The Cloud, what is it?
Blog //18-08-2021

The Cloud, what is it

by Kevin Reed, Freelance journalist and consultant

Cloud Computing has been one of the biggest buzzwords in 2021. This is partially due to the Pandemic, as masses of people were stuck indoors relying on their devices to access the outside world, leading to a surge in Cloud traffic.

Although Cloud computing is now a mainstay in the way we operate, both in our personal lives and professionally, it’s often misunderstood what ‘the Cloud’ even is. It’s easier to understand palpable things which you can physically see working, but the Cloud seemingly just works out of thin air, so what is it?

The reason why there is confusion is because the Cloud can be compartmentalised into different areas. Services connected to a cloud environment can be provided by another organisation. Alternatively a company may have their own Private Cloud to access Cloud computing.

The Cloud offers high scalability, lower cost of operation compared to legacy counterparts, and guaranteed uptime (source) and often is pay as you go, eliminating the need for lengthy expensive contracts. Both your organisation and customers can benefit from the continuous development of the Cloud service itself.

Cloud offerings can be Public or Private; both have their benefits. Public Cloud offers fantastic scalability, as well as this maintenance can be done ‘on the fly,’ furthermore there are many Public Cloud offerings that require little to no investment in expensive hardware upfront and operate on a pay as you go basis.

Private Cloud is utilised exclusively by a single organisation, allowing them more control and flexibility with how they wish to use the Cloud, however there is more up-keep and upfront cost with a Private Cloud implementation. Alternatively, instead of owning a Private Cloud space you can also rent out someone else’s environment.

Hybrid Cloud mixes the benefits of Cloud services with on-premise, or utilising both Public and Private Cloud computing. 

To make things slightly more complex, there are 3 main forms of Cloud computing platforms which are targeting different use cases:

SaaS (Software as a Service) - A complete application running on someone else’s systems, available on demand, Google Docs is a good example of this

PaaS (Platform as a Service) - Provides a platform upon which you can build applications using web tools, the actual software and hardware is managed by a different company. Salesforce is an example of this.

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) - This is the least hand on approach, you are buying raw computing power such as storage or server space, hosting a website is an example of this.

Different use cases might be completely different in terms of implementation but are still forms of Cloud computing. The biggest concern people have when considering Cloud computing is that often times you do not have full control over the infrastructure that you are running on.  However, the companies that invest into the Cloud highlight how secure it is.

Amazon Web Services is utilised by major tech companies and is recognised as being the oldest and most established platform for Cloud services.

Here are some of the Fortune 500 companies that use AWS:

  • Netflix
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Adobe
  • Twitch
  • Linkedin
  • BBC
  • ESPN

Source

Microsoft’s Azure Cloud platform saw massive growth rates with 50% year on year growth in 2021, even beating out AWS, at 32% year on year revenue gains respectively.

What we do know is that the Cloud is here to stay, as 85% of organisations will have a Cloud-first approach by 2025.
All these options may seem a bit overwhelming, you can make your journey to the Cloud simpler click here.

Going into the future the next trend in Cloud computing is Edge computing, 127 new Internet of Things devices connect to the Cloud every second. Edge computing uses local data centres for computing instead of relying on centralised networks, which means less latency and an even better service overall. You can find out more about services from our experts that will help you stay on top of the latest technology here.

Does this mean that Edge computing will consume Cloud?
No, Cloud computing allows for bigger scale data analysis that simply isn’t possible at the edge of the network. Whilst Edge computing can only accumulate data from localised areas, which is a benefit for IoT devices as it means less latency and more processing power. From this we can gather that the Cloud and Edge computing would work well in a tandem going into the future.

 

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Kevin Reed

Kevin Reed

PUBLISHED BY

Freelance journalist and consultant

Kevin Reed is a freelance journalist with more than 20 years' experience covering professional services. He is a former editor of both Accountancy Age and Financial Director, including a period covering accounting technology. Kevin has also written for the management consulting and financial services markets. Current roles include consultant for Foulger Underwood and chair of the Women in Accountancy and Finance Awards.

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