Cloud computing is the hottest purpose built architecture created to support computer users. The cloud addresses three main areas of operation:
By delivering this computing, storage and applications as a service, not a product, the cloud offers both a cost and business advantage. The cloud moves all these services off-site to either a contractor, or a centralized facility. Centralizing the data allows the cost to be shared amongst all the users. The cloud accomplishes what IT is always seeking to; increase computing capabilities, without having to provide a new infrastructure. The possible uses of cloud computing are exponential. Users interface with the cloud through their web browser, eliminating the need for installing numerous software applications.
Cloud computing does simplify things for companies. The burden of owning your own data center and company infrastructure is gone. Rather, the company can then rent the applications, processing power, and storage they need from their cloud service provider. Costs at the front end are reduced, and the company only pays for what they actually need and use, with the ability for it to grow as needed, on demand. Also, the maintenance and updates are all done by the cloud service provider, reducing the tasks for in house IT.
The first half of cloud computing is the cloud. While the cloud is not local to the computer, there is some variation to where it is located. For example, there is the term public cloud where the company is not responsible for the upkeep of the server.
Its counterpoint is private cloud, where the company takes on the maintenance, and is physically at the location, known as on-premises cloud, or more remote at a data center. Private cloud is often used for more data sensitive applications to maintain control of the data for a higher level of security.
A popular solution today combines aspects of a private cloud with a public cloud, gaining advantages of distributing the workloads for optimal performance, which is known as a hybrid cloud solution. There is also the variant of a community cloud where multiple organizations create and maintain their own cloud solution in a collaborative effort.