In simple terms, cloud computing refers to delivering computing services such as server hosting, storage, security, networking, databases, and analytics over the internet. Cloud computing speeds up innovation because of its flexibility and affordability. With cloud computing, you only pay for the scale of service you utilize, which helps reduce operating costs and lowers the financial barrier of entry for start-ups. Several industries, such as finance, automobile, entertainment, etc., all employ cloud in different forms.
Cloud computing services aren’t limited to large businesses; sole business owners usually have several computing needs easily handled over the cloud. Cloud is integrated into daily human life that hardly anyone is not using it.
The waters of cloud computing can be pretty murky when one tries to understand how it works, as things can get rather technical real fast. This guide will help you navigate those waters, helping you understand what cloud computing is, its usage trend, and how you can utilize it.
Table of Contents
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is a computing concept where computer resources set aside for a function are always available on-demand. These computing resources are usually spread over different locations, with each being a data center.
Cloud computing saves businesses and individuals the hassle of setting up what usually turns out to be a massive infrastructure to handle their computing needs. Rather than owning such an infrastructure, they can rent access from a cloud service provider for anything from data storage to server hosting. With cloud, firms can focus on the core business.
Have you ever wondered why it is called “cloud computing”? The reasoning behind its name is that the location of the systems doing computational work is irrelevant to the user. The hardware and operating system model that make up the cloud are also all irrelevant to the user.
Brief History of Cloud Computing
Although cloud computing is a term that you can trace back to the early 2000s, the whole concept has been around since before that. The idea has been around as long ago as the 1960s when computer bureaus were in vogue. Companies with high computing requirements would rent time on a mainframe rather than forking out the money to buy for one themselves.
This concept of sharing computer resources would go extinct, however, with the rise of affordable, powerful, and more portable PCs. Following the emergence of PCs, the concept of computer renting resurfaced alongside the birth of data centers for companies to store large amounts of data. In the early 2000s, the idea of cloud computing would surface, which took hold with the arrival of software-as-a-service, with companies like Amazon Web Services being the driver of its success.
How big is the cloud?
The use of cloud computers is vast regarding the number of functions they perform and the number of entities using them. Cloud computing is widespread, and it continues to grow in popularity. The market is projected to grow into a trillion-dollar industry by 2028.
In 2020, the global cloud computing market size was estimated to be around $219 billion. By the end of 2020, the global pandemic caused a jump in the usage of cloud computing services as more than 50 percent of organizations around the world moved a massive chunk of their workload to the cloud. The market is expected to sustain its observable growth of 13.7% from the previous year. This growth will take it from the fiscal figure recorded in 2020 to about $250 billion by the end of 2021.
How does cloud computing work?
Cloud computing comes in the traditional architecture for most software applications. There is a user-facing application accessed via a web browser or standalone software to access stored data. The primary component of cloud computing is the backend, made up of computers, databases, servers, and central servers.
There are three forms of cloud computing:
These are owned and operated by a third party, making computing services like data storage and servers available over the internet. An example would be Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services. You do not own any of the resources; you only access them via a web browser. Its primary advantage is its flexibility, as it expands and contracts to the scale required. You only pay for how much resources are used at any point in time.
Private cloud gives companies the flexibility of public clouds but with beefed-up security. A company can have its cloud services set up on-site by private cloud providers such as AWS or VMWare. However, the company will be responsible for the staffing, expenses, and management of the cloud.
Hybrid clouds combine the best of both worlds, and an example of a hybrid cloud user is the federal government. They have the resources to manage a private cloud to protect sensitive information. Still, they also use the services of a public cloud to disseminate datasets to the public.
Cloud Computing Trends
1. Artificial Intelligence
The adoption of AI is getting more robust, and cloud is at the front seat of its current popularity and adoption rate. Cloud-based-as-a-service platforms empower interested parties with any skill level and just about any budget to access language processing tools, image recognition tools, etc.
2. Hypothesis Testing
Hedge fund managers and individual traders now have access to tools that can help them test trading hypotheses to improve their market efficiency. For example, MetaTrader 5 for hedge funds provides users with large volumes of datasets and compute power. They can use its MQL5 cloud network to test out hypotheses before taking a dip into the market.
3. Kubernetes and Containerization
Enterprise users are gravitating towards containerization and Kubernetes because simply having several cloud clusters set up isn’t adequate. Containers help companies build micro-services and encourage the ‘separation of concern’ model necessary for infrastructure security.
If you own an email account, use a cloud storage system, stream videos online, etc., you use cloud services. Its usage is so widespread, and it doesn’t appear it will slow down. Cloud can now save you the hassle of purchasing powerful computers to test out trading hypotheses, process large media files, or create machine learning models.
It feels like the very beginning of cloud computing. It is a service that will see more usage trends, not less. More companies will hop on the train. Companies that already use it will find new uses for this technology, especially as the adoption of 5G increases and the speed of data transfer skyrockets. Cloud will get even cheaper as time goes on; this means many small businesses will also turn to it to boost productivity and reduce costs.
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