You’ve probably heard of Dropbox, Instagram or Google Drive. With these online services (and many others) we can access our personal and work files wherever we are, as long as we have an Internet connection. If we look backwards in time, we can realize that Internet is bringing back an architecture model very popular in the 70s: a conglomerate of servers centralizing the process of big quantity of data.
So what does Cloud really mean?
It means accessing programs and data (even processing them) over the Internet instead of a corporate network. From a company’s point of view, it represents an opportunity to reduce physical space used by IT Infrastructure. Users, in turn, can benefit from the last version of an app or document without being required to install it. Services like Google (search engine, maps, documents, calendar), Microsoft Office, Facebook or Netflix are cloud based in order to efficiently provide their users the best possible experience.
It’s important to distinguish between the most common models of Cloud computing, dipending on the type of service they provide:
- Software as a service (SaaS) – Applications running on Cloud and usually accessible through web browser
- Platform as a service (PaaS) – Application development framework with all the necessary tools
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – IT resources such as Networking, Storage and Data Center pay-per-use
Any of these models can be Public or Private Cloud. The difference between them is that the first one is third party managed and the other instead is managed by the company itself or through a special contract with the service provider.
Like every technology, the Cloud has its pros and cons:
- No cost of purchase, installation and maintenance of computing infrastructure, you pay in function of your consumption (pay-per-use)
- Flexible and scalable
- Effective use of technology also means being environmentally friendly
- It’s mandatory to have a fast and reliable Internet connection.
- High dependency on your Cloud service provider
- Your data is saved and distributed in your provider’s IT environment, you can’t manage or control these processes
Even though the Cloud is a worldwide recognised and growing technology, it’s necessary to evaluate if we can trust our information to a third party and to avoid externalizing services that impact on our company’s productivity.
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