“This infographic has come to us courtesy of Natalie McCatty from the blog of CyberTrails. Here are the basics of cloud computing in a nicely-done visual format.”
Cloud computing seems to be the new buzz word in the computing and technology industry. Do you know what it is really all about? Many small to medium-sized businesses are moving over to the cloud. In fact, you are probably already using the cloud every day, maybe even without realizing it. Cloud computing is expected to account for a third of annual IT expenditure growth this year.
Infographics are a great way of explaining concepts, facts, and figures visually, turning textual information into an easy-to-read and understandable format. Take a look at the following infographic to learn the ins and outs of cloud computing, including what it is and how it is different from traditional hosting. Here is a brief summary:
Cloud computing – what exactly is it?
Cloud computing is really a simple concept. It just means using Internet-based rather than software-based technologies; in other words, you can access data and applications via remote servers instead of a specific computer.
This means the information is accessible at any time, from anywhere, and to as many people as needed. “The cloud” is used to symbolize this online space where the data and applications are accessed, since there is no physical location (such as a hard drive).
How do I know if I am already using cloud-based services?
Like more than half of all Internet users, you are probably already using the cloud if you have a Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo! Mail email address. These are web-based applications that are popular because they allow users to access their email from any computer or mobile device. About a third of Internet users store and share photos online (think Flickr, Shutterfly, or Snapfish) while about 30% use online applications like Google docs.
Other examples of cloud computing include backup services (like Dropbox), web apps, project management tools (such as Basecamp), and even video storage sites like YouTube.
Are there different types of cloud computing?
Yes. While all cloud computing follows the same general principle of storing and accessing data online, there are several different categories, including:
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – includes space for data centers, network equipment, servers, and software for businesses.
Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – allows applications to run through full hardware architecture and software framework.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – commercially available software applications are accessible through the Internet.
Why is cloud computing better?
Cloud computing has many benefits, which may be why it has become so common among professionals. As compared to traditional hosting, cloud computing has:
- More security. Over half of current cloud users believe that cloud computing keeps their data and applications more secure. A big plus of storing data on the cloud is that users don’t have to worry about accidentally deleting or misplacing files, or losing data because of a virus or damaged machine.
- Less IT performance challenges. We all know the frustration of a downed server, computer virus, or out-of-date equipment that doesn’t function the way it should. Using cloud-based IT services eliminates these problems.
- Less internal pressures. According to a study by Rackspace, most medium-sized businesses spend over half their time on troubleshooting and server management. Cloud computing lets employees focus on their jobs instead of IT issues, as well as easily share information and manage projects.
- Better data sharing. When data is available online anyone can access it, from any computer anywhere in the world. You can’t achieve this with traditional hosting.
- Reduced costs. Almost two thirds of cloud users say cloud-based services have reduced their IT infrastructure costs.
With all of these advantages, it is clear that cloud computing is here to stay, at least for a while. Many (if not most) businesses are using some type of cloud-based service, including some you might be familiar with—Amazon.com, Google, and Microsoft among others. If you are not on board with cloud computing yet, do your research and find out how it can actually bring your business more productivity and save you time and money.
About the Author
Natalie McCatty is a professional blogger for CyberTrails, a leading provider of managed hosting services, IT consulting and cloud computing to businesses in the Southwest. Read more of her work on the CyberTrails blog.