Cloud computing is the way by which IT applications, platforms and infrastructure are delivered to end users over the Internet as a service rather than as a product.
Through the cloud, virtual computing resources such as data storage and server capacity are made available to end-users via the web, allowing these to be accessed and used anytime, anywhere without having to make any outright software license or hardware purchases and worry about depreciation in the long run. With cloud computing, users subscribe to servers, storage or applications, and pay monthly only for what is used, as opposed to buying these expensive items in one go. It's like how we pay for household water consumption -- we get billed at the end of each month only for the times that the tap is on. We don't get billed for the times it is turned off.
This way, users are able to manage their own utilization and ensure that they only pay for what is actually used. No more CAPEX. No more 30-45 day wait for equipment delivery. No more annual server maintenance that costs an arm and a leg in terms of expenses and downtime. Need a server today? Go activate one! Don't need it anymore? Then turn it off. It's that simple.
Cloud computing services are usually categorized under three basic classifications:
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) -- multi-tenant applications built on cloud platforms
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) -- virtualized computing infrastructure that's manipulated via easy to use orchestration systems
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) -- cloud-based application development or database management
These online applications and computing resources utilize shared Internet data center infrastructure ensuring utmost security and availability, allowing organizations to focus on their core business.
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