In 2023, some companies are still deploying their infrastructure on physical hardware in local data centers, buying boxed software licenses, and building application development platforms themselves. All this requires large financial, human and time resources.
With cloud services, the situation is reversed. For their stable operation, you only need a stable Internet connection and a reliable service provider like GigaPros, who will take care of the maintenance and technical support of the solutions.
In this material, experts told what types of services there are, what are their advantages, who they are suitable for and how to start working with them.
The history of the emergence of cloud technologies
Until the 60s of the last centuries, computers were large, expensive, and only one specialist could work with one computer. Therefore, the idea of common use of infrastructure appeared, but it came to modern implementation only in the 2000s. In the same period of time, the first SaaS solutions and CRM systems appeared.
In 2006, Amazon, which was then engaged in online book sales, created the Elastic Managed Cloud service, which became the prototype of the modern IaaS model – “Infrastructure as a Service”.
What are clouds and cloud services
Clouds are a network of powerful servers that allow users to work with resources via the Internet: analyze big data, store confidential information, deploy virtual desktops, work simultaneously with several teams on one project, and perform calculations.
Cloud services are essentially online programs or other tools that help organize remote work and solve various business problems. They have replaced the classic “boxed” offline programs that need to be installed on separate computers.
The cloud network consists of information storage and processing nodes, which are called data centers. They are located all over the world and connected via the Internet. Cloud providers build and maintain them on their own or work with partner data centers, allocate physical server resources to separate VMs and rent them out.
Types of clouds
Clouds are of four types:
- public cloud. A cloud provider leases computing resources to a business that are shared among many of the service provider’s customers. In the public cloud, you can quickly deploy and scale, such a cloud is suitable for development and testing environments or as a backup site;
- private cloud. The computing environment used by one particular company. The cloud infrastructure is isolated from other clients of the cloud provider, so it is suitable for hosting critical services and confidential information. In the private cloud, you can implement any customized solutions;
- hybrid cloud. One part of the services is hosted in the public cloud, and the other part is hosted in a private cloud or on physical servers in the client’s local data center. Often, businesses use hybrid clouds in a gradual transition from traditional infrastructure to the cloud;
- multicloud. Businesses leverage multiple cloud providers to run the most advanced technologies, get the best market experience, quickly scale resources, and minimize the risk of mission-critical application failures.
Types of cloud services
Depending on their needs and goals, a business can choose the following cloud services:
- IaaS (infrastructure as a service). The client rents computing power in the provider’s public cloud and pays for resources according to the pay-as-you-go model, that is, only for the amount that they actually used.
- PaaS (platform as a service). Clients get access to a ready platform for developers. With its help, they can create mobile, web applications and specialized software for business. PaaS speeds up the development, testing, and delivery of applications.
- SaaS (software as a service) . The cloud provider provides customers with customized programs in the cloud to solve various business problems. For example, CRM, ERP, ITSM systems, task trackers and other software.
In addition to the main IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services, there are several more solutions:
- BaaS (backup as a service). The client receives a service for creating backups. In the event of a hardware failure, the company will be able to recover its data and continue to work normally;
- DRaaS (disaster recovery as a service) . Replication of the client’s servers to the servers of the cloud provider, which allows you to restore the infrastructure and all company data in case of failure of the local data center.
Benefits of cloud services
Cloud solutions, in comparison with deployment on physical equipment in a local data center, have the following advantages:
- reliability and safety. If a cloud provider hosts its equipment in data centers that have all three Tier III certifications from the Uptime Institute, then the risk of accidents is minimized, and safety standards and processes comply with world standards;
- transition from CAPEX to OPEX. A business does not need to take money out of circulation and invest it in the purchase of expensive equipment and software. It is enough for the client to pay a monthly subscription fee or pay for resources using the Pay-As-You-Go model;
- technical support from the provider. Cloud services are administered by the service provider. This allows businesses to keep a budget on hiring and maintaining IT staff and focus on developing their own products and services;
- flexibility and scalability. A cloud provider has a lot of computing resources, so a business, if necessary, can increase their number, for example, during a sale and also simply abandon them after.
Disadvantages of cloud solutions
Despite the advantages of cloud services, they have disadvantages.
- The need for a stable internet connection. To use cloud services, you need a stable and fast Internet connection, otherwise the business will not be able to access data and applications.
- Risk of data leakage. The security of client data will be at risk if a cloud provider deploys client clouds based on dubious data centers that have not passed Tier certification and do not use additional information security tools.
- Service provider dependency. The stable operation of cloud services depends on the cloud provider that provides these services to the client. For example, data center failures can lead to downtime, financial loss, and reputational risk.
Cloud Services Security
Cloud services are actively developing, but many companies still do not trust them and prefer to work on-premise. Below are four facts that speak about the security of cloud solutions:
- Tier certification and world standards. If cloud services are deployed in a data center with Tier III certification, this means that it is designed, built and operated in accordance with world standards, including security;
- high-end equipment with no single point of failure. High-end equipment is produced by world market leaders such as Cisco, Dell EMC, Hewlett-Packard, NetApp. Equipment nodes are duplicated, and therefore the failure of one or more components does not affect its operation;
- additional functions and means of information protection. uses monitoring and analytics systems to detect internal and external threats, offers customers the use of additional information security tools (ISP);
- technical support from the provider. Enterprise providers usually provide their customers with 24/7 technical support. For example, in case of questions or failures, customers can contact technical specialists by phone, email or using the self-service portal to quickly resolve the problem.
Who needs cloud services and why?
Cloud services can be useful for almost any company and business, regardless of their size and field of activity. For example, startups use PaaS to quickly develop, test and bring their applications and services to production without having to invest in expensive infrastructure.
Medium and large businesses use SaaS, that is, ready-made software in the cloud, and delegate service administration to a service provider in order to reduce staffing costs. Large corporations get high performance and availability with IaaS to work consistently with many users, large amounts of data, and heavy services.
Due to the violation of logical chains, the increase in delivery times and the cost of physical equipment, in the coming years, many companies will be more actively migrating to the clouds and using cloud services.
How cloud services will evolve
Cloud services is a fast-growing industry and will continue to do so in the future. According to MarketsandMarkets forecasts, the cloud services market will grow at 17.5% per year until 2027. This can be explained by the fact that more and more companies and organizations are moving to cloud services in search of a flexible and efficient infrastructure.
One of the key trends in the future development of cloud services is the widespread use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Cloud services will work with these technologies to create intuitive and automated solutions that help companies complete their tasks faster and more efficiently.
Another direction for the development of cloud services will be the use of IoT (Internet of Things) and smart devices. Cloud services will provide the infrastructure for processing and analyzing data received from smart devices. This will help companies make faster and more accurate decisions based on data from multiple sources.
In the future, there may be new models for providing cloud services, for example, blockchain cloud services that will provide decentralized data storage and exchange. This may be of particular interest to companies that work with sensitive data.
How to get started with cloud services
Getting started with cloud services is easy if you follow the simple steps:
- make sure that the cloud service is suitable for a specific business task;
- audit business processes, analyze technical requirements, determine the budget, assess risks and possible problems;
- ensure the reliability of your network and Internet connection, as this directly affects the quality and speed of services. It is also necessary to develop a data backup strategy and recovery plan in the event of a failure or security breach;
- protect your data, for example, by encrypting information or using secure communication channels;
- choose a cloud service provider, make sure of its reliability and reputation in the market, carefully read the SLA and the contract.