It is a kind of Internet-based computing that provides shared processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand through internet. Cloud is not simply the latest term for the Internet, though the Internet is a necessary foundation for the cloud, the cloud is something more than the Internet. The cloud is where you go to use technology when you need it, for as long as you need it. This technology allows for much more efficient computing by centralizing data storage, processing and bandwidth
Characteristics of Cloud
On-demand self-service: A service consumer can automatically make use of the computing capabilities, such as server processing time and network storage without requiring human interaction with each service’s provider
Broad network access: Cloud Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms such as mobile phones, laptops and PDAs.
Resource pooling: The provider’s computing resources are pooled together to serve multiple consumers using multiple-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand.
Rapid elasticity: Capabilities can be rapidly and elastically provisioned; it can be quickly scaled out, and quickly scaled in. For the user, the capabilities available for provisioning appear to be unlimited and can be purchased in any quantity at any time.
Shared Infrastructure : Uses a virtualized software model, enabling the sharing of physical services, storage, and networking capabilities.
Network Access: Needs to be accessed across the internet from a broad range of devices such as PCs, laptops, and mobile devices, using
standards-based APIs (for example, ones based on HTTP).
The cloud services can be categorized into software services(SAAS, infrastructure or hardware services(IAAS), Platform Service (PAAS).
Scalability/Flexibility: The most important feature of Cloud computing is its flexibility. Companies can start with a small deployment and grow to a large deployment fairly rapidly, and then scale back if necessary. Also, the flexibility of cloud computing allows companies to use extra resources at peak times, enabling them to satisfy consumer demands.
Access from innumerable options: Another benifit of cloud computing is accessing the environment of cloud not only from the system but through other amazing options. These options are tablets, IPad, netbooks and even mobile phones.
It is Cheap! : low cost always bring smile. This is another thing for cloud computing. Cloud infrastructure eliminates the high software costs of the businesses. Cloud for business removes the huge cost at the front for the servers of the enterprise. Cloud service providers do the system maintenance, and access is through APIs that do not require application installations onto PCs, thus further reducing maintenance cost.
Reliability: Services using multiple redundant sites can support business continuity and disaster recovery.
Almost Unlimited Storage: Storing information in the cloud gives you almost unlimited storage capacity
Data Centralization: Another key benefit of cloud services is the centralized data. The information for multiple projects and different branch offices are stored in one location that can be accessed from remote places.
Data Recovery: Cloud computing providers enables automatic data backup on the cloud system. The recovery of data when a hard drive crash is either not possible or may cost a huge amount of dollars or wastage of valuable time.
Net Connection: For cloud computing, an internet connection is a must to access your precious data.
Low Bandwidth: With a low bandwidth net, the benefits of Cloud computing cannot be utilized. Sometimes even a high bandwidth satellite connection can lead to poor quality performance due to high latency.
Affected Quality: The internet is used for various reasons such as listening to audios, watching videos online, downloading and uploading heavy files, printing from the cloud and the list goes on. The quality of Cloud computing connection can get affected when a lot of people utilize the net at the same time.
Security Issues: Of course, cloud computing keeps your data secure. But for maintaining complete security, an IT firm assistance and advice is important. Else, the business can become vulnerable to hackers and threats.