What is Cloud?
Cloud is an online network that allows businesses to share and store data, servers, networks, apps, and development tools. Some of the ways the Cloud is used include online services to send emails, edit documents, watch movies or TV, listen to music, play games, or store pictures and other files. Companies use the Cloud to get new ideas launched, protect their data, and build new products and services. There is not one Cloud or network, and it isn't located in just one place. Rather, the Cloud can be accessed on any device connected to the Internet.
There are several types of Clouds run by different types of providers. Some Clouds are public like when a third party such as Microsoft, AWS, or Google hosts your resources on their servers. Others may be private while some might be shared by a small community. Many businesses use a blend of Cloud environments to limit their risk and increase their capability—we refer to these as hybrid Clouds. When hybrid Cloud users buy services from multiple public Cloud providers, they're using a multi-Cloud approach that lets them operate in the Cloud strategically.
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 change.
Top Benefits of Cloud Computing
Cost: Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software as well as setting up and running on-site data centers—the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, and the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. All of this adds up fast.
Global Scale: The benefits of Cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. In Cloud speak, that means delivering the right amount of IT resources—for example, more or less computing power, storage, and bandwidth—right when they’re needed and from the right geographic location.
Performance: The biggest Cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure data centers, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate data center, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.
Security: Many Cloud providers offer a broad set of policies, technologies, and controls that strengthen your security posture overall, helping protect your data, apps, and infrastructure from potential threats.
Speed: Most Cloud computing services are provided, self-service, and on-demand, so even vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, typically with just a few mouse clicks, thereby giving businesses a lot of flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.
Productivity: On-site data centers typically require a lot of “racking and stacking”—hardware setup, software patching, and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for many of these tasks, so IT teams can spend time on achieving more important business goals.
Reliably: Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity easier and less expensive because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the Cloud provider’s network.
- Cloud Computing Types
- What is Public Cloud?
- What is Private Cloud?
- What is Hybrid Cloud?
- Serverless Computing
Types of Cloud Computing
Not all Clouds are the same and not one type of Cloud computing is right for everyone. Several different models, types, and services have evolved to help offer the right solution for your needs.
First, you need to determine the type of Cloud deployment or Cloud computing architecture on which your Cloud services will be implemented. There are three different ways to deploy Cloud services: on a public Cloud, private Cloud, or hybrid Cloud.
What is Public Cloud?
Public Clouds are owned and operated by third-party Cloud service providers which deliver their computing resources, like servers and storage, over the Internet. Microsoft Azure is an example of a public Cloud. With a public Cloud, all hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the Cloud provider. You access these services and manage your account using a web browser.
What is Private Cloud?
A private Cloud refers to Cloud computing resources used exclusively by a single business or organization. A private Cloud can be physically located within the company’s on-site data center. Some companies also pay third-party service providers to host their private Cloud. A private Cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network.
What is Hybrid Cloud?
Hybrid Clouds combine public and private Clouds bound together by technology that allows data and applications to be shared between them. By allowing data and applications to move between private and public Clouds, a hybrid Cloud gives your business greater flexibility, more deployment options, and helps optimize your existing infrastructure, security, and compliance.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
As the most basic category of Cloud computing services, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) allows you to rent IT infrastructure—servers and virtual machines (VMs), storage, networks, and operating systems—from a Cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platform as a Service (PaaS) refers to Cloud computing services that supply an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering, and managing software applications. PaaS is designed to make it easier for developers to quickly create web or mobile apps without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network, and databases needed for development.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a method for delivering software applications over the Internet on demand and typically on a subscription basis. With SaaS, Cloud providers host and manage the software application and underlying infrastructure and also handle any maintenance like software upgrades and security patching. Users connect to the application over the Internet typically through a web browser on their phone, tablet, or PC.
Overlapping with PaaS, serverless computing focuses on building app functionality without spending time continually managing the servers and infrastructure required to do so. The Cloud provider handles the setup, capacity planning, and server management for you. Serverless architectures are highly scalable and event-driven, only using resources when a specific function or trigger occurs.
Uses of Cloud Computing
You’re probably using Cloud computing right now, even if you don’t realize it. If you use an online service to send emails, edit documents, watch movies or TV, listen to music, play games, or store pictures and other files, it’s likely that Cloud computing is making it all possible behind the scenes.
The first Cloud computing services are barely a decade old, but already a variety of organizations—from tiny startups and global corporations to government agencies and non-profits—are embracing the technology for all sorts of beneficial reasons.
Quickly build, deploy, and scale applications—web, mobile, and API. Take advantage of Cloud-native technologies and approaches such as containers, Kubernetes, microservices architecture, API-driven communication, and DevOps.
Protect your data more cost-efficiently and at a massive scale by transferring your data over the Internet to an offsite Cloud storage system that’s accessible from any location and any device.
Also known as Software as a Service (SaaS), on-demand software lets you offer the latest software versions and updates to customers anytime they need them, anywhere they are.
