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Understanding Cloud Computing

CloudCloud computing has revolutionised the way businesses operate on-line and the benefits suggest that it will continue to grow in popularity. With so many services becoming available via cloud vendors, companies are saving time and money by relying less on the purchase and maintenance of hardware and software. Businesses no longer need to worry about complex disaster recovery plans (most cloud providers take care of this), employees can work from almost anywhere and the cloud has even been proved to be environmentally friendly (using the cloud results in at least 30% less energy consumption and carbon emissions than using on-site servers).

There seems to be a general understanding of what the ‘cloud’ is and issues tend to be discussed around it such as security but the main components of the industry are usually overlooked.

Cloud computing is sometimes referred to as a ‘stack’ as this represents the different services involved, which are built on top of each other to form the overall concept. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) refers to the most complete package offered by cloud vendors and is usually used more by full-time developers. IaaS allows users to rent IT infrastructure in which they can install their own virtual servers and not have to worry about buying or maintaining the physical hardware. Whilst users have more responsibility using IaaS, they also have much more freedom with the ability to develop and store as many applications as needed within the cloud. An example of company offering infrastructure within the cloud is Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), a service that can be tailored for the specific needs of the project at hand.

Another facet of cloud computing is Platform as a Service (PaaS), which involves the development or customisation of applications using a ready-made framework. With so much of the application maintenance being taken care of by the provider, users can benefit from a service that is quicker, simpler and in most cases cheaper than an in-house approach, as well as giving the creator the ability to showcase their app to a ready-made audience. An example of this would be Facebook, a ‘social application platform’, which allows developers to share their specifically created applications with users of the site

The top of the cloud computing stack is Software as a Service (SaaS) which is currently the most popular and accessible of the segments. SaaS describes the process of users renting software which is hosted online, this can include accessing personal files from any location with an internet connection. SaaS has revolutionised how we interact with technology and has made daily tasks much easier and faster with examples including Google Docs and Salesforce.

With the cloud computing sector growing by the day, there is a desperate demand for experts within the field to help businesses integrate this new technology.

Oomri can offer both services and professionals to assist any companies developing or seeking to utilise cloud based projects.