What is Cloud Computing? – Definition
Cloud computing is the delivery of different services through the internet, including data storage, servers, databases, networking and software. It is an on-demand delivery of IT resources over the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing. In simple words, it is a way of assessing services on the internet instead of on your computer or a PC. Web technologies enable using the Internet as the platform for applications and data. Applications that use to be installed on individual computers are increasingly kept in the cloud. For example Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar.
Previously, we used to store data on our computers and also keep backups in hard discs or pen drives. But technology has already been so advanced that we can easily store our data which includes text, pictures and videos on Google drive and access them whenever and wherever we want them, simply with internet access. This is the way cloud computing has made our lives easier.
Types of Cloud Computing Services
There are several kinds of services that can be accessed on cloud servers. On the basis of infrastructure and complexity, cloud computing services can be classified into three different types.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
It is physical or virtual server storage and networking that can be rented through IP-based connectivity as part of an on-demand service. Users do not need to buy software or servers. Under IaaS, customers must manage the applications, runtime, operating systems and data they access. IaaS providers manage the servers, hard drives, virtualization and storage. Instead, they can purchase outsourced, on-demand service that is managed by others. Some of the biggest IaaS providers are Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Engine.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
It is a platform to create something. PaaS shares some similarities with SaaS, but the difference is instead of delivering final software to users, it provides a platform for developers to create and design applications. PaaS provides users with all necessary development tools, infrastructure and operating systems over the internet. Some examples of PaaS are Google App Engine and Adobe commerce. Customers can use these platforms to create their own customized apps.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
It is the delivery of software applications to users. This is presumably the most used cloud service on a day-to-day basis. In Software as a Service, users get the final software product. This involves the licensing of software to end-users. Licenses are typically provided through a pay-as-you-go model or on-demand. Gmail and Google Docs are prime examples of SaaS. A lot of Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs) are also SaaS-based.
Deployment of the Cloud Computing Services
How are cloud computing services made available to users? Where does the infrastructure for deployment reside? Who has control over that infrastructure? Answers to these questions depend upon the type of cloud deployment model that we use.
It is very important for the user to choose the right cloud deployment model because different models address different organizational needs. So it is important to learn about the characteristics of each model to make sure that we use the right fit for our organization. CCS can be made available to users in four ways.
A public cloud is a type of cloud computing in which third-party cloud service providers share their resources with the public via the Internet, like servers, virtual machines, applications, and storage. Users can make use of cloud computation services on a subscription basis. Examples of public clouds are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure.
Private cloud computing is a resource that is owned, controlled and used solely by a single business or organization. Sometimes businesses also pay third-party cloud service providers to host their private cloud. They are more expensive than public clouds because of the investment required in acquiring and managing them. However, private clouds are able to better address the security and privacy concerns of organizations.
A community cloud is another type of private cloud. It exists when several businesses share a private cloud and have similar security aspects. This works well when a chain of franchises has its public cloud but the cloud is hosted in a remote private environment. Universities cooperating in certain areas of research or police departments within a country sharing computing resources are some examples of community cloud.
A hybrid cloud is what can be said as the best of both worlds. It leverages both private and public clouds. When one spreads their options, they can benefit from each. One example would be to use a public cloud specifically for emails, to save on storage costs and then use a private cloud to save sensitive data. Organizations use a hybrid cloud when trying to scale up IT infrastructure such as using the public cloud to supplement the capacity available within the private cloud.
Business Benefits of Cloud Computing
Cloud computation helps businesses to set up a virtual office giving them the flexibility to conduct business anywhere, at any time. The business benefits of cloud computation are described below:
Reduced IT Costs
Shifting the resources toward cloud computation helps businesses to reduce their IT service costs. Instead of purchasing and investing heavily in infrastructure, expensive systems and equipment, businesses now have the option of a pay-as-you-go where businesses can only pay for what they use and how much they store.
As business scales up or down, its operations and storage need to suit the situation. Rather than purchasing and installing expensive upgrades ourselves, the cloud computing service providers can handle this for us. Using the cloud frees up a company’s time so that they can keep their focus on running the business.
The flexibility of Work Practices
Cloud computing provides employees with the flexibility to do their work. They can access data anytime, at any place with Internet access. They can do their work from home, on their way to work and even on holidays.
This feature provides employees with the flexibility to complete their work at their convenience.
- Facilitate M&A Activity: It accommodates changes and can help two companies become one much faster and with much more ease. Traditional computing required years of migrating applications and decommissioning data centres before two companies were running on the same IT stack.
- Easier to Scale Offerings: It makes it less complicated for enterprises to scale their offerings – which are increasingly reliant on accurate records – according to customer demand. Since computing resources are managed through software, they can be deployed very fast as new necessities arise. The purpose of cloud computing is to scale assets up or down dynamically through software program APIs relying on client load with minimal service provider interaction
Cloud Computing in Nepal
In Nepal, cloud computing is currently being used by companies in various sectors such as banks, insurance, e-commerce, publications, software companies etc. Insurance companies like IME Pay, Banks like Nepal Bangladesh Bank, online shopping stores like Sasto Deal, publications like Kantipur publications, software companies like Agile solutions, and trading companies like Sipradi are currently using cloud computing services from Cloud Himalaya. Companies like Cloud Factory Nepal and Broadway Infosys are teaching cloud computing to those who are interested in it.
The CC approach is still in a developing phase in Nepal. Some sectors are already using its services but it can still be used more in other sectors like it can be used more in the banking sector. The adoption of cloud computing in the government sector is still very slow. Using such services can help speed up government work. Cloud computing can also be used in private sectors like education.
