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Cloud Computing Platforms: Your Essential Guide

Author
SPEC INDIA
Posted

December 22, 2023

Updated

February 20th, 2024

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence, and more—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.

Cloud computing platforms provide businesses with a way to access computing resources on demand, without having to invest in and maintain their own hardware and software. This can save businesses money and improve their agility and scalability.

Cloud-Computing-Platforms

Advantages of Cloud Computing

Cost Savings: Once you’re on the cloud, easy access to your company’s data will save time and money in project startups. And, for those who are worried that they’ll end up paying for features that they neither need nor want, most cloud-computing services are pay-as-you-go.

Security: For one thing, a cloud host’s full-time job is to carefully monitor security, which is significantly more efficient than a conventional in-house system, where an organization must divide its efforts between a myriad of IT concerns, with security being only one of them.

Flexibility: The cloud offers businesses more flexibility overall versus hosting on a local server. And, if you need extra bandwidth, a cloud-based service can meet that demand instantly, rather than undergoing a complex (and expensive) update to your IT infrastructure.

Mobility: Through the cloud, you can offer conveniently accessible information to sales staff who travel, freelance employees, or remote employees, for better work-life balance.

Insight: Many cloud-based storage solutions offer integrated cloud analytics for a bird’s-eye view of your data. With your information stored in the cloud, you can easily implement tracking mechanisms and build customized reports to analyze organization-wide information.

Increased Collaboration: Cloud computing makes collaboration a simple process. Team members can view and share information easily and securely across a cloud-based platform.

Quality Control: In a cloud-based system, all documents are stored in one place and in a single format. With everyone accessing the same information, you can maintain consistency in data, avoid human error, and have a clear record of any revisions or updates.

Disaster Recovery: Cloud-based services provide quick data recovery for all kinds of emergency scenarios, from natural disasters to power outages.

Loss Prevention: With a cloud-based server, however, all the information you’ve uploaded to the cloud remains safe and easily accessible from any computer with an internet connection, even if the computer you regularly use isn’t working.

Automatic Software Updates: Cloud-based applications automatically refresh and update themselves, instead of forcing an IT department to perform a manual organization-wide update.

Sustainability: Hosting on the cloud is more environmentally friendly and results in less of a carbon footprint.

A Pike Research report by salesforce, predicted data centre energy consumption will drop by 31% from 2010 to 2020 based on the adoption of cloud computing and other virtual data options.

– Source: salesforce.com

Types of Cloud Computing Platforms

There are four main types of cloud computing platforms

Types-of-cloud-platforms

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS provides businesses with access to computing resources, such as servers, storage, and networking. Businesses can use IaaS to build and deploy their own applications on the cloud.

Use Cases for IaaS
  • Web Hosting: IaaS can host web-based applications and websites, providing users access to the underlying infrastructure and computing resources.
  • Application Development and Testing: IaaS can be used to develop and test software applications, as it provides users with access to the underlying infrastructure and computing resources.
  • Database Hosting: IaaS can host databases as it provides users access to the underlying infrastructure and computing resources.
  • Disaster Recovery: IaaS can be used for disaster recovery, as it allows users to quickly provision additional resources from the cloud to restore their data and systems.
  • Big Data Analytics: IaaS can store, process, and analysed large amounts of data, providing users with access to the underlying infrastructure and computing resources.
  • IoT Deployment: IaaS can deploy and manage large-scale Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, as it provides users with access to the underlying infrastructure and computing resources.

Service Examples of IaaS

  • DigitalOcean: It is a cloud infrastructure provider that offers virtual private servers (VPSs) known as “droplets”. Droplets are flexible, easy to configure, and cost-effective, making them ideal for hosting websites and applications.
  • Linode: A cloud infrastructure provider that offers virtual private servers (VPSs). It provides a wide range of VPS plans and custom solutions to fit the needs of any size organization. They also offer a suite of developer tools and services such as managed databases, object storage, and load balancers.
  • Rackspace: It is a cloud infrastructure provider that offers managed cloud services, such as virtual private servers (VPSs), dedicated servers, and cloud servers. They provide various services and solutions, including managed databases, application hosting, and cloud storage. It also offers managed security services and 24/7 customer support.

Platform as a Service (PaaS):

PaaS provides businesses with a platform for developing, running, and managing applications. PaaS providers offer a variety of services, such as programming languages, development tools, databases, and middleware.

Use Cases for PaaS
  • Web Application Hosting: PaaS can host applications requiring frequent updates without managing the underlying infrastructure. This makes it easier to deploy and scale applications.
  • Mobile App Development: PaaS can be used to develop and deploy mobile applications more quickly, as it provides access to ready-made components and services.
  • Big Data Analytics: PaaS can process and analyzed large amounts of data quickly and cost-effectively, as it provides access to powerful computing resources.
  • IoT Solutions: PaaS can be used to develop and manage connected devices and applications, as it provides access to scalability and secure communication infrastructure.
  • DevOps Automation: PaaS can be used to automate development and operations processes, such as deployment, testing, and monitoring, which helps to ensure faster and more reliable software releases.
Examples of PaaS
  • Windows Azure: Windows Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, which provides an operating system, a set of services, and tools for developers to create, deploy and manage applications in the cloud. It supports various programming languages and frameworks, such as .NET, Java, PHP, and Node.js, and provides data storage, networking, computing, and analytics services.
  • Heroku: Heroku is a cloud-based Platform as a Service (PaaS) that allows developers to construct, operate, and expand programs on the cloud. It is powered by a managed container system that makes it easier to distribute, scale, and manage applications. It is compatible with many programming languages and frameworks, such as Ruby, Java, Node.js, and Python, and features a wide range of services and added features.

