In this Cloud Computing tutorial, we will first take you through the basics of Cloud Computing like its history and popularity. Then, we will cover the basic Cloud Computing concepts such as its architecture and types. The following is a complete list of topics that will be covered in this tutorial:
To start with this Cloud Computing tutorial for beginners and help you understand the Cloud Computing basics, let’s first dive into learn what Cloud Computing is and when it was first conceptualized.
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What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud Computing is essentially the on-demand supply of computer system resources like data storage and computing power over the Internet. A core concept in Cloud Computing is that the location of the service and other factors, like the hardware or operating system on which it is running, are not relevant to the user. Although over-simplified, this is how the concept of cloud as a metaphor was borrowed from old telecoms network schematics.
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History of Cloud Computing
The term ‘Cloud Computing’ has only been around since the early 2000s. However, the concept has been around for much longer and dates back to as far as the 1960s. Companies used to rent time on a mainframe from computer bureaus without the need to buy one. The affordability of PCs overtook these kinds of time-sharing services, later, so did the popularity of corporate data centers.
Before Cloud Computing, client/server computing was prevalent, which acted as centralized storage in which software applications, data, and controls all existed on the server-side. Whenever a user wanted access to specific data or wanted to run a program, the user was required to connect to the server and gain access to carry out the task.
Subsequently, distributed computing was introduced, and in this system, all computers were networked together and resources were shared whenever the requirement arises. Based on this, Cloud Computing concepts were later implemented.
Around 1961, John McCarthy at MIT suggested the idea of computing being sold like a utility. However, as the idea was ahead of its time, it failed to gain traction, despite the interest in the model. The technology was just not feasible at that time.
A few decades later, in the year 1999, Salesforce.com started delivering applications to users over the Internet with the help of a simple website. This led to the idea of computing being sold as a utility to finally transform into reality.
By 2002, Amazon had started their Amazon Web Services (AWS). It provided services like storage, computation, and even human intelligence. However, only with the launch of the Elastic Compute Cloud in 2006 was it considered a truly successful commercial service that was finally available for use by everyone.
Later in 2009, Google Apps started to provide Cloud Computing enterprise applications.
Next in this Cloud Computing tutorial, we will learn about the popularity of the technology.
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Why is Cloud Computing popular?
Mid-size and small enterprises are making use of Cloud Computing to access Application Software over high-speed Internet connections without having to spend on computer software and hardware.
When cloud technology was first introduced, its implications in the business world were unclear. However, the most popular application of Cloud Computing has been observed to be in the customer service space. CRM has gained popularity due to its effectiveness in providing better customer service for all kinds of businesses through cost savings, operation improvements, and strategies to tackle business problems.
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Characteristics of Cloud Computing
According to the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technologies), Cloud Computing is a model that allows on-demand network access conveniently to a shared pool of servers, networks, applications, storage, and services with minimal management and interaction with service providers.
Let’s discuss some of the characteristics of cloud computing:
- Broad network access
- Resource pooling
- On-demand self-service
- Rapid elasticity
- Measured service
What do these characteristics imply?
- In development, Cloud Computing enables flexible delivery of integrated applications, content, and services to devices located anywhere and at any time in a scalable model seamlessly by using and paying for only the required resources.
- In the IT industry, Cloud Computing helps organizations avoid the procurement and allocation of expensive hardware, software, and networking resources, as well as the employment of large teams for infrastructure management and support.
- From a business standpoint, Cloud Computing allows providers to serve businesses irrespective of their size.
After learning Cloud Computing characteristics, let’s move on and take a look at some of its benefits in this Cloud Computing tutorial.
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Benefits of Cloud Computing
Here are a few benefits of Cloud Computing:
- Wide applications: Cloud Computing has its applications in Salesforce, Google app, accounting, business continuity, collaboration, hosted file share, etc.
- Reduced upfront licensing cost: It has enabled business users through its reduced licensing costs (owing to the thousands of users) to pay a small monthly or annual service fee and to use the amount saved for the growth of their business.
- Lower cost of hardware: Cloud technology allows server-intensive applications to be put on service provider equipment and to significantly minimize the need for server installations or maintenance.
- Allows working from any computer anywhere: As remote working is becoming increasingly common,Cloud Computing allows users to log into their applications from any device and web browser without the need for a VPN. Cloud technology also does away with the need for backing up data.
- Saves money: Cloud Computing saves expenses incurred on maintenance, resource allocation, and in-house hosting.
- Drives sales: It can be used to avail new products or services quickly, thus driving revenue generation. It helps adopt new solutions without incurring heavy upfront costs.
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Cloud Computing Architecture
Cloud Computing architecture is a blend of event-driven and service-oriented architectures. It is divided into the front end and the back end:
- Front End: The front end contains the client-side interfaces and applications for accessing Cloud Computing platforms. It is used by the client and includes web servers, mobile devices, thin and fat clients, and tablets.
- Back End: The back end is used by service providers, and it oversees the management of the required resources for providing Cloud Computing services. It constitutes a huge amount of data storage, virtual machines, security mechanism, deploying models, traffic control mechanisms, servers, etc.
Components of Cloud Computing Architecture
1. Client infrastructure: Afront-end component that provides GUI for interaction with the cloud.
2. Application: Any platform or software that a client wants to access
3. Service: Manages the type of service (SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS) accessed according to the requirement of the client
4. Runtime cloud: Provides the runtime and execution environments to virtual machines
5. Storage: An important component that provides a large storage capacity in the cloud for the storage and management of data
6. Infrastructure: Provides services on the application level, host level, and network-level and includes software and hardware components such as storage, network devices, servers, virtualization software, and other storage resources required for supporting the Cloud Computing model
7. Management: Manages components such as application, storage, infrastructure, runtime cloud, service, and other security issues in the backend and helps maintain coordination between them
8. Security: A built-in back-end component that employs a security mechanism
9. Internet: A medium that enables front-end and the back-end interaction
Next in this Cloud Computing tutorial, we will learn about the different types of clouds, along with their examples.
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Types of Clouds
The public cloud is open to all for the storage and access of data over the Internet. It utilizes the pay-per-usage method, and the computing resources are managed and run by the cloud service provider (CSP).
Example: EC2, Google App Engine, IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, Windows Azure Services Platform, etc.
The private cloud (internal cloud/corporate cloud) is used by organizations for the development and management of data centers internally or by a third party. It is deployed using open-source tools such as Eucalyptus and OpenStack.
Based on its management and location, it is divided into:
- On-premises private cloud
- Outsourced private cloud
The combination of the public and the private cloud models is called a hybrid cloud.
This configuration makes the hybrid cloud partially secure. The services on the public cloud can be accessed by anyone, and the ones running on the private cloud can be accessed solely by the organization’s users.
Example: Gmail, Google Drive, Google Apps, AWS, MS Office on the Web, One Drive, etc.
The community cloud, as the name suggests, allows services and systems to be accessible by a group of organizations to share information between them and a specific community. It can be owned, operated, and managed by multiple organizations in the community, a third party, or a combination of them.
Example: The US-based dedicated IBM SoftLayer cloud for federal agencies, healthcare community cloud, etc.
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Cloud Computing Services
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS (also known as cloud application services) mostly runs directly through the web browser without downloading and installing these applications.
Example: Dropbox, Google Apps, Slack, Hubspot, Salesforce, Cisco WebEx, etc.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS (also known as cloud platform services) is similar to SaaS, but it provides a platform for software creation.
Example: Windows Azure, Magento Commerce Cloud, Force.com, OpenShift, etc.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS (also known as cloud infrastructure services) manages applications’ data, runtime environments, and middleware.
Example: Google Compute Engine (GCE), AWS EC2, Cisco Metapod, etc.
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AWS vs Google Cloud
Let’s now compare two of the most popular cloud platforms: AWS and Google Cloud.
AWS was the first in the market to introduce a modern cloud infrastructure service called Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. Surprisingly, there was no competition in the market for another 7 years. Even to this day, Amazon controls 33 percent of the market, according to Synergy Group’s Chief Analyst and Research Director, and Google is far behind at 9 percent.
|Developed and Managed by||Amazon||Google|
|Age||11 years||6 years|
|Object Storage||Amazon Simple Storage Services||Google Cloud Storage|
|Data Transmission||General format||Fully encrypted format|
|Cloud Volume Size||500 GB to 16 TB||1 GB to 64 TB|
|Backup or Disaster Recovery||Provides disaster recovery services||Provides backup services|
|Pricing||Per hour||Per minute|
|Containers||Docker and Kubernetes||Kubernetes|
|Best Features||Dominating the market with a range of cloud-based products and services||Specializes in high-compute offerings for dealing with Big Data|
|Main Service||Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2||Compute Engine|
|Cost||High end||Competitive pricing|
|VM Disk Storage||Amazon Elastic Block Store (AWS EBS)||Persistent disk (HDD and SSD)|
|File Storage||Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS)||Cloud Filestore|
|Archive Storage||S3 One Zone – infrequent access; Amazon Glacier offers data querying capabilities||Archival Cloud Storage|
|Bulk Data Transfer||AWS Import/Export Disk: Shipping disk drives; AWS Snowball (device-based); AWS Snowmobile: Exabyte-scale data transfer via ruggedized shipping container||Nearline (low frequency); Coldline (lowest frequency)|
|Hybrid Support||AWS Storage Gateway provides managed virtual tape infrastructure for a hybrid environment||Relies on Egnyte for hybrid support|
|Serverless Computing||AWS Lambda||Container Engine|
|AI Service and ML||SageMaker||TPU|
|Tiered Networking Framework||No||Yes|
|Big Data Support||AWS Lambda||AI First|
|Available Zones||21 zones||20 regions|
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Why learn Cloud Computing?
As mentioned earlier, Cloud Computing is still in its early stage of adoption. This is because organizations are still not sure which apps to move or when is the right time to do it. But, it is likely that the adoption of cloud technology will be more and more prevalent with time. Instead of turning their attention to cost, Cloud Computing vendors are strongly pushing Cloud Computing as a contributor to digital transformation.
Even though Cloud Computing is slowly gaining traction, it has become a critical part of all major IT companies globally. Almost everything in the digital world has a connection to the cloud.
According to AWS, Cloud Computing is the one skill that will help professionals remain relevant and with a secure job.
More than US$1.3 trillion in IT spending will be directly or indirectly affected by the shift to the cloud by 2022. – Forbes
Businesses around the world have a rising demand for Cloud Computing skills as more and more companies are switching to cloud solutions. Here is why you should consider a certification in Cloud Computing:
- Increasing demand for Cloud Computing experts
- Improved job prospects across all industries
- High earning potential
There are many tools that a Cloud Computing aspirant should know such as Puppet, Chef, Python, Linux, AWS EC2, S3, CLI (Command Line Interface), Scalability concepts, etc. A certification is a great way to acquire proficiency in the latest skills.
Now that you are aware of its demand, we will learn about some of the Cloud Computing applications and their use cases in various companies.
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Applications of Cloud Computing
Cloud Computing technology is most widely used in the following areas:
- Art applications: Cloud Computing offers various art applications such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Vistaprint, Moo, etc.
- Business applications: Business applications such as Mailchimp, Salesforce. PayPal, etc. are based on cloud service providers.
- Data storage and backup applications: Cloud Computing allows storage of data on the cloud and access over the Internet along with backup recovery applications. Examples: Google G Suite, Mozy, Box.com, etc.
- Education applications: Cloud Computing in the education sector offers virtual classroom environments, online learning platforms, and student learning portals, which can be accessed by students. Examples: Google Apps for Education, Chromebooks, tablets with Google Play for Education, AWS in education, etc.
- Entertainment applications: Entertainment industries employ a multi-cloud strategy for audience interaction. Examples: Online games, video conferencing apps, etc.
- Management applications: Cloud management tools help in the management of all types of cloud activities, such as data integration, resource deployment, and disaster recovery, and provide administrative control over the applications, platforms, and infrastructure. Examples: Evernote, GoToMeeting, Toggl, etc.
- Social applications: Social cloud applications allow a large community of users to connect with each other via social networking applications such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
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Companies Using Cloud Computing
Following are a few popular companies that have implemented Cloud Computing in their operations.
This movie streaming giant is producing its own shows and dealing with a huge number of customers through the cloud. This helps with scalability and helps meet any rise in demand and lulls in activity.
As surprising as it may seem that a paper-photocopy is on board with cloud technology, Xerox not only offers a Cloud Print Solution for users to access printers irrespective of their location but also has introduced its own cloud service that is catered toward SMC.
Instagram started employing Cloud Computing for greater scalability and to be able to handle a large number of users.
While scalability is a great feature of the cloud, its cost-effective analytics is the most attractive feature of all. Etsy is an e-commerce site that has to sort through large amounts of data every single day, which makes predictive analytics with big data solutions the right fit for it. Etsy’s Taste Test feature helps determine the products that are suitable for a particular customer.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Apple has included Cloud Computing for handling the release of Siri. The actual magic of Siri happens in the cloud where all questions asked by users are sent and processed to give back an appropriate answer. The expansion of Siri over the cloud has been so seamless that Apple users never realized that there was any change.
Future of Cloud Computing
All businesses today are turning to innovation to accomplish their business goals and speed up growth. Cloud Computing is helping them in that regard. It is one of the most powerful and expansive technologies right now that shows great potential to grow in the future and prove beneficial.
Cloud Computing’s cost-effectiveness can help companies drive growth. The future of this technology is a combination of cloud-based software products and on-premises compute for the creation of hybrid IT solutions.
Before switching to Cloud Computing technology, one should, however, keep in mind that it is essential to be familiar with the latest developments taking place in the cloud space.
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Today, everything is digitally connected to the cloud. Cloud Computing introduces a whole new world of jobs, platforms, applications, and services. Now is the right time to jump onto the cloud!
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