Is it something in the heavens, maybe it’s in space can we see it from an observatory? What part of the internet is it? All these questions we ask ourselves.
In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer’s hard drive. The cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet.
When you store data on-or run programs from the hard drive, that’s called local storage and computing. Everything you need is physically close to you, which means accessing your data is fast and easy (for that one computer, or others on the local network).
Working off your hard drive is how the computer industry functioned for decades and some argue it’s still superior to cloud computing.
Cloud computing comes into focus only when you think about what IT always needs: a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software.
Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends its existing capabilities.
Cloud based systems which incorporate both private and public cloud solutions, is also known as a Hybrid Cloud.
Hybrid clouds seek to deliver the advantages of scalability, reliability, rapid deployment and potential cost savings of public clouds with the security and increased control and management of private clouds.
The public cloud
The public cloud is a set of hardware, networking, storage, services, applications, and interfaces owned and operated by a third party for use by other companies or individuals. These commercial providers create a highly scalable data center that hides the details of the underlying infrastructure from the consumer.
Public clouds are viable because they typically manage relatively repetitive or straightforward workloads. For example, electronic mail is a very simple application. Therefore, a cloud provider can optimize the environment so that it is best suited to support a large number of customers, even if they save many messages.
Public cloud providers offering storage or computing services optimize their computing hardware and software to support these specific types of workloads. In contrast, the typical data center supports so many different applications and so many different workloads that it cannot be optimized easily.
The private cloud
A private cloud is a set of hardware, networking, storage, services, applications, and interfaces owned and operated by an organization for the use of its employees, partners, and customers. A private cloud can be created and managed by a third party for the exclusive use of one enterprise.
The private cloud is a highly controlled environment not open for public consumption. Thus, a private cloud sits behind a firewall. The private cloud is highly automated with a focus on governance, security, and compliance.
Automation replaces more manual processes of managing IT services to support customers. In this way, business rules and processes can be implemented inside software so that the environment becomes more predictable and manageable.
Some businesses choose to implement Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), where the business subscribes to an application it accesses over the Internet. (Think Salesforce.com.)
There’s also Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), where a business can create its own custom applications for use by all in the company.
And don’t forget the mighty Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), where players like Amazon, Google, and Rackspace provide a backbone that can be “rented out” by other companies.
As we have covered the cloud I hope this information better helps your understanding to choose and make a decision to move forward.