The Ultimate Guide to Cloud Computing: 10 Steps to Implementation Success

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of computing services such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, and analytics. Instead of storing files on a dedicated hard drive or local storage device, cloud-based storage allows you to save them remotely. Cloud computing is a popular choice for people and businesses, allowing them to reduce costs, increase productivity, speed and efficiency, performance, and security.

Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services such as servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence over the Internet (“cloud”), which enables faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.

Benefits of cloud computing

Cloud computing compared to traditional on-premise IT, where businesses own and maintain physical data centers and servers to access computing power, data storage and other resources (depending on the cloud service selected) , including:

Cost effectiveness

Cloud computing allows you to reduce some or all of the cost and effort of purchasing, installing, configuring, and managing mainframe computers and other on-premises infrastructure. You pay only for the cloud-based infrastructure and other computing resources you use.

Increased speed and agility

With cloud computing, organizations can deploy enterprise applications in minutes rather than waiting weeks or months to respond to IT departments’ requests, purchase and configure supporting hardware, and install software. This feature enables users, especially DevOps and other development teams, to take advantage of cloud-based software and support infrastructure.

Unlimited Scalability

Cloud computing provides elasticity and self-service provisioning, so you can increase or decrease capacity as traffic increases or decreases, rather than purchasing additional capacity that will not be used during slow periods. You can also use the global network of cloud providers to deliver your applications closer to your users around the world.

Improving strategic value

Cloud computing allows organizations to use various technologies and latest innovations to increase their competitiveness. For example, in retail, banking and other customer-facing industries, generative AI-powered virtual assistants deployed on the cloud can reduce customer response times and free up teams to focus on higher-level tasks. . In manufacturing, teams can collaborate and use cloud-based software to monitor real-time data in logistics and supply chain processes.

History of cloud computing

The origins of cloud computing technology can be traced back to Dr. Joseph Carl Robinett Licklider, an American computer scientist and psychologist known as the “Father of Cloud Computing” (link outside ibm.com is located), who developed the global concept It was as early as the 1960s when we introduced the early ideas in a series of notes discussing intergalactic computer networks. However, modern cloud infrastructure for businesses only emerged in the early 2000s.

In 2002, Amazon Web Services launched cloud-based storage and computing services. In 2006, we introduced Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), a service that allows users to rent virtual computers to run applications. That same year, Google introduced the Google Apps Suite (now called Google Workspace), a collection of SaaS productivity applications. In 2009, Microsoft launched its first SaaS application, Microsoft Office 2011. Gartner currently predicts that global end-user spending on public cloud services will total US$679 billion and exceed US$1 trillion by 2027 (link is external to ibm.com).

Cloud computing components

Cloud Computing

Below are some of the most essential components of today’s modern cloud computing architecture.

Data center

CSPs own and operate remote data centers that contain physical or bare metal servers, cloud storage systems, and other physical hardware that form the underlying infrastructure and provide the physical foundation for cloud computing.

Networking features

High-speed network connectivity is very important in cloud computing. An Internet connection, commonly known as a wide area network (WAN), connects front-end users (e.g., a client-side interface exposed through a Web-enabled device) to back-end functionality (e.g., a data center or cloud-based applications and services). It combines other advanced cloud computing networking technologies such as load balancers, content delivery networks (CDN), and software-defined networks (SDN) to make data flow between front-end users and back-end resources faster, easier, and more efficient. Has also been included. to ensure safety.

Virtualization

Cloud computing relies heavily on the virtualization of IT infrastructure (servers, operating system software, networks, and other infrastructure). These infrastructures are abstracted using specialized software so that they can be pooled and partitioned regardless of physical hardware limitations. For example, a single hardware server can be divided into multiple virtual servers. Virtualization allows cloud providers to get the most out of their data center resources.

Platforms of cloud computing

Cloud computing is a system that mainly includes three services: Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

SaaS involves licensing software applications to customers. Licenses are typically offered on a pay-as-you-go model or on-demand. This type of system is found in Microsoft Office 365.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

IaaS provides everything from operating systems to servers to storage over IP-based connectivity as part of an on-demand service. Customers do not need to purchase software or servers, instead purchasing these resources through outsourced, on-demand services. Common examples of IaaS systems include IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

Platform as a service (PaaS)

PaaS is considered the most complex of the three tiers of cloud-based computing. PaaS has some similarities to SaaS, but instead of distributing software online, it is a platform for building software that is distributed over the Internet. This model includes platforms like Salesforce.com and Heroku.

Service Providers of cloud computing

  • Google Cloud
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Microsoft Azure
  • IBM Cloud
  • Alibaba Cloud
  • Dell Cloud
  • Oracle Cloud

Amazon Web Services is 100% public and involves a pay-as-you-go outsourcing model. Accessing the 1 platform allows users to sign up for apps and additional services. Microsoft Azure allows customers to keep some data on site. On the other hand, Alibaba Cloud is a subsidiary of Alibaba Group.

