Defining cloud computing
In the simplest terms, cloud computing is the process in which hardware and software are shared on a network created by a group of systems. Multiple servers form a virtual network and services are delivered over this network.
Understanding cloud computing
For example, when you have a website, it is hosted on the server of the company that hosts your website. This means that in the conventional system, your website is housed in one server system and is aired from it. When you switch to cloud computing, your website is hosted on a network consisting of different servers. This means that it is not restricted to one server.
Similarly, in the conventional system, if you need a particular software or application, you need to buy it, get a license, store it on your system and use it on your system alone. In cloud computing, the software remains on the network rather than in your system. So, you do not have to pay for the entire software. Since it is on the cloud and not restricted to your computer, you can use any computer to access it as long as you have its authentication password. You also benefit from regular updates to the software that are done automatically, so you when you login to the software online you will always have the latest version of the software.
In a way, by accessing software and applications over the cloud, you use them as a service rather than a product because you pay only for the services you use. So, software applications that are offered over the cloud are also called Software as a Service, more popularly known as SaaS. Similarly, you can also use Platform as a Service (PaaS).
Anything can be hosted and accessed on the cloud these days, be it software, storage space, desktops and so much more.
Zoostr is Software as a Service and provides free online accounting software. Each time you access Zoostr you will be accessing the latest version of the software and instantly get all the new features and security updates. To get a free Zoostr account click here.
Types of cloud computing
Depending on your requirements, you can use one of the four types of cloud computing modules – public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud and community cloud.
Public cloud is open to everybody. Anybody can access it from anywhere. Google with all its functions, for instance, is a public cloud. While you can use public clouds, you do not have access to or information about the data centres that house the infrastructure used to create the cloud.
Private cloud provides private access. For instance, a business organisation can have a private cloud only for use within the company. Private cloud are of two types again – on-premise cloud and externally hosted cloud.
Hybrid cloud consists of multiple clouds in combination. You can have a main private cloud domain but club it with the resources offered by public cloud. The benefits are that you can access third party cloud applications or can scale the deployment model if you suddenly experience a surge in workload.
Community cloud is used by multiple tenants. It is shared by different organisations. These are not public clouds as such but are private clouds providing access to a target group of users.
Migrating to cloud computing offers numerous benefits. This is definitely the technology of the future for small businesses in India.
As a small business owner you will be able to get amazing software for significantly less cost or even free. These SaaS (software as a service) products give you powerful technology the likes of which used to be only for large organisations with large budgets.