Unify your data across teams, divisions, and locations in the Cloud. Then use Cloud services such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to uncover insights for more informed decisions.
Connect with your audience anywhere, anytime, on any device with high-definition video and audio with global distribution.
Reduce application development cost and time by using Cloud infrastructures that can easily be scaled up or down.
Use intelligent models to help engage customers and provide valuable insights from the data captured.
What is Amazon Web Services?
Cloud computing is a hot topic in the IT world right now, as it should be. With reduced IT costs, scalability, and increased efficiency, there are a lot of benefits to moving to the cloud. Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is a cloud computing platform that offers a variety of services from database storage to analytics capabilities and security and compliance.
AWS works by owning and maintaining the hardware and network that hosts these services. As a business, you are able to access your data and provision what you need through a web application or portal. This web portal makes the service easy to use and maintain.
At PCS, we are Select Consulting Partners in the AWS Partner Network.
Benefits of AWS Cloud
Moving to the cloud can save you time and money. From securing data to improving the end-user experience, there are many ways AWS can benefit you as a business:
- Cost Savings: With Amazon Web Services, you do not need to maintain or invest in hardware, saving you money. AWS is “pay as you go,” meaning you only pay for the resources you use. You no longer need to over-provision your servers and plan your infrastructure to anticipate your growth needs. Cloud services are scalable, meaning they can easily grow with you as your business does.
- Deliver Software on Demand: Also known as Software as a Service (SaaS), on-demand software lets you offer the latest software versions and updates to the customer anytime they need, anywhere they are.
- Reduce Latency: Reduce or eliminate interruptions or delays for the end-user and enhance their user experience.
- Trusted Platform: AWS is a trusted service for many companies. Enterprise businesses, startups, and public sector companies alike use AWS as their cloud computing solution.
- Disaster recovery/redundancy: Amazon Web Services is built with redundancy in mind, and its infrastructure is spread throughout different regions to ensure data is always secure and available.
- Services: AWS is always adding new services. They strive to offer the latest in innovative technology so you can be sure your business is on the cutting edge.
What is Azure Cloud?
Cloud services are growing in popularity because they are cost-effective and scalable. Azure is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft that offers various services from data storage to virtual machines and data management. Microsoft Azure works by owning and hosting its own servers, data centers, and other IT hardware and infrastructure.
As a business, you will have access to the cloud through an online web portal. There, you will have access to your data storage, virtual machines, and other various computing resources that Azure offers.
Benefits of Azure
There are many benefits to moving to the cloud that you can take advantage of and help grow your business and save you money:
- Lower cost: You don’t need to maintain any hardware or invest in new infrastructure to grow your business, and you only pay for what you use.
- Redundancy: Azure has data locations all across the world, making sure your data is always accessible no matter what happens.
- Support: Azure is trusted and supported by many organizations from fortune 500 companies to startups and government agencies.
- Scalable: Azure can grow with your business or reduce quickly if you need to scale back.
- Security: Azure is secure. Rather than having all your data onsite, it is in the cloud, meaning you don’t have to worry about hackers trying to get to your data onsite. Microsoft is responsible for the security of the infrastructure, and they have various measures in place to ensure that their solutions remain secure.
- Service offerings: Azure has a wide variety of service offerings that continue to grow every day like analytics, identify and access management tools, and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.
Microsoft Office 365
When it’s time to grow your business, do your eyes glaze over when you see how many training videos you have to watch just to run Microsoft Outlook on your iPhone? Well, you’re not alone. You don’t have to settle for the status quo of wading through terabytes of information to setup systems yourself. Consider how much time it would cost you and your team.
If you’re serious about transforming the way you do business quickly and efficiently, there is a smarter way to accomplish it that involves combining the power and connectivity of Office 365 with the IT support of PCS. After all, you wouldn’t expect a Formula One racecar to operate at peak performance without a trained pit crew to provide the fine-tuning it needs to run at optimum speeds. The same is true for your business. The PCS team is specifically trained in Office 365 and Outlook IT support to remove the stress and complication of the setup process to get you running more quickly.
What is Microsoft Office 365?
Office 365 is quite simply one of the most integrated collections of software tools, apps, and services designed to help businesses thrive and grow. With tools like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, there’s practically nothing you do during an average business day that isn’t facilitated in some way by Office 365. Office 365 contains the entire Microsoft Office Suite enabled entirely over the Cloud and offers a comprehensive solution for many of your business needs including:
- Email consolidation and scheduling
- Access to email, calendars, and more from anywhere, at any time
- Security and compliance that meet the needs of your business
PCS is Your Solution for Cloud Services
PCS can provide customized IT Cloud services to fit the specific needs of your organization. If you haven’t set up your Cloud yet, we can help you figure out which Cloud services will be most beneficial to you and how to obtain them.
Once your Cloud is in place, PCS can monitor your Cloud computing services to make sure they’re working for you as you expect, help you make changes when necessary, and even let you know when it may be time to make adjustments to your Cloud setup. Contact us today to get started.