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Cloud computing. What is it and how to choose what’s best for your business?

Marta Rutkowska 8 min Read

Cloud computing is a service that allows companies to use the necessary tools, but without investing in the costly construction of IT infrastructure. All you need to do is buy access to the computing resources of the selected provider and it’s ready — everything is done via the Internet. In this way, businesses do not have to invest in servers, databases, networks, warehouses or software. Everything, including configuration, is on the side of the cloud service provider and the company pays only for the resources that it needs.  

Using remotely shared computing power is an increasingly common alternative to building your own data centre. The main advantages are the absence of significant investment costs (which will be especially appreciated by start-up businesses) and flexibility in scaling the available resources, compatible with quick access to innovative solutions. There is a reason why business is moving to the cloud — understanding what the cloud is, what its advantages are and how to use it helps you to reduce operating costs and gain greater technological efficiency. 

Cloud computing vs regular hosting

Although cloud computing became well-known some time ago, many people still treat it as a service identical to traditional hosting and don’t see any differences. This is not surprising, because cloud computing is both the most modern technology in the hosting industry and one of the most frequently used marketing slogans. Not all services advertised as “cloud” are in fact that. The apparent scalability of resources (e.g., the ability to resize a VPS several times over a month) is not enough to be a cloud service provider in reality. A true internet cloud offers many more benefits.  

What is the cloud, and why isn’t it traditional hosting?

The idea behind the cloud is uninterrupted, secure access to a virtual pool of server resources (including memory and computing power). This is done via a programming interface (API) that allows the service to be smoothly scaled depending on current workloads and user needs. The servers are virtual, i.e., they can run on any physical machine belonging to the service provider. 

Cloud hosting — what does it look like

In traditional hosting, service is realized out of a single server. There is no such limitation in the case of the cloud. If you — as a cloud user — start to need more power or memory and the machine on which your virtual server was running is too busy, the service is immediately transferred to another device. The process is not noticed by users, because the time of switching between machines is counted in fractions of a second. 

Cloud computing eliminates all the problems familiar from traditional shared hosting: lack of resources, the need to buy additional space, problematic data transfer, downtime, lack of access to services, slowdowns, etc. This is why so many companies and businesses have decided to migrate to the cloud; with its help, they can create applications, store data, connect with recipients and colleagues, use software, collect and analyse data.  

Is your company not yet using cloud capabilities? Maybe it’s time to start thinking about possibilities you’re missing out on. 

What are the types of cloud computing?

The cloud is diverse. Due to the needs of users, various models and types of services have been developed. Think about what is most important for your business (speed, flexibility, cost optimization, security) and choose one of the below cloud service models:  

Public cloud

The public cloud is characterized by the fact that the entire computing infrastructure is owned by the cloud service provider. The company shares cloud space with other customers, and resources are accessed via the Internet. It is a very convenient form because we don’t have any responsibility for the modernization of the equipment, its safety, maintenance or infrastructure expansion. We have access to a full range of possibilities, but only pay for the computing resources used.

An example of a public cloud is, e.g., AWS Cloud. If you work with the cloud, and you notice that, for example, you are incurring high costs or experiencing drops in productivity, then use our help. 

Private cloud 

In the case of private cloud computing, resources are used only by one company or organization. The physical location of the cloud may be located in the company’s private data centre or at the external providers. Most importantly, all services and infrastructure are on a private network. From a business perspective, the highest level of security and control is ensured. 

Hybrid cloud

This is a combination of the advantages and possibilities of a public cloud with the security of a private cloud. The most important data and applications are hosted on their servers, while the resources of an external provider are used for current needs.

What does “the best cloud” mean?

There is no clear answer to the question: what is the best cloud computing? It all depends on what we want to use it for. The use of the cloud can be approached in several ways, choosing from the most popular service providing models: 

SaaS, or software as a service

SaaS is a model for companies that need access to specific software, but do not want to invest in hardware or pay for the licence. The supplier provides the option to use the software, and the customer pays only for its use.

PaaS, or platform as a service

PaaS is a cloud computing service model in which we get access to a specific set of applications. It was created by developers with the aim of creating mobile and internet applications without the need to configure and manage the necessary infrastructure. 

IaaS, or infrastructure as a service

IaaS is the best known and most popular model of providing cloud computing services. In the IaaS model, the company rents the entire IT infrastructure (i.e., servers, virtual machines, networks, operating systems, etc.) from a selected supplier and pays according to the actual consumption of resources.

Cloud computing for companies. Check out the benefits

Moving business activities to cloud computing is a big step towards changing the perception of IT resources in the company. More and more organizations are breaking with the traditional approach and choosing the cloud because of its numerous business benefits:  

Lowering costs

Moving to the cloud is quick and easy, and upfront costs are low. The Internet cloud allows companies to store all the programs, applications or databases they use in their daily work, but without investing in servers and their maintenance. 

Scalability of resources

Moving to the cloud means no more paying for unused space. The service is fully scalable, so the costs are charged only for the computing power used. This allows for flexible resource management while accessing unlimited possibilities. You have all the cloud solutions at your fingertips and you can reach for them whenever you need them.

Data safety

When you decide to work in the cloud, you can forget about the need to protect your IT infrastructure and the risks associated with the destruction of servers. The security challenges lie with the cloud service provider, which must constantly invest in the latest technologies and provide adequate protection for customers’ business activities. 

Remote access to resources

The advantage of cloud services is their easy access — – all you need is an Internet connection. You can return to work on a document anywhere and at any time or use the database. This eliminates the need to have external media or transfer files between employees of the organization. 

Improving performance

Cloud computing is still one of the newest and fastest-developed technologies. Cloud data centres are equipped with the latest generation equipment. This provides speed and performance that ordinary companies often cannot afford. 

Is there a free cloud?

The free cloud is a kind of legend. There is some truth to it, but most of the information has been embellished. There is no such thing as a free cloud service that will handle all our business processes. By such a statement we mean only free options for storing files in the cloud, such as Dropbox, One Drive or Google Drive. With the proviso that all of these services also have paid versions, and only a small capacity is free. 

Cloud computing and costs

Moving the business to the cloud is still a novelty and can be a challenge for companies that have never worked with cloud computing. Although it is easy to list the advantages of cloud computing, at the beginning many enterprises make mistakes and do not know how to optimize costs so as not to overpay for cloud services. If you are a start-up or your company wants to use cloud solutions in the SaaS model, we have a special service designed with the needs of your business in mind. 

As you can see, cloud computing is a broad concept that does not equal traditional hosting at all. This is only the first article in a series in which we want to introduce modern businesses to the world of cloud services and show the opportunities that open up with the transition to the cloud. We help plan, build and develop our clients’ cloud environments, and thus we show that the cloud will work for almost every company. All that you need is knowledge of the environment and a good cost management strategy.