You’ve probably heard the term “cloud computing” at least a couple of times by now. But how familiar are you with the technology and processes behind it? Find out more about how cloud computing works and what it means.
Cloud Computing Basics
Cloud computing is a way to share resources and software through the internet. That’s what the word “cloud” refers to—the internet.
Instead of storing data and information on a local hard disk, cloud computing stores it on servers in remote locations. The company that manages these resources is known as a cloud service provider.
Cloud Computing Basics – Front End/Back End
So far so good, but exactly what are the cloud computing basics? Understanding cloud computing becomes easier if you think of it in terms of a front end and a back end connected through the internet.
- The front end is the computer user technology. It includes the computer, the network, and the software that you use.
- The back end refers to the cloud part of the system. It includes computers, servers, storage systems, software, and the rest of the infrastructure that the cloud service provider set up and manages.
When you use file storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive, social networks like Facebook or Twitter, or Google Apps, you are accessing the front end of the cloud.
Behind those apps or social networks, there’s a whole infrastructure of computer systems that store and save data and make it readily accessible.
The Components of the Cloud
The back end is the complex part of cloud computing. Let’s look at each of its components.
- Infrastructure – At its deepest level, cloud computing consists of an infrastructure made of computers, data storage, and networks. Cloud service providers host the computers and the block storage media within multiple data centers across different locations.
- Platform – The next level in the backend consists of the database and runtime that enable the storage, retrieval, and transfer of data over the internet.
- Software – The software side of the backend is how the cloud service provider controls the resources and allows for their distribution. Through it, cloud computing resources reach you.
The front end, by contrast, is simpler but no less important. You can think of it as the interface through which you, the client, can access the data and computing resources provided by the back end.
- Network – The information reaches you through a network—remember that the internet itself is a huge network of interconnected devices.
- Device – Desktop computers, laptops, tablets, phones—all of these can connect to the internet to access cloud computing resources.
- Application – Whether it’s a web browser or a dedicated computer or mobile app, the application is the last gateway between you and cloud computing.
Final Thoughts on Cloud Computing Basics
Cloud computing is a smart way to store and access computer resources. It frees you from a dependency on local hardware.
Whether you need file storage beyond your hard disk’s capacity, a virtual data center, or just want to use a specific app delivered as a service, you can use cloud computing to access it. All you need is a computer with internet access and an account or subscription, depending on the type of service you want to access.
Now that you have a deeper understanding of how cloud computing works, you can better appreciate its simplicity and value.
Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Computing Basics
- Azure – Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services
- Amazon – Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of IT resources over the Internet with pay-as-you-go pricing.
- Google – Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computing resources as services over the internet.