Cloud computing is the use of system resources on the Internet to carry out computing or storage tasks. Today, we’ll learn more about what cloud computing is, how it’s useful, and what its applications are. Let’s find out.
How Does Cloud Computing Work?
For computing, you need system resources, such as the CPU, the RAM, and the storage devices. Traditionally, we fulfill this requirement by purchasing and setting up computers ourselves. This still applies to this day with lighter tasks you can do on your own devices, but as some require more computing resources, things become costly.
With tasks requiring more resources, such as hosting a server or building a database, more computers must be purchased, and more skills and employees are required to maintain the system. But there’s a much cheaper way of doing so. It is to harness the power of cloud computing.
Instead of building a data center, you summon the computers of cloud service providers. By connecting to these computers using specialized apps (like the Google Cloud web app), one can rent resources as they request them, resulting in a much more flexible and scalable system.
What Are the Advantages of Cloud Computing?
There are many advantages of using cloud computing, which are the main reasons it is increasingly popular today. The most important one is that it’s cheap. As mentioned above, you don’t need to purchase many computers and build a data center to use lots of resources. Doing it that way will cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. The hardware also needs to be maintained and replaced, costing even more.
In contrast, one can rent cloud computing resources at a relatively low cost per hour. In fact, some services allow you to rent CPU cores at less than $1 (sometimes less than $0.1) per CPU hour! This gives an enormous advantage, especially for smaller companies that don’t need massive data centers.
Since cloud resources are rented on demand, this also allows for more flexibility and scalability. For example, imagine that your website gets a sudden and persistent increase in traffic, and your data center cannot handle it. If you are using traditional data centers, it takes lots of time and cost to add more resources, after which the traffic would have long declined because of extensive downtime. But if your server is on the cloud, it simply takes a few clicks to rent more resources, and you’ll be able to retain the traffic before it starts dissipating.
Moreover, handling data on the cloud is usually more secure. This is because cloud service providers prioritize data security and have more resources than your company. Thus, they can find and implement efficient, state-of-the-art security measures that your company may have yet to consider.
The cloud can also be used to back up data reliably. In the event of a disaster or a human error, data loss may result. However, cloud service providers often have extensive backup and recovery systems and multiple data centers across the globe. This reduces the chances of data loss to near zero.
What Are the Disadvantages of Cloud Computing?
On the other hand, cloud computing has its disadvantages, in which there may be technical problems that requires extra cost to fix. One of them is the reliance on a stable Internet connection. The data and the computing resources can only be accessed if the client and the cloud service provider are connected. This is a problem if the connection experiences disruptions. The affected businesses may grind to a halt until the connection is resumed, leading to losses depending on the nature of cloud computing in these companies.
While cloud networks are more flexible and scalable, the configuration of the computers isn’t. In fact, using the cloud raises some flexibility issues as the users do not own the computers. The service providers can choose whatever options they do (and do not) let the user decide, so some companies may not be able to access some specific but necessary features on the cloud.
Moreover, cloud service providers are more prone to attacks. Because they store more data than other arbitrary companies, hackers often see them as better targets even though they are excellent at defending against attacks. Thus, if the attacks are successful, the implications could be much more widespread and severe, potentially gaining access to all of your company’s data.
In this article, we mentioned what cloud computing is, how it works, and its advantages and disadvantages. To conclude, we can use cloud computing for on-demand and flexible computational tasks, such as hosting servers and training machine learning models. The cloud is also great at backing up and storing data and is the most common location for off-site copies of data. Overall, the cloud is a great platform for you to compute, whether it’s for your project or for your company, as long as you understand the limitations. If you want to learn more about cloud computing, please visit the webpages in the references below.
- (n.d.). Compute Engine Pricing. Retrieved November 12, 2022, from https://cloud.google.com/compute/all-pricing
- (n.d.). Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing. Retrieved November 12, 2022, from https://www.javatpoint.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-computing
- Preimesberger, C. (2021, September 20). Cloud computing pros and cons: The good, the bad, and the gray areas. Retrieved November 12, 2022, from https://www.zdnet.com/article/cloud-computing-pros-and-cons/
- Viswanathan, P. (2021, October 14). What Are the Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing? Retrieved November 12, 2022, from https://www.lifewire.com/cloud-computing-explained-2373125
- (n.d.). Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing. Retrieved November 12, 2022, from https://cloud.google.com/learn/advantages-of-cloud-computing