex infrastructure it contains. Though the cloud symbols were used in the past to represent telephone networks, now they are being used to represent Internet. As cloud computing model mainly uses Internet to implement the service, it got the meaningful and relevant name ‘cloud computing’.
Consider the case of a software development organization with many employees. All of them require their own systems with required software applications installed on those machines. Now, what happens if a new employee joins the organization? Again a new system with all software is to be made available for the new employee. You need to purchase the system, then get software with license and make the setup. This is of course a time consuming, at the same time an expensive process.
Now, just think of the situation where you make the basic setup available for the person and then rent only the required services over Internet. This will help you save the amount spent on purchasing and setting up infrastructure required to run the business. This is the whole idea behind cloud computing model. Cloud computing is a concept where you access different hardware, software or other infrastructure that actually reside in a different location than yours.
Cloud computing introduced the idea of pay as you use. The resources that are made available as services can be accessed even by users, who do not have any knowledge on managing these resources. Thus, users get the golden opportunity to concentrate more on their work or business, without worrying about managing the resources that are just things required to achieve their goals. Reusability of IT resources is the whole concept used in the working of cloud computing.
To be clearer, customers who make use of cloud computing model do not require any physical infrastructure in order to make their plans work. Instead, they rent it from third party providers. The third party handles cost of servers or applications, manages software updates and installation of service packs and so on. Thus, you do not have to make huge investments on physical infrastructure. Moreover, you do not have to spend on resources that are not used. You can purchase more resources or reduce the resources based on your requirements. Thus, resources are managed more effectively. You can get your information at anytime from anywhere with the help of a cloud. What you need is just Internet access.
Cloud computing architecture usually has two components: front end and back end. Front end of cloud computing model consists of different machines, network and different applications that are used by the client who consumes this service. So, client uses these machines or setup to access services that are on back end. Back end includes the entire cloud that consists of machines, network, data storage servers etc that are set up by the service provider. In short, you need not have to be in the same location as the hardware that stores your information. Usually, cloud computing system consists of group of clouds and a central server to ensure that different clients’ needs are met smoothly. A webmail is a very simple example of cloud computing.
Cloud computing has been progressing at a tremendous level in the last few years. Now, businesses are making the best use of cloud computing and running them in the most efficient way by overcoming most of the challenges of cloud computing.