Cloud is a distinct IT environment designed to provision all the hardware, software infrastructure and other computing resources at remote locations and deliver them over the internet. Cloud is all about services and not individual products. The infrastructure is shared among multiple users.
Cloud services are accessible on demand and can be scaled instantly at any point of time and there is no limit to the growth. Servers and resources can be created in a jiffy and discarded when not required. Instead of paying a fixed cost, cloud vendors charge on the pay-as-you-use model.
The cloud model of services is offered via the internet. This means there is no geographical barrier to access ones applications and files. All that is required is an internet connection and a compatible device which allows the users to connect to their files from anywhere and at any time.
Cloud services are primarily differentiated into the public cloud and private cloud. Public cloud is a model that offers the IT resources over a network like an internet and anybody including individuals, businesses, corporates etc can subscribe and get access to the services they want.
A private cloud is more specific and dedicated to a single predefined environment. They are again delivered via the internet or through private, secure network lines exclusively for the users.
Cloud services are delivered primarily under three different models that are
1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This covers all the basic computing necessities like storage, network, servers, load balancers, firewalls etc.
2. Platform as a Service(PaaS): Enables creating an environment for developing and running of customer-owned applications.
3. Software as a Service (SaaS): Offers all commonly used applications like email services, office automation tools and more to both individuals and employees in a shared environment.
The cloud environment offers better security, reliability, and affordability in all its functions.