Nowadays we always listen to “the cloud” all the time. It just seems to be this unknown system that no one cares to understand. We just know is the newest thing around and that it works. It generates millions to Amazon AWS, Azure from Microsoft and many more providers.

1. What is "the cloud"?

So the cloud is obviously not in the sky. It is a software-hardware relationship that helps improve performance by sharing resources among datacenter.

The proper definition is :

"A global network of servers, each with a unique function. The cloud is not a physical entity, but instead is a vast network of remote servers around the globe which are hooked together and meant to operate as a single ecosystem. "

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/overview/what-is-the-cloud/

This solves one of the biggest issues in computing and data processing. Where before each server needed expensive hardware like a lot of storage, ram and cpu. Now you can have servers focused on one piece like CPU intensive hardware or RAM intensive hardware. This makes it cheaper and scalable. And it also helps use all the resources to their maximum capacity.

 

Imagine you have 2 servers with 30% capacity left each. But you need at least 40% of resources. In a classical way, you would not be able to access those resources because you need at least 30% capacity on any server. What cloud computing does, is that you now have 60% capacity and the resources of both servers are summed up.

 

In other words, it works like a load-balancer

 

load-balancer

2. What makes it better than conventional computing?

It is a lot better than conventional computing because it has integrated features.

For example:

  • it is redundant, if one server fails nothing happens.
  • It is scalable and elastic. If there is a spike in demand, you can easily expand to more servers.
  • It is very flexible. You can basically do everything on a cloud environment. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data analysis.

Before each one of the features I mentioned had a big cost on companies. Dedicated servers were not scalable, difficult to maintain with a lot of staff. There was no flexibility and it was hard to cluster servers together. This is the single reason why cloud computing has made it’s way to the top. 

2.1 Cloud VPS vs Clasic VPS 

Now, compare a VPS vs a CLOUD INSTANCE. You have technically the same amount of resources, speed, etc… What you do not have is the same ease for scalability. This means, you can not just ask your provider for 1 TB of storage extra or 128 GB for just one hour. This is something you can do on a cloud but not with conventional VPS providers.

This is often times why just comparing prices it might seem more expensive at first to use a cloud computer. But when you take the limitations of dedicated servers and virtual servers, you might opt to scale to the cloud. 

 

2.2 When is a cloud service useful?

A cloud server or service starts being useful when you need explosive scalability. Let’s take Netflix as an example. They use AWS because they have spikes on demand a lot of the times. Whenever there is a top of the line movie out like House of Cards or Money Heist which has millions of viewers accessing content simultaneously all at once. This is an extra-capacity that Netflix would have to build themselves, costing them a lot of money at initial investment and recurring maintenance. In this case-study it would be useful to go for public or private cloud.

 

On the other hand, If you have a small website of 10 thousand visitors per day, it would not be convenient for you to use a public cloud. This would incur in more expenses for your website. You would be better off with a virtual server. You would require no “explosive” and immediate scalability. Neither would you need a huge amount of resources.

 

3. Public Cloud vs Private Cloud vs Hybrid Cloud

How does the "cloud" works? 1

You might have heard about hybrid public and private cloud. All of them are used by small to big companies for different purposes. Let us explore them all.

 

Let us analyze our three options for cloud computing. Private, hybrid and public. First we need to understand what this means in order to deeply understand it.

 

The private cloud is just as having your standard set of servers in a datacenter. You own, operate and maintain all servers.

 

The public cloud is when you go to a provider like amazon aws or azure from Microsoft. These massive providers have their own datacenters. You do not own or operate the datacenters. Also, you have the freedom to scale up and down without any additional cost to you.

 

The hybrid cloud is a combination of private and public cloud. This would be when you maintain a base capacity in your own datacenters. This capacity can be expanded or contracted on the public cloud. This is the most cost-effective solution on the long term, as you do not have any extra capacity on your facilities because you can expand and contract as much as you need on the public cloud.

 

Now that we know what each cloud is, let us see which one is best.

 

When having a private cloud, you have a great deal of control. This means you know who enter your facilities, who accesses your data. How much capacity you have and which types of servers you need. This kind of cloud servers’ unpredictable needs for a certain company or business. These businesses are generally subject to regulatory or governmental standards that require high level of security.

 

As we mentioned earlier, the private cloud is only for one organization. This means, you can customize It to your specific needs. That bee graphic intensive, CPU intensive or storage intensive needs. This offers greater performance for your organization but at a higher cost.

 

Operating a private cloud often brings higher complexity to a company as you require a lot of automation and user self-service. This means maintaining an IT team that is capable of managing the entire cloud.

 

On the other hand, we have the public cloud. This offers you a great deal of scalability, cost-savings on the short and medium term. You do not have to maintain servers or acquire them. You do not need an specialized IT-team and it reduces complexity within an organization.  You only pay for what you use. You can scale up and scale down as much as you want without much trouble.

 

In short here is a table that helps describe the main differences between these three.

TypePublicPrivateHybrid
SecurityLowHighMedium
CostLowHighMedium
ReliabilityLow-MediumHighLow-Medium
PerformanceMediumHighMedium-High
Control and FlexibilityLowHighMedium
ScalabilityHighLowMedium
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