What is cloud computing?

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CLOUD computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and moreover the Internet (“the cloud”). Companies offering these computing services are called cloud providers and typically charge for cloud computing services based on usage, similar to how you are billed for water or electricity at home. There are many things that can be done with cloud computing, for example: create new apps and services, store, backup and retrieve data, stream audio and video, and analyse data for patterns to make predictions.

Cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources. There are several reasons why cloud computing is very beneficial for businesses, and these include cost, speed, global scale, productivity, performance, and reliability.

Most cloud computing services fall into three categories:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – this is where you rent IT infrastructures such as servers and virtual machines
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – a method for delivering software applications over the Internet. With SaaS, cloud providers host and manage the software application and underlying infrastructure and handle any maintenance, like software upgrades and security patching. Users connect to the application over the Internet, usually with a web browser on their phone, tablet or PC.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – cloud computing services that supply an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering and managing software applications.