Software as a Service (SaaS):

SaaS provides businesses with access to software applications that are hosted in the cloud. SaaS applications are typically accessed over the Internet through a web browser or mobile app.

Use Cases for SaaS
  • Email and Collaboration: Email and collaboration tools such as Google Apps and Office 365 are popular SaaS applications for communication and productivity.
  • CRM: Customer relationship management (CRM) tools such as Salesforce and  Zendesk provide businesses with a platform to manage customer data, automate sales and marketing operations, and track customer engagement.
  • E-commerce: E-commerce platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento provide businesses with a complete solution to create and manage their online stores.
  • Project Management: Project management and task management tools such as Asana, Trello, and Basecamp are popular SaaS applications used to manage projects, tasks, and timelines.
  • Accounting: Accounting and bookkeeping tools such as QuickBooks Online and Xero provide businesses with an easy way to track financials and keep their books in order.
  • Human Resources: Human resource management (HRM) tools such as BambooHR and Zenefits provide businesses with a platform to manage employee data and automate HR processes.
Service Examples of SaaS
  • Google Workspace (formerly GSuite): Google Workspace (formerly GSuite) is a suite of cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools that includes Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Calendar, Meet, and more. It provides businesses with an easy way to collaborate, share documents, and store data in the cloud.
  • Dropbox: Dropbox is a file storage and sharing service that enables users to store and access their data from any device with an internet connection. It also provides real-time collaboration tools to collaborate on projects in the cloud.
  • Salesforce: Salesforce is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that provides businesses with the tools they need to manage customer relationships and data. It enables companies to store, track, and analyze customer data and automate and streamline sales processes.

Interesting Read: Top 25 SaaS Examples and Applications

Function-as-a-Service (FaaS):

Function-as a Service (FaaS) is a cloud computing solution that enables developers to upload code directly onto the cloud without the need to handle servers or virtual machines. FaaS is optimal for executing small code pieces rapidly and effectively without managing servers or virtual machines.

Use Cases for FaaS
  • Image Processing and Analysis: FaaS can quickly and efficiently process images. Applications of this could include facial recognition, object recognition, or text recognition.
  • Machine Learning: FaaS can quickly and efficiently build and deploy machine learning models in the cloud. These models can predict customer behavior, detect anomalies, or automate decision-making.
  • IoT: FaaS can quickly and efficiently deploy and manage applications on IoT devices. This could include applications for monitoring and managing connected devices, analyzing data from sensors, or controlling devices remotely.
  • Web Applications: FaaS can quickly and efficiently deploy and manage web applications in the cloud. This could include content management, e-commerce, or customer relationship management applications.
  • Data Processing and Analytics: FaaS can be used to quickly and efficiently process and analyze large datasets in the cloud. This could include applications for data warehousing, predictive analytics, or text analytics.
Service Examples of FaaS
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) Lambda: AWS Lambda is a serverless computing platform that allows developers to run code without having to manage or provision any servers. It is a service that allows users to upload their own code and then run it in the cloud without needing servers or maintenance.
  • Azure Functions: Azure Functions is a serverless computing service from Microsoft that allows users to run code without having to manage or provision any servers. It is a service that allows users to upload their own code and then run it in the cloud without needing servers or maintenance.
  • Google Cloud Functions: Google Cloud Functions is a serverless computing service from Google that allows developers to run code without having to manage or provision any servers. It is a service that allows users to upload their own code and then run it in the cloud without needing servers or maintenance.

Choosing the Right Cloud Computing Platform

  • Needs: What are your specific needs in terms of computing resources and services?
  • Budget: How much are you willing to spend on cloud computing?
  • Experience: Do you have any experience with cloud computing?
  • Support: Does the cloud provider offer good support?

It is also important to compare the different cloud computing platforms in terms of their pricing, features, and support.

Case Study: Cloud-based Data Analytics for News Agency

Top Cloud Computing Providers

Cloud computing providers offer various services and infrastructure over the internet, revolutionizing how businesses and individuals access, manage, and utilize computing resources.

This image highlights some of the leading cloud service providers:

Top-Cloud-Computing-Providers

Top 5 Cloud Computing Providers’ Comparison:

Explore the top cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, Digital Ocean, and IBM Cloud. This image breakdown highlights their market share, storage, pricing, pros, and cons.

Top-5-cloud-platforms-Comparision

Conclusion:

Cloud computing platforms offer businesses several benefits, including reduced costs, increased agility, improved reliability, and enhanced security. As a result, cloud computing is becoming increasingly popular among businesses of all sizes.

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Author
SPEC INDIA

SPEC INDIA, as your single stop IT partner has been successfully implementing a bouquet of diverse solutions and services all over the globe, proving its mettle as an ISO 9001:2015 certified IT solutions organization. With efficient project management practices, international standards to comply, flexible engagement models and superior infrastructure, SPEC INDIA is a customer’s delight. Our skilled technical resources are apt at putting thoughts in a perspective by offering value-added reads for all.

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