Types of cloud computing

Public cloud

Public cloud is a type of cloud computing in which cloud service providers make computing resources available to users over the public Internet. These include SaaS applications, isolated virtual machines (VMs), bare metal computing hardware, and complete enterprise-grade infrastructure and development platforms. These resources may be available for free, or according to a subscription-based or pay-as-you-go pricing model.

Public cloud providers own, manage, and are solely responsible for the data centers, hardware, and infrastructure on which customers’ workloads run. Typically provides high-bandwidth network connectivity to ensure high performance and quick access to applications and data.

A public cloud is a multi-tenant environment where all customers pool and share the cloud provider’s data center infrastructure and other resources. In a world of major public cloud vendors like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, IBM Cloud®, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle Cloud, these customers can number in the millions.

Most enterprises are moving some portion of their computing infrastructure to the public cloud because public cloud services are elastic, easily scalable, and flexible to accommodate changing workload demands. Customers are attracted to the public cloud because of the promise of increased efficiency and cost savings by paying only for what they use. Still, some companies are looking to reduce spending on hardware and on-premises infrastructure. Gartner estimates that by 2026, 75% of organizations will adopt a digital transformation model that treats the cloud as the fundamental underlying platform (link remains outside of ibm.com).

Private cloud

A private cloud is a cloud environment where all cloud infrastructure and computing resources are dedicated to a single customer. Private clouds combine many of the benefits of cloud computing, such as elasticity, scalability, and ease of service delivery, with the access control, security, and resource optimization of on-premises infrastructure.

Private clouds are typically hosted on-premise in the customer’s data center. However, it can also be hosted on the infrastructure of an independent cloud provider or built on rented infrastructure located in an off-site data center.

Many companies choose private cloud rather than public cloud environments to meet regulatory compliance requirements. Entities such as government agencies, healthcare organizations, and financial institutions choose private cloud settings for workloads that handle sensitive documents, personally identifiable information (PII), intellectual property, medical records, financial data, and other sensitive data.

By building a private cloud architecture following cloud-native principles, organizations can quickly migrate workloads to the public cloud or run them in a hybrid cloud (see below) environment whenever they are ready.

Hybrid cloud

As the name suggests, hybrid cloud is a combination of public cloud, private cloud and on-premises environments. Typically (and ideally) a hybrid cloud combines these three environments into a single flexible infrastructure to run an organization’s applications and workloads.

Initially, organizations turned to hybrid cloud computing models primarily by moving some of their on-premises data to private cloud infrastructure and connecting that infrastructure to public cloud infrastructure hosted off-premises by cloud vendors. . This process was done through packaged hybrid cloud solutions such as Red Hat® OpenShift® and middleware and IT management tools to create a “single pane of glass.” Teams and administrators use this unified dashboard to view applications, networks, and systems.

Hybrid cloud architectures now move beyond physical connectivity and cloud migration to provide flexible, secure, and cost-effective environments that support portability and automated deployment of workloads across multiple environments. This capability enables organizations to achieve their technical and business goals more efficiently and cost-effectively than using a public or private cloud alone. For example, hybrid cloud environments are ideal for DevOps and other teams to develop and test web applications. This frees organizations from having to purchase or scale up the on-premises physical hardware needed to run application tests, thereby reducing time to market. Once your team develops an application in the public cloud, you may want to move it to a private cloud environment depending on business needs and security factors.

The public cloud allows businesses to rapidly scale up resources in response to unplanned spikes in traffic (a feature known as cloud bursting) without impacting the workload in the private cloud. Streaming channels like Amazon use cloud bursting to support increased viewing traffic when launching new shows.

Most enterprise organizations today rely on hybrid cloud models. This is because it offers greater flexibility, scalability, and cost optimization compared to a traditional on-premises infrastructure setup. According to the IBM Transformation Index: State of the Cloud, more than 77% of businesses and IT professionals are adopting a hybrid cloud approach.

Multi cloud

Multicloud uses two or more clouds from two or more different cloud providers. A multicloud environment can be as simple as one vendor’s email SaaS and another vendor’s image editing SaaS. But when companies talk about multicloud, they’re usually referring to using multiple cloud services (including SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS services) from two or more major public cloud providers.

Organizations choose multi cloud to avoid vendor lock-in, choose more services, and access more innovation. Multicloud allows organizations to choose and customize their own set of cloud features and services to meet their business needs. This freedom of choice includes selecting the “best” technology from any CSP as needed or as it emerges, rather than being locked into a single vendor’s product. For example, an organization may choose AWS for its global reach with web hosting, IBM Cloud for its data analytics and machine learning platforms, and Microsoft Azure for its security features.

Multi-cloud environments are susceptible to problems caused by “shadow IT” (software, hardware, or IT resources used on the corporate network without IT department approval and often without the IT department’s knowledge or oversight). Reduce your exposure to potential licensing, security, and compatibility issues.

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