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What is cloud computing?

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

Everything is making its way to the cloud, whether it’s infrastructure, software, applications, services, products, or even an operating system. To fully understand the motivation for the cloud, let's start with what we had before the cloud. Before the cloud, if you needed a server, you had to:

  • Buy it

  • Deploy and configure the operating system and all the software that you'll need

  • Maintain it over time

  • Replace it when it no longer meets your demands

  • You must have your own IT team to support all of the above.

You often ended up with something that looks like this:

I know that it may seem too harsh, but if you have real experience maintaining a server room, you may get my point. In addition to server, the same goes with other areas, including:

  • Storage

  • Networking

  • Security

  • User management

  • and more

Another great example that can demonstrate the life before the availability of the cloud is the ability of companies to handle their resources, for example, an electrical store that has a site where they sell their products. The site was implemented on two physical servers that had utilization of 60%, which is just fine for the whole months starting from Jan and until November. And what happened in November?

Black Friday! Which caused the server CPU to move from 60% utilization into 150%; well, of course, there is not 150% utilization; what happened is that the website is crashed before. So, before the cloud, what will be done? Setting up a meeting with the IT department to increase the number of servers from two to four to support this type of overload. Now, from Jan until November, the utilization is 20%, and in the next Black Friday, the CPU utilization is 90% without any impact on the site. This scenario raises a different issue, as the CPU usage was 20% for most of the time. It has only been used for a few days, meaning that the CPU utilization is inferior, meaning that we lost money for underutilized hardware. And this is the exact problem that the cloud is trying to resolve.

What is the cloud?

The unscientific definition of the cloud is a delivery of computing services over the internet, which is otherwise known as the cloud. These services include servers, Networking, Storage, security, and other services managed by someone else. That means that they're worldwide, high data centers filled with thousands of servers, networking, and storage. Cloud computing offers faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.

Cloud Providers

Well, these are companies that build those massive data centers. They fill it with servers, electricity, storage, etc. They design and install various services which are publicly accessible to their customers.

So this is how it looks from the outside:

And this is how it looks on the inside:

Among the top cloud providers, we can find:

and a quick insight on their market share:

Now, these data centers, as we said prior, contain not only physical hardware but also have cloud services. Now, what exactly are cloud services? It's a wide range of services delivered by the cloud provider on demand for its customers over the internet. These services are designed and deployed to provide accessible, fast, and affordable access to applications and resources without the need for internal infrastructure or hardware. For example, most cloud providers may offer services like:

We started this article with the example of the era before the cloud, so now in the cloud era, if you need a service you can create in the cloud within minutes, use it only when required, pay only for what you use, and the best part? Its maintained, secured, and monitored by someone else.

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