The growing impact of cloud computing can be seen in Nepal as well. The number of businesses using cloud computing is increasing day by day. There are companies even providing cloud computing training and seminars. A lot of sectors have adopted cloud computing services but there are still a lot of sectors yet to adapt to this new information age change. Fear of security and lack of expertise seems to be the major concern among various sectors especially government bodies and the banking sector. If these issues could be addressed and cloud computing services could be used in these sectors, then it would help them achieve operational efficiency and lower their operational costs.
Cloud Computing Services in Nepal
In Nepal, the Government of Nepal has started Government Cloud (G-cloud) which is being hosted in the Government Integrated Data Center (GIDC). GIDC is an international standard Government’s DC operated through National Information Technology Center (NITC). GIDC first began offering different types of assistance to just government associations in 2009. At first, GIDC gave just web hosting, email facilitating and worker co-area services. At present, GIDC generally provides IaaS and PaaS services. GIDC provides cloud services through a single Data Center (DC) and they don’t have a Disaster Recovery (DR) centre yet.
There are various service providers in Nepal but the major CC service providers in Nepal are:
- GIDC(Government Integrated Data Center)
- Data Hub Pvt. Ltd., Cloud Himalaya
- Umrao Data Center(U Cloud)
- CAS Infra
- Access World (AWT) Cloud service and Data Space Pvt. Ltd.
These Cloud services provide three major types of cloud computation called IaaS, SaaS and PaaS.
Challenges of Cloud Computing in Nepal
Everything comes up with its pros and cons. Although there are numerous advantages related to cloud computing, it is still not free from challenges. However, some of the major challenges of cloud computing that need to be taken good care of are described below in brief:
Security and Privacy
Because cloud computing represents a new computing model, there is a great deal of uncertainty about how security at all stages- network, host, application, and facts levels- can be achieved. The capability of cloud computing to safely address privacy policies has been questioned. Data is stored and processed by a third-party vendor and we cannot even see it. There are rising issues of broken authentication, compromised credentials, account hacking, data breaching, etc. This all increases the fear of security issues.
Open Access and Connectivity
The potential of cloud computing relies on the availability of high-speed internet access. Connectivity like electricity availability, internet and devices is a prerequisite for assessing cloud computing services. It requires an internet connection and electricity availability in order to take advantage of services provided by cloud computing. Power cuts or lack of internet connection can be a problem in taking cloud computing services.
Difficult to Achieve Interoperability
Cloud interoperability refers to the ability of the systems to work efficiently and collaborate effectively across different cloud platforms. Applications need to be easily migrated between cloud providers without being locked for a set period. There is a lack of flexibility in moving from one cloud provider to another because of the complexity involved. Changing cloud inventions brings with it a set of challenges like managing data movement and developing a secure network from scratch.
Lack of Expertise
With the increasing popularity of cloud computing and continuously improving cloud tools, management has become difficult. There is consistent demand for a trained workforce that can deal with cloud computing tools and services. But there is a lack of such a trained workforce in the market because the concept of cloud computing is still new and in the growing phase. Companies also need to continuously train their IT staff to deal with such challenges. This is another challenge of cloud computing.
Another major challenge of cloud computing is compliance. Compliance simply means a set of rules about what data is allowed to be moved and what should be kept in-house to maintain compliance. Not all data can be moved to the cloud. Some data needs to be kept in-house in order to ensure privacy and security. The distinction between such data is given by the government, and local, national and international laws. All companies should follow and respect the compliance rules set by such regulatory bodies.
Why is Cloud Computing Popular Nowadays?
Cloud computing is one of the five Information Technology megatrends that is supposed to shape the digital future. It has a growing advantage at both personal and business levels. It is also becoming the new normal for businesses operating globally. Businesses can save time and cost and provide opportunities for remote work using cloud computing. Cloud computing is also assisting businesses in carrying out operations in today’s information age.
As of today, we use cloud computing on a day-to-day basis. We use google drive, a pure cloud computing service to store our photos and videos. We use email to stay updated with college activities and communicate with our faculties. We use google docs and google slides to complete our assignments, projects and presentations. Cloud computing provides a variety of services ranging from letting us save our pictures in google drive to helping businesses achieve their strategic objectives. Also, it is a disruptive technology that is changing the way businesses function today.
According to Fortune Business Insights, the global cloud computing market is projected to grow from $250.04 billion in 2021 to $791.48 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 17.9% during the forecast period 2021-2028 which shows that cloud computing has gained a huge significance in this generation and have turned out to be the need of the enterprises. Cloud solutions are being designed like augmented reality and the internet of things. Businesses have to ensure end-to-end testing of their apps in the cloud to procure the maximum advantages of cloud computing.
Why Cloud Computing – The Future of Data
In order to compete in the current market scenario, every organization must adopt cloud technology. Cloud computing not only minimizes human effort and cost, giving the best output for the individuals and whole organization but also supports Green Computing. Therefore, Cloud computing promotes another era of industrialization and also the need for more sophisticated consumer products.
Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ I: What is Cloud Computing?
Answer: Cloud computing is nothing but the delivery of different services through the internet, including data storage, servers, databases, networking and software. It is an on-demand delivery of IT resources over the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing. In simple words, cloud computing is a way of assessing services on the internet instead of on your computer.
FAQ II: Types of Cloud Computing Services?
Answer: There are several kinds of services that can access through the cloud. On the basis of infrastructure and complexity, cloud computing services can be divided into three types.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
FAQ III: How are cloud computing services made available to users?
Answer: The users are supposed to choose the right cloud deployment model because different models address different organizational needs. Based upon the needs and requirements of the client’s organization and safety factors, the service provider offers various models to make sure that the model fits just right and satisfies their organizational needs. Generally, cloud computing services can be made available to users in four ways.
- Public Cloud
- Private Cloud
- Community Cloud
- Hybrid Cloud