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The Cloud. What is it?

Everyone's heard of it but few people know what it is. Marketing people make it sound as though it's this ethereal, omnipresent thing that's always there when you need it. Reality is a little bit more dull than that.

In short, the Cloud is just another person's computer. There are three big players in the field, Amazon, Microsoft and Google. There's also plenty smaller companies offering cloud computing services but these are definitely the most popular solutions for big projects.

These companies offer a plethora of different services as their cloud offering like compute power, database, file storage, applications and other IT resources. It is done over the internet usually with a pay as you go pricing. Kind of like car sharing services but with computers.

Advantages #

Variable expense

Back in the day the entry threshold was very high for any IT company as they'd need to have their own servers and data centers and you'd have to buy more than you need at any given time to avoid the possibility of running out of space or compute power. Then you'd also need to know how to use it and fix it. With cloud computing all you need is your own laptop and you have access to the same high quality infrastructure that multi billion dollar companies use.

Not only that, you get to leverage the expertise of biggest and brightest from the largest corporations in the World and only pay for what you use. This is very cost-effective and affordable to anyone trying to get their business off the ground.

Economy of scale

Amazon, Microsoft and Google have one thing in common. These are massive economies of scale and having unparalleled purchasing power that you and I cannot compete with. They can build their own servers and offer much lower prices than anywhere else.

End the guess work

As mentioned previously, you always have to buy extra capacity to avoid running out. If you buy too much you wasted money and if not enough, you have down time and a long one at that. Scaling servers isn't as quick and easy as one might think. Using cloud solutions it's as simple as clicking a button and sometimes services can even scale automatically without any intervention from you. More traffic than usual? Not a problem.

Focus on what's important

Stop spending money on building an infrastructure and running and maintaining data centers. Just focus on what you're good at.

Speed and agility

Now-a-days people can go from idea to market within months and sometimes weeks. Ten, fifteen years ago they'd have to buy servers and rent data centre space. Most of them probably would have never gotten off the ground.

Go global

As mentioned previously, biggest cloud providers build their own servers and they do it everywhere. We can use that and deploy our applications in multiple regions thus offering low latency experience to people all over the world not just in our vicinity.

Types #

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

You manage servers which can be either physical or virtual. In AWS it would be the EC2 Service among many others.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Someone else manages servers and operating systems for you. Good example would be Netlify which greatly simplifies deploying static sites while for example AWS Cloudfront under-the-hood. They also take care of security, patching, updates, maintenance and everything required to keep your site online.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Mail services are probably the most popular and widely used SaaS. Software as a Service providers take care of the data centers, servers, networks, storage, maintenance etc. All you gotta do is use the software.

High Level Services #

Below is a list of high level services in AWS cloud offering. All these services have from one to several other services. At the time of writing there are 200 fully featured services from data centers globally.

  • IOT
  • Customer Engagement
  • AR & VR
  • Analytics
  • Management & Governance
  • Robotics
  • Migration & transfer
  • Compute
  • Business Applications
  • Application Integration
  • Security, Identity & Compliance
  • Media Services
  • Blockchain
  • Network & Content Delivery
  • Storage
  • Game Development
  • Desktop & App Streaming
  • Cost Management
  • Mobile
  • Machine Learning
  • Satellite
  • Developer Tools
  • Databases

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