According to analysts, global spending on public cloud solutions for 2022 increased by 30% over the previous year’s volume. But despite the widespread adoption of cloud services, many continue to doubt the choice of computing resources and ask themselves, “How are clouds better than my office server?”
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Even if you like to play casino slot games, you are still faced with cloud technology. Everything you encounter on the Internet has a connection to cloud computing. Let’s understand what this means.
The essence of clouds with a simple example
Cloud computing (or “the cloud”) is a data processing technology in which resources are provided to the consumer as an online service. This model includes network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (servers, applications, networks, storage, and services).
Let’s take an example to get an idea of what cloud computing is all about. Previously, a user had access to email through specific software, but now he can go to an email service provider’s website through a web browser without intermediaries.
But this example is more about private clouds. And if we talk about business, the implementation of cloud projects began in 2006, when Amazon demonstrated its web services infrastructure, providing customers with hosting and remote computing power.
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The scope of cloud technology
What cloud technology is not is your hard drive. When you save the information or run a program from your hard drive, it’s called local storage and processing. Everything you need is nearby, which means easy and quick access from your computer or local network. Local work at your computer has been around for decades, and there are opinions that this approach is preferable to using the cloud, which will be discussed below.
The cloud is also not a dedicated home/office server, a corporate server farm, or network attached storage (NAS). Although such solutions allow them to be used over the Internet, they are components of private networks, and working with them has nothing to do with cloud technology, which is based on the use of public networks, specifically the Internet.
For this to be considered cloud computing, the least you would need is access to your data and programs over the Internet with the ability to synchronize them with other information. Working with an extensive system, you may know what’s going on with them “on the other end of the wire,” in turn, individual users may not have the slightest idea. In both cases, cloud computing can be done from any geographic location and at any time.
The benefits of cloud solutions
Clouds are changing the way technology and information resources are managed, as well as the way they are delivered to businesses. In this case, the advantages over traditional scenarios of office servers are apparent. The main characteristics of a cloud solution are:
- Efficiency. Clouds work regardless of computing systems and their location. It provides decent savings by scaling resources based on need.
- Security. Resources aren’t just kept safe by firewalls and perimeter encryption. Protection for cloud solutions is also provided at the local level because of the application of specific rules in virtual containers, which is very important for sensitive information.
- Flexibility. All resources, software, and hardware can be quickly reconfigured into new business info systems and services. Plus, the entire spectrum of technology resources can be easily scaled up during peak loads and then back to baseline.
- Reliability. The cloud has the necessary redundancy functionality, with the right resources for backup and recovery at the customer’s request. Therefore, there is no need to create backup configurations.
- Optimization. The cloud is a unified system under user control, which can optimize a significant portion of resources through an effective combination of functionality, performance, and cost.
Case #1: Backup storage
The simplest use case for clouds is backup data storage. Backup experts recommend storing copies of critical data remotely.
Case #2: Backup site
Building a seamless, fault-tolerant IT infrastructure at the local level is costly in terms of both time and money. So, instead of creating a local data center, it is worth looking at the cloud to organize a backup site. This cloud delivery option is suitable for small and medium-sized businesses and large companies.
Case #3: Hybrid cloud
If your business is seasonal or has a tendency to change load periods, then the best option is to move to the cloud those applications which are used at peak times. In this way, you can create a hybrid cloud that keeps your entire infrastructure running efficiently.
Case #4: A deployment environment for in-demand projects
In companies with complex organizational structures, deployment of on-demand projects is handled by individual departments. Typically, resources are checked and counted before a project begins, but sometimes the need for help is underestimated for various reasons. Therefore, if local computing resources are not enough, and the customer is waiting for his application, it is possible to use cloud resources. And perhaps the final product will even exceed expectations.
Case #5: Migration to the cloud
One of the most common cloud solutions is migrating the entire infrastructure to the cloud and abandoning on-premises hardware. It allows you to test and experience all the benefits of cloud technology discussed above. The cloud provider usually takes responsibility for migrating customer systems and organizes the migration to have as little impact on the business as possible.
Opponents of cloud computing argue that the speed and cost of transferring data over the Internet will not, at least not for the foreseeable future, exceed that of a truck carrying thousands of hard drives with hundreds of gigabytes of information. Proponents answer: the ISP controls the access speed and can be increased.
However, it is not that simple. When you put all your information on the Internet, you expect access to it to be constant and unlimited, and you pay for it. And you’ll keep paying more and more as ISPs and service providers manage access, and they’ll find a way to get even more from you.
About ten years ago, Steve Wozniak called the potential problems with cloud computing “terrifying.” As a large-scale example, in the summer of 2012, Netflix, Instagram, and Pinterest were unavailable for about two hours because they rented cloud storage from Amazon. Similar incidents occurred with iCloud, MS Azure, Evernote, Google Drive, and other cloud services, with customers being unable to access their information anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.
Another unanswered question is: Who owns the data stored in the cloud? It’s not an idle question; think of the controversy over changes to the user agreements of cloud services like Facebook and Instagram and what they can do with your photos. Plus, there’s a difference between the files you upload and those you make with cloud services. So ownership is an essential factor to worry about.
Although cloud technology exists and is successfully used, it is still a developing trend in the IT industry. There are several problems: technological, ethical, and legal – and no solution has yet been found for them. However, the undoubted advantage of cloud computing – the ability to work with data from anywhere where there is an Intranet – makes more and more users turn a blind eye to the shortcomings that exist.