What is Cloud Computing? The Easy Guide

The word “Cloud” has become a buzzword and everyone seems to be talking about cloud in one way or another and this can become confusing for those consumers of technology who are not technologically conversant with the terminology. It becomes technical jargon when coming from the technology savvy individual to the less technology-savvy individual since the professional is more or less living in the cloud (Computer Labs) and finds it really hard to connect with earth (Users) who the real cloud consumers.

In this article, we aimed at explaining the meaning of cloud computing as plainly as possible even if you are a developer, the article may also be useful to you. It was only written with the intention to make the subject matter as simple as possible.

What is Cloud Computing?

When professionals discuss cloud computing, it is very common to get lines like these below:

Cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computing services — from applications to storage and processing power — typically over the internet and on a pay-as-you-go basis.” Zdnet.com

Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of IT resources over the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing. Instead of buying, owning, and maintaining physical data centers and servers, you can access technology services, such as computing power, storage, and databases, on an as-needed basis from a cloud provider”.  Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. You typically pay only for cloud services you use, helping you lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs changeMicrosoft

These definitions get even more confusing for those who are not in the business of technology because cloud computing encompasses more than computer power, servers, storage, and the likes, the cloud is everything that you do on the internet.  

At one time on Quora, somebody posted a question and asked if Salesforce is a Cloud Service Provider, and to answer that question here, YES! But they do not sell computer resource as the most definition of the term may make you think, yet Salesforce is one of the top Cloud Computing Company’s in the world simply because they sell on-demand Customer Relationship Management software billed on a subscription model that can be accessed without having to install any software on your local personal computer.

Well, this is not to say the above definitions are wrong but it limits the understanding of cloud computing to computer-related service only. (Infrastructure as Service). When innovators are creating technology and researching them, they may not be able to see the overall impact such technology may have on the user.

The internet was not envisioned to become part of our lives as it is today but social media, for example, has made the internet more than just web pages and information dissemination platforms. E-commerce on the other hand made it an ecosystem to do business and connect with customers. This also is the case with cloud computing.

Let us take another example, but this time from a document by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), titled “Nigeria Cloud Computing Policy

Cloud Computing refers to the computing model for ubiquitous, convenient on-demand and real-time network access pool of configurable and rapidly provisioned computing resources (network, servers, storage, applications, and services among others) required by and available to Federal Public Institutions (FPIs) and SME (Small and Media enterprise) to carry out their business and operations.

The same technical grammar is still evoked on this one. Let’s go further

Jovehost Cloud Computing Definition

We at Jovehost give a simple and distinct definition:  Cloud Computing is the delivery of Hardware, software’s and different digital services by a provider through the internet. We need not mention here again all the many hardware and software varieties that can be offered on-demand and paid for via subscription, we only need to make the reader understand that cloud computing can deliver almost anything valuable to users using the internet on a subscription billing model, which is undoubtedly the new business model for the agile digital entrepreneur to exploit.

Ultimately speaking, “Cloud” is just a metaphor for the Internet, storage and accessing data over the internet.

Let’s take some examples to help in this understanding: a fitness coach can migrate his business to the cloud/internet by creating fitness programs using different content media (Videos, premium articles, podcast e.t.c) and offer them on-demand through his website to be paid for by interested students on a subscription basis. A software developer instead of waiting for jobs to come to him can be innovative enough to develop a solution to solve a specific problem and sell that solution for a monthly subscription delivered through a website or a mobile application.

Netflix is a consumer of Amazon web service Infrastructure as a Service, while they offer on-demand movies and media content to their consumers over the internet.

With these examples in mind, the reader can understand that cloud computing goes far beyond computer hardware and resource into scalable business models on its own –  XaaS (Anything as Service).

Anything that is accessible through an internet connection is dealing with cloud computing. What cloud is not about is your local storage, data stored on your PC.

Three Types of Cloud Computing (Service Model)

To have a better idea of what Cloud Computing is about it is only appropriate to understand the three types of Cloud service delivery model:

Platform as a Service (PaaS):

PaaS delivery is presented to consumers like a pre-installed environment that other services can be built upon. PaaS providers offer infrastructure in which the operating system, network infrastructure, and server software are tended to, allowing more focus on the development of applications. Examples include databases, programming environment, video conferencing tools, google app engine. E.t.c

Infrastructure as s Service (IAAS):

This delivery model is best viewed as the building block of all cloud computing solutions. Infrastructure as a Service is essential hardware ranging from Virtual servers, dedicated servers, storage, backup, networking e.t.c that can be provisioned on-demand. With this option users have direct access to their server infrastructure remotely and are better able to set up, configure, and monitor their service.

