What is cloud computing in simple terms?
January 17, 2023
Renting IT services makes more business sense than building an on-site data centre on your own. Spending time and money on revenue generation is always a better option than assuming the burden (and expense) of an on-premise server room.
This article is a comprehensive guide to cloud computing, explaining everything you need to know about this technology and its role in modern IT. You’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether the cloud is the right infrastructure for your business after reading this post.
What Exactly Is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing refers to any IT resource (server, database, networking, etc.) that a consumer accesses via the Internet. Instead of relying on local infrastructure, the end-user outsources ready-made resources and accesses them online. Utility computing and on-demand computing are two other (far less popular) names for the cloud.
Companies use cloud services for a variety of reasons, including:
- Using the cloud eliminates the need to establish and maintain an expensive on-site data centre.
- Cloud resources enable a company to quickly and affordably build a custom IT environment that precisely meets their needs.
- As long as you have an Internet connection, you can access cloud-based data from anywhere and on any device.
- The cloud provides levels of performance and availability that are unattainable for most businesses.
- Cloud resources grow in tandem with IT requirements. When more computing resources are required, they can be added instantly. The same holds true in reverse: once demand returns to normal, you scale capacity down to avoid unnecessary spending.
A Brief Overview of Cloud Computing
- The cloud, though a relatively new concept to the general public, is not at all new. Here’s a quick rundown of how cloud computing evolved into the technology we know today:
- Organizations began using computers in the early 1950s, but it was too expensive to purchase a device for each department. Companies began to use large mainframe computers and a process known as time-sharing in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
- Time-sharing allowed for more efficient use of processor resources. Users would access multiple instances of computing mainframes concurrently, maximising processing power. The concept of time-sharing is at the heart of modern cloud computing.
- J.C.R. Licklider took the concept of on-demand computing to the next level in 1969. Licklider established the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, a forerunner to the Internet, which linked computers across the United States and allowed users to access data from remote locations.
- Another significant step was the creation of the first virtual machine (VM) in the 1970s. Virtual machines allowed us to run multiple systems on a single physical device, a concept that had a significant impact on the advancement of cloud computing.
- Google, Amazon, and Microsoft advanced online services further in the 1980s.
- Industry titans were providing services over the Internet by the late 1990s and early 2000s (primarily downloadable software and online file storage).
- Salesforce was the first company to deliver a business app from a website in 1999.
- Amazon launched AWS, the first cloud service like the ones we have today, in 2006. Following suit, other major technology companies launched their own cloud offerings.