Public cloud vendors offer their computing services to anyone in the general public. They maintain large data centers full of computing hardware, and their customers share access to that hardware. By contrast, a private cloud is a cloud environment set aside for the exclusive use of one organization.
Some large enterprises choose to keep some data and applications in a private cloud for security reasons, and some are required to use private clouds in order to comply with various regulations. Organizations have two different options for the location of a private cloud: they can set up a private cloud in their own data centers or they can use a hosted private cloud service. With a hosted private cloud, a public cloud vendor agrees to set aside certain computing resources and allow only one customer to use those resources. A hybrid cloud is a combination of both a public and private cloud with some level of integration between the two.
For example, in a practice called "cloud bursting" a company may run Web servers in its own private cloud most of the time and use a public cloud service for additional capacity during times of peak use. A multi-cloud environment is similar to a hybrid cloud because the customer is using more than one cloud service. However, a multi-cloud environment does not necessarily have integration among the various cloud services, the way a hybrid cloud does.
A multi-cloud environment can include only public clouds, only private clouds or a combination of both public and private clouds. Recommended Reading: Webopedia's Cloud Dictionary. Cloud services are typically deployed based on the end-user business requirements. The primary services include the following:. SaaS is a software delivery method that provides access to software and its functions remotely as a Web-based service.
In general, they can access the SaaS from any Internet-connected device, any time day or night.
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Well-known examples of SaaS include Salesforce. Here the platform is outsourced in place of a company or data center purchasing and managing its own hardware and software layers.
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Most PaaSes are designed for developers and aim to simplify the process of creating and deploying software. For example, a Web developer might use a PaaS that includes operating system software, Web server software, a database and related Web development tools. Computer infrastructure, such as servers, storage and networking delivered as a service.
IaaS is popular with enterprises that appreciate the convenience of having the cloud vendor manage their IT infrastructure.
They also sometimes see cost savings as a result of paying only for the computing resources they use. While SaaS, PaaS and IaaS are the three most common types of cloud services, cloud computing vendors sometimes also use other "as a service" labels to describe their offerings. Consumers and organizations have many different reasons for choosing to use cloud computing services.
They might include the following:.
What is cloud computing? | TechRadar
Stay up to date on the latest developments in Internet terminology with a free newsletter from Webopedia. Cloud-computing companies either charge users for their services, through subscriptions and usage fees, or provide free access to the services and charge companies for placing advertisements in the services. Because the profitability of cloud services tends to be much lower than the profitability of selling or licensing hardware components and software programs, it is viewed as a potential threat to the businesses of