Software as a Service (SAAS):

SaaS provides you with complete workable software products that are hosted and run by a provider without the need to install anything on your personal computer instead you can access complete software using your browser. Licenses are provided through a pay-as-you-go model. Examples of such products are accounting software, Enterprise Resource Planning, sales and billing software, Customer Relationship Management e.t.c.

Five essential characteristics of Cloud Computing

Most of the essential characteristics we will quote here have found their way into many definitions of cloud computing and this gives this trending technology its attractiveness. Let explore five of them further, at this point let make it clear they are not limited to the one listed here:

On-demand self-service:

Gaining access to a cloud service anytime any day is undoubtedly one of the most attractive features the cloud has brought to the business world. Aside from being able to access a particular service on-demand, the added advantage of being able to remotely monitor allocated resources in highly-priced. The cloud offers control to the user without the need to interact with the cloud service provider.

Resource Pulling and elasticity:

Cloud infrastructure is designed to support a multi-tenancy model; allowing several customers to dynamically shared a larger pool of computing power to support a website or applications while at the same time retaining privacy and security. This can greatly improve the performance of cloud services since you are not relying on a single infrastructure to host your digital assets. On the other hand, Cloud computing resources can scale up or down quickly and, in some cases, automatically, in response to business demands. This is also the model on which Cloud hosting is developed.

Large network access:

Cloud users can have access to a particular network from anywhere at any time usually with the help of an internet connection. In other words, Cloud computing resources are timely available over the network and can be accessed easily by different customers.

Measured Service:

Tracking utilized cloud resource and reporting usage provides both user and provider an account of what has been used which in turn assist in billing, support, and effective resource monitoring.

Pay as you go:

Gone are the days when you are tied to a long time contract in order to use a particular service. Instead, cloud computing offers flexible payment plans; you actually pay for what you use instead of paying upfront for a service or resource that you may not need in the long run.

Cloud Computing Deployment Models

We will now discuss briefly, three types of cloud deployment model:

Private Cloud: This is an internal or corporate model in which cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization. The service can be hosted internally or externally. Regardless of their physical location, these cloud infrastructures are managed and operated by the organization on a designated private network and use software and hardware that are intended for use only by the business owners.

Public Cloud: This type of deployment like the name implies is provisioned for open use by the general public and data are created and stored on a third-party server. It may be owned, managed, and operated by a business, academic, government. Server infrastructure belongs to Cloud Service Providers (CSP) that manages it and administers a pool of resources. Examples of such providers are Jovehost, Amazon Web Service, Google Cloud, Microsoft e.t.c.

Hybrid Cloud: This model is a combination of both private and public cloud infrastructures. It allows companies to bring together and match the aspects of the different cloud solutions that best suit a certain requirement. This is a very strategic approach to balance workload, privacy, and security. Mission-critical and sensitive data may be deployed to a private cloud while less sensitive data are left to be hosted on a public cloud infrastructure.

Cloud Service Provider in Nigeria

When thinking about cloud computing, it is very easy to fall short and think of only international cloud computing services offered by Amazon Web Service, Google Cloud, and the likes in that; they are very popular and dominates the industries at a larger scale.

However, cloud computing services in Nigeria has taken a better adoption rate than ever due to demand and increasing awareness in the recent decade and more Cloud Service Provider are beginning to emerge anew while others simply added Cloud COmputing to their list of offerings to better serve their customer base.

The industry is vast and still growing and there are opportunities for innovation as the demand for on-demand services is growing at an unprecedented rate. The different companies have their offerings ranging from Cloud storage to managed security, to cloud hosting in which Jovehost has specialized its offerings for some time and providing innovative solutions to help power businesses and enterprises that need a reliable and efficient web hosting provider.

We at Jovehost are committed to ensuring we provide the Best Cloud Computing Service in Nigeria through Managed Cloud Hosting Services.

Check out our range of Manage Cloud Hosting Products

Conclusion

There are different ways businesses and organizations can employ cloud computing services in Nigeria. Some may subscribe to using apps and data that are on the cloud while others may choose to use a hybrid model to serve their business needs. In all this, cloud computing is an integral part of our lives that is evolving the way we use technology.

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