In the fast-paced and competitive world of digital business, enterprises face immense pressure to adapt and deliver quickly. To meet these demands, leveraging the power of cloud computing can offer innovative ways to grow and achieve business goals. However, before jumping on the cloud computing bandwagon, it is crucial to be well-informed. This comprehensive guide on cloud computing will serve as a reference to provide everything needed to know before adopting this technology.
According to Grand View Research, the global market for cloud computing is projected to reach US $1,554.94 billion by the year 2030.
Cloud computing has had a profound impact on the modern world, enabling advancements such as over-the-top (OTT) platforms, work-from-home arrangements, and IT outsourcing. It has empowered businesses to envision a bolder future by streamlining IT resource management, boosting return on investment (ROI), and reducing operational costs.
Despite the undeniable benefits of cloud computing, less than one-third of businesses have a documented cloud strategy, meaning that many organizations have not yet fully optimized this powerful tool. Entrepreneurs and business leaders are not asking whether to leverage cloud solutions, but rather, how to do so.
If you are facing a similar dilemma, this cloud computing guide is for you. In this guide, you will learn what cloud computing is and how it can propel your business to new heights.
Cloud computing: what is it?
Businesses rent out other people’s computers to run their business activities on the cloud.
Cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing resources, such as processing power and storage, over the internet on an on-demand, pay-as-you-go basis. It allows users to access these resources from anywhere at any time, without having to directly manage or maintain the underlying infrastructure. Cloud computing also offers the ability to easily scale resources up or down based on changing business needs.
Despite being the new norm for the current business environment, cloud computing is often misunderstood and underutilized. To learn more about cloud computing, you can refer to our detailed hub page on the topic.
Over the past few years, cloud computing has evolved rapidly, with the emergence of new technologies and services. The image below provides a brief overview of this evolution:
[Image description: The image shows the evolution of cloud computing over the past few years. The first stage, labeled “Virtualization,” involves the use of virtual machines to enable resource sharing. The second stage, labeled “IaaS,” involves the delivery of infrastructure as a service, such as virtual servers and storage. The third stage, labeled “PaaS,” involves the delivery of platforms as a service, such as databases and development frameworks. The fourth stage, labeled “SaaS,” involves the delivery of software as a service, such as productivity and collaboration tools.]
An Introduction to Cloud Computing
Cloud computing has become ubiquitous in our daily lives, with numerous examples of cloud-based applications and services that we use regularly. Messaging apps, productivity apps, and audio streaming services are just a few examples of cloud-based services that we use every day. These services rely on cloud computing to deliver fast, reliable, and scalable experiences to millions of users worldwide.
Similarly, in the workplace, cloud computing is widely used in business email and communication applications, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. Collaboration and project management tools, like Asana and Trello, also rely on cloud computing to enable seamless and real-time collaboration among teams, regardless of their location. By leveraging cloud computing in these applications, businesses can improve communication, productivity, and efficiency.
Cloud computing has a wide range of use cases, from improving productivity to data analysis, communication, file backup, software testing and development, and cloud storage. Many businesses opt for cloud computing applications through a subscription model, which is generally cost-effective.
Here are some examples of cloud computing applications and their uses:
- Communication: Skype, Whatsapp, Slack
- Productivity: Microsoft Office 365, Gmail
- Data Storage: Dropbox, Facebook, Gmail
- Business Processes: Salesforce, Hubspot
- Application Development: Amazon Lumberyard
- Big Data Analytics: Hadoop, Cassandra, HPCC
- Social Networking: MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter
These cloud computing applications have become an integral part of our daily lives and enable us to work more efficiently and collaboratively, regardless of our location. Moreover, they offer businesses the flexibility, scalability, and cost savings required to compete and thrive in today’s fast-paced digital landscape.
IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, and SaaS types of cloud services
Businesses can transform their digital experience and reduce infrastructural costs through the three types of cloud services: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Each of these services differs in what they offer to the end user, and they all have their benefits depending on business and functional requirements.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) SaaS, or software as a service, refers to cloud-based applications that are often developed by a SaaS development company. These applications are hosted online by a company and are available for purchase on a pay-as-you-go pricing model. Adopting a SaaS business model provides many benefits, including speed of innovation, reduced marketing efforts, faster time to market, reduced churn rates, and the anytime, anywhere model. The global SaaS market is projected to be worth $186 billion by 2022 and is expected to reach $344.3 billion by 2028 with a CAGR of 11.0%.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) PaaS, or platform as a service, refers to a cloud-based platform that offers a robust framework for developers to build, test, and manage new custom applications. Unlike SaaS, it does not provide software over the Internet; instead, it offers the platform to businesses where the software is being built. Adopting a PaaS business model allows businesses to quickly deploy, run, and manage custom cloud applications without building and maintaining their own servers and infrastructure. The global PaaS market is projected to be worth $74.5 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $206.30 billion by 2028 with a CAGR of 19.0%.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) IaaS, or infrastructure as a service, refers to a cloud-based infrastructure service that offers virtual data centers to businesses, which help them build and manage their operating systems, servers, data storage, and network infrastructure. Adopting an IaaS business model allows businesses to easily access and customize services to meet their needs, including storage, backup, and recovery of essential data. This significantly reduces costs. The global IaaS market is currently worth $115.74 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $150.25 billion by 2023.
In summary, adopting cloud services can provide businesses with numerous benefits, including increased innovation, reduced costs, faster time to market, and improved scalability. The type of cloud service adopted should be chosen based on specific business needs and requirements.
Hybrid, public, and private clouds: types of deployment
Not all businesses have the same cloud computing requirements, and thus a one-size-fits-all approach is not suitable. Over time, various cloud deployment models and services have emerged to offer tailored solutions to diverse business needs. Therefore, before initiating cloud migration, it is crucial to identify the type of cloud deployment best suited to your business, namely: Public Cloud, Private Cloud, or Hybrid Cloud.
- Public Cloud Third-party providers own and operate public clouds. Services offered by cloud providers are available over a network that is open for public use. This implies that organizations share the same hardware and network devices with other companies using the same cloud service provider. Microsoft Azure is an example of a public cloud.
- Private Cloud A private cloud is a deployment model exclusively used by a single organization. In a private cloud, the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network. The network can either be physically located at the organization’s on-site data center or hosted by third-party service providers.
- Hybrid Cloud Combining private and public clouds gives rise to a hybrid cloud, enabling the sharing of data and applications between both types. Adopting a hybrid cloud deployment model allows businesses to move applications and data between public and private clouds, resulting in an agile, secure, and flexible digital business model.
Computing in the cloud has many benefits
As the amount of data continues to explode, cloud computing has become the go-to platform for innovation among digital businesses. Enterprises in all industries are using cloud solutions for various purposes, including digital security, disaster recovery, big data analytics, and data backup.
Today, cloud solutions help businesses navigate the challenges of the digital age by enabling them to respond quickly to a complex and fast-paced business environment. Adopting the cloud allows businesses to run more effectively, provide better customer service, and increase revenue: companies that invest in cloud, big data, and mobility experience 53% faster revenue growth than their competitors.
In addition to helping businesses transform, differentiate, and gain a competitive edge, cloud computing provides the following benefits:
- Cost optimization
- Automatic upgrades
- Disaster recovery
Comparison of AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Computing Platforms
In the crowded market of cloud computing platforms, three providers stand out as leaders based on their market share and Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report: Amazon (AWS), Microsoft (Azure), and Google (Cloud).
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Are you struggling to decide which cloud computing platform is the best for you? Let’s compare the top three cloud computing platforms: AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.
1. Google Cloud Platform
Google Cloud Platform is a cloud computing service that Google provides to develop, deploy, and scale cloud-based services, apps, and websites on the same infrastructure as Google’s products. Big companies like Twitter, Spotify, and Forbes rely on Google Cloud for their operations.
Advantages of Google Cloud Platform:
- Faster access to innovation, leading to higher productivity.
- Less disruption when users adopt new features.
- Enables remote work and quick collaboration.
- Robust security, with fewer data stored on vulnerable devices.
- Higher uptime and reliability.
2. Amazon Web Services
AWS is the most widely used cloud platform worldwide, with a pay-as-you-go pricing model. It dominates the public cloud market with a 39% share, serving millions of customers across 190 countries, including GE, Samsung, Coca-Cola, Slack, and Netflix. AWS provides benefits like cost reduction, agility, and faster innovation.
Why Should You Consider Amazon Web Services? When it comes to cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS), AWS leads the way, earning the top spot in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Ability to Execute and Completeness of Vision. Here are some of the advantages of the AWS cloud computing platform:
- Enhanced Security AWS offers robust security measures to protect its customers’ data and systems, including features such as encryption, identity and access management, and network security.
- Cost-Effectiveness AWS operates on a pay-as-you-go model, allowing businesses to only pay for the resources they use, resulting in cost savings.
- Flexibility and Openness AWS offers a range of services and tools that allow businesses to customize their cloud infrastructure to suit their needs, and it supports multiple programming languages and operating systems.
- Elasticity and Scalability AWS provides businesses with the ability to quickly scale their infrastructure up or down based on their needs, allowing for flexibility and efficient resource management.
3. Services offered by Azure
Microsoft Azure, launched in 2010, is a cloud computing platform that provides cloud computing services to develop, test, deploy, manage, and expand applications through Microsoft-operated data centers. Azure’s client base includes Fortune 500 firms, with companies such as Apple, Fujifilm, Honeywell, and HP accounting for 80% of its customers.
Why Azure Web Services is suitable for Digital Businesses?
As per Microsoft, “Azure is a growing suite of integrated cloud services – analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage, and web – for faster, better outcomes, and cost savings.” Here are some additional benefits provided by the Azure cloud computing platform:
- Capability of both Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Customized and timely customer experiences
How cloud migration differs from cloud strategy
Strategy for cloud computing
Cloud migration failures are common due to the lack of a well-defined cloud strategy. Many businesses fail to analyze their applications thoroughly, build a hybrid cloud strategy roadmap, and reskill/upskill their workforce before implementing the migration. As General George S. Patton Jr. said, “Good tactics can save even the worst strategy. Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy.” It is crucial for enterprises to take necessary steps in creating an enterprise cloud strategy team, analyzing applications, building a hybrid cloud strategy roadmap, reskilling/upskilling, and implementing the migration plan to avoid cloud migration failures.
Migration to the cloud
There are many uses for cloud computing
1. Computing without servers
Serverless computing relieves users of the responsibility of setting up, managing, and maintaining resources. As an example of serverless computing, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure all handle bandwidth allocation, software updates, and scalability.
2. Service-based AI (AIaaS)
Earlier, artificial intelligence was available only to businesses with large budgets who had access to machines, programmers, and the infrastructure to implement AI.
AI-as-a-service (AIaaS) is completely changing the game, however. By paying a fee, you can easily access fully managed machine learning and AI frameworks. As a result, advanced infrastructure can be accessed at a fraction of the cost or scaled according to your needs.
3. Systems with fault tolerance
Unlike traditional IT, Cloud computing can help you build fault-tolerant systems that are capable of enduring the test of time and allowing your operations to remain operational at all times.
It is well known that Netflix suffered a major setback in 2008 when database corruption caused the platform to lose DVD shipments. As a result, Netflix switched to cloud-based servers, learning from the experience. Data is duplicated by multiple clusters of cloud servers to ensure the system keeps running even if one server goes down.
4. Applications that can be scaled
Cloud computing makes it easy to build high-performance mobile applications you can host and scale in the cloud, which was previously a challenge for mobile applications. As a result, startups can raise funds faster, and they gain an advantage over their competitors.
Is Cloud Computing limited in any way?
Another limitation of cloud computing is the potential for downtime or service interruptions. Although cloud providers work hard to ensure high availability and redundancy, no system is completely immune to downtime. If a cloud provider experiences an outage, your applications and data may become temporarily unavailable, which could impact your business operations.
Cloud computing also involves a certain level of dependency on the internet. If your internet connection is slow or unreliable, accessing cloud resources may be difficult or impossible. Additionally, if your cloud provider experiences network issues or congestion, it could impact the performance of your applications and data.
Another limitation of cloud computing is the potential for security breaches or data loss. While cloud providers have robust security measures in place, they are still susceptible to cyber attacks, and their data centers could be subject to natural disasters or other catastrophic events. It’s important to carefully consider your data security and backup strategies when using cloud computing.
Lastly, the cost of cloud computing can add up over time. While it may be more cost-effective initially, as your usage increases, so does your bill. It’s important to monitor your usage closely and choose the right pricing plan to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money.
How will cloud computing evolve in the future?
Cloud computing has been explained in detail, as well as how it can benefit businesses today. But what does it hold for the future?
1. Edge computing will accelerate the processing of data
As the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) spikes, cloud service providers are under immense pressure to process the data as quickly as possible. With edge computing, these providers are addressing it locally as close to the network origin as possible, using a new yet highly efficient cloud computing technique.
Edge computing has gained mainstream acceptance, with a market value of $40.84 million, due to the fact that data no longer has to travel faster.
2. DevSecOps puts security first
For businesses hosting their assets on the cloud, data security is a significant concern due to the number of threats, such as data theft and man-in-the-middle attacks.
Many businesses see DevSecOps as a game changer that is enhancing cloud security as it embeds security into the pipeline right from the beginning.
3. Communication between security layers can be made more secure by utilizing service mesh
Using radical approaches like microservices as a means of creating robust enterprise applications, it is imperative that individual services can communicate securely. A service mesh is a platform layer that secures the communication channels between security layers on top of the infrastructure layer, enabling businesses to provide this. Cloud tenants need it to provision access.
4. AI adoption will be facilitated by cloud computing
AI adoption is facilitated by cloud computing. – IBM
Business processes cannot be improved without AI. This is mainly because some operations require 24-hour monitoring, and humans can never achieve AI’s level of perfection.
This type of AI is implemented using cloud-centric ecosystems because their cognitive abilities require a large amount of data, which can be easily accessed.
5. The open-source cloud ecosystem will gain traction
Cloud computing is dominated by private clouds, but they tend to be restrictive in terms of features. That’s why most businesses are now relying on open-source clouds with free tools. Using these ecosystems without predefined limitations is the best part of them because they can be easily customized according to your business needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Choose a partner that cares about its clients.
- Never compromise on technology experience and domain expertise.
- Check out your development partners’ portfolios, customer testimonials, and references.
- Observe how they approach communication and how much they pay attention to your vision.
- Ask the right questions to help you choose easily.
- The average outsourcing charges in India are $18 – $40, which is way more affordable than in developed countries like the USA, $38 – $63.
- India has a large pool of native-English speakers who’re highly proficient in their work.
- With an Indian outsourcing partner, you can access 24×7 support and specialized IT talent.