Cloud Computing: Introduction, Definition, Features, History, and Benefits

Cloud Computing Introduction: In this tutorial, we will learn what is cloud computing, its history, and its definition. By Pratishtha Saxena Last updated : June 03, 2023


Cloud computing has its roots in the concept of utility computing, which dates back to the 1960s. The idea was to provide computing resources as a utility, similar to other essential services like electricity or water. However, the modern form of cloud computing, as we know it today, has evolved over the past few decades.

The start of the internet and the development of reliable networking technologies laid the foundation for cloud computing. The combination of technological advancements, evolving business needs, cost efficiencies, and the drive for innovation led to the emergence and adoption of cloud computing.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing resources and services over the Internet. It provides on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources, including networks, servers, storage, applications, and services. Rather than hosting and managing these resources locally, users can access them remotely through the internet from a cloud service provider.

In cloud computing, the underlying infrastructure and technical details are abstracted from the users, who can focus on utilizing the resources without worrying about the complexities of hardware or software management. The cloud service provider manages and maintains the infrastructure, ensuring its availability, scalability, and security.

Cloud Computing Overview

Definition of Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is a technology that provides a way to use computing services or resources according to pay-per-use, in other words it can be elaborated as.

I don't care where my servers are, who manages them, where my documents are stored, or where my applications are hosted, I just want them always available and access them from any device connected to the internet. And I am willing to pay for this service for as long as I need it.

Standard Definition of Cloud computing by NSIT

By NSIT (National Institute of Standards and Technology) - "Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction."

Origin & History of Cloud Computing

  • In 1961 Computer scientist John McCarthy proposed the idea of origin of utility computing that has the traces of computing in cloud.
  • And it has included the vision of future computing means using the computing services as daily public utility services like electricity, telephony, water supply on the basis of pay per use.
  • In 1969 chief scientist of Advance research Project Agency Network (ARPANET) stated that,
  • As of now, computer networks are still in their infancy, but as they grow up and become sophisticated, we will probably see the spread of computer utilities and so on.
  • In 1990, Today the No. 1 CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform comes that actually bring a new era to cloud computing, and salesforce provides a complete Computing platform just by a login service to the companies that wants to switch on to cloud.
  • In 2002, launched its Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform, Salesforce and AWS both provides us the enterprise oriented and remotely controlled functionalities.
  • In 1990 the term Cloud Network or cloud was originated by Network industry.
  • Until 2006, there were no such term that was associated with commercial cloud computing arena. It becomes Cloud Computing when launches its another Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) services that helps companies to run their high processing task or enterprise application on EC2, after that Google App Engine was one more great milestone in Computer's history.
  • Microsoft also launches its cloud computing platform named as AZURE. After these so many platforms came and are available in market to use according to task requirements and budget.

Features of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing offers several key features that differentiate it from traditional IT infrastructure models. These features include:

  1. On-Demand Self-Service: Users can provision and access cloud resources automatically, without the need for human interaction or manual intervention from the service provider.
  2. Broad Network Access: Cloud services are accessible over the internet via various devices, such as computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets, enabling users to access their applications and data from anywhere at any time.
  3. Resource Pooling: Cloud resources are shared among multiple users, allowing for efficient utilization and cost optimization. Resources can be dynamically allocated and scaled according to demand.
  4. Rapid Elasticity: Cloud services can scale up or down based on workload requirements. Resources can be quickly provisioned or released to match changing demands, ensuring optimal performance and cost efficiency.
  5. Measured Service: Cloud usage is monitored and measured, providing transparency and allowing users to be billed for the actual resources consumed. This pay-as-you-go model offers flexibility and cost control.
  6. Multi-Tenancy: Cloud resources and infrastructure are shared among multiple users or tenants.
  7. Service Models: Cloud computing offers various service models to meet different needs: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
  8. High Availability and Reliability: Cloud service providers typically operate multiple data centres in different geographic locations to ensure high availability and fault tolerance.
  9. Security: Cloud computing providers implement robust security measures to protect data and applications. They employ encryption, access controls, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and other security technologies to provide a secure computing environment.
  10. Scalability and Performance: Cloud computing allows users to scale their resources on-demand, enabling them to handle varying workloads and accommodate growth.

Types of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing can be classified into four main types: private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, and multicloud based on their deployment models.

1. Public Cloud

In a public cloud environment, cloud services are provided by third-party service providers over the Internet. These services are available to the general public or a large number of customers. The cloud infrastructure and resources are shared among multiple users or tenants.

Examples of public cloud providers include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

2. Private Cloud

A private cloud environment is dedicated to a single organization or customer. It can be hosted on-premises within the organization's own data centers or managed by a third-party service provider. Private clouds offer increased control, security, and customization options. They are often preferred by organizations with specific compliance requirements or sensitive data.

Private cloud solutions include platforms like VMware vSphere, OpenStack, and Microsoft Azure Stack.

3. Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud environment combines both public and private cloud infrastructure. It allows organizations to leverage the benefits of both environments, enabling workload portability, flexibility, and scalability. Organizations can use the public cloud for non-sensitive or variable workloads while keeping critical or sensitive data and applications on a private cloud. Hybrid cloud solutions often involve connecting and integrating public and private cloud resources, enabling seamless data and application mobility between environments.

4. Multicloud

Multicloud is a cloud environment that is made with more than one cloud service and from more than one cloud vendor (public or private). Note that all hybrid clouds are multiclouds, but not all multiclouds are hybrid clouds.

Types of Cloud Services

1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service provides virtualized computing resources over the Internet. It offers the fundamental building blocks of IT infrastructure, including virtual machines, storage, and networks.

With IaaS, users have control over the operating systems, applications, and runtime environments deployed on the infrastructure.

Examples of IaaS providers include Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2, Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines, and Google Compute Engine.

2. Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service provides a platform and environment for developing, testing, and deploying applications. It abstracts away the complexity of infrastructure management, allowing developers to focus on application development.

PaaS providers offer pre-configured development frameworks, libraries, and runtime environments to support the development and deployment of applications. Users have control over the application code and configuration settings but do not manage the underlying infrastructure.

Examples of PaaS providers include Heroku, Google App Engine, and Microsoft Azure App Service.

3. Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service offers fully functional applications over the internet on a subscription basis. Users can access and use software applications directly through web browsers or thin clients without the need for installation or maintenance.

The cloud provider manages the infrastructure, platform, and application stack, including updates, security, and availability.

Examples of SaaS providers include Salesforce, Google Workspace, Dropbox, and Microsoft Office 365.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

  • Cost Efficiency: Cloud computing offers cost advantages by eliminating the need for organizations to invest in and maintain their physical infrastructure. Instead, they can access computing resources on-demand and pay only for what they use.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: Cloud computing provides the ability to scale resources up or down based on demand. Organizations can easily add or remove computing resources as needed.
  • Accessibility and Remote Work: Cloud computing enables remote access to applications and data from any location with an internet connection.
  • Innovation and Agility: Cloud computing has adopted innovation by allowing organizations to focus on their core competencies and business objectives rather than managing IT infrastructure. It provides a platform for rapid development, deployment, and experimentation, enabling faster time-to-market for new products and services.
  • Reliability and Availability: Cloud service providers typically offer high levels of reliability, availability, and disaster recovery options.

The combination of technological advancements, evolving business needs, cost efficiencies, and the drive for innovation led to the emergence and adoption of cloud computing. Today, cloud computing has become an integral part of the IT landscape, powering a wide range of applications and services across industries.

Comments and Discussions!

Copyright © 2023 All rights reserved.