One of the still recurring enigmas of modern-day computing is that of the “IT Cloud”. Most, if not all computer and smartphone users are in continuous contact with the cloud, yet not all are aware of what it stands for exactly, and what it actually does. One other question that might come to mind is, do we actually need this so-called cloud, or is it simply another invention by mankind to make life more complicated than it already seems to be!
Let’s start with unwrapping the mystery around the IT cloud. Why is it called “the cloud” in the first place? It all started as slang terminology in the very early days of the internet. Because, the diagrams there were being constructed to visually represent the networking infrastructure, pretty much looked very like an actual cloud! This obviously resulted in it being referred to as a cloud, which ultimately stuck as the official reference for this technological service. A very basic IT cloud description would be that of a non-physical entity, designed to hold and manage information, run applications, stream videos and host social media. It is a conglomeration of servers, which act in unison over the internet, instead of your devices’ storage space.
But the cloud is much more complex than that. Although we cannot really see anything occurring as we access information through our computers, tablets and smartphones, yet so much is actually happening behind-the-scenes.
Different Types of Cloud Platforms
The first complexity that needs to be unravelled is the diverse methods used to deploy IT cloud resources. There are four in all;
- The Public cloud that offers and shares resources to the public.
- The Private cloud that is not shared, as the name itself suggests, but offers private internal networking.
- The Hybrid cloud is basically a mix of the previously mentioned cloud types.
- The Community cloud or Multicloud also serves to share resources, but in this case, between particular organizations
SaaS, PaaS, IaaS & FaaS
It gets even deeper than that. There are four main service models of IT cloud computing. These are Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) that users access over the internet without anything being installed on personal devices. There is the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), wherein companies purchase the essentials needed to build their own hosting applications. The penultimate service is the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), which a company can use to rent servers and storage which are in turn used to build their own hosting applications. Finally, the Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) is a disintegration of all cloud functions. Users use each resulting element of this fragmentation according to need, hence evading the need for dedicated servers.
There are several types of IT cloud systems available for the individual and organizations alike, such as Amazon CloudDrive, Apple iCloud, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and other hybrid services such as Dropbox and SugarSync.
This ecosystem is not all flowery as a concept. With ISPs and media companies controlling access, and the speed and cost of storing on your system, being arguably faster than network connection, many have decried the use of cloud systems. One can say that like many other technological feats, the IT cloud is something that keeps on adapting according to the needs of humanity. This same adaptation is what gives it the cloud and the world of virualisation the ability to continue existing and improving, albeit the cynical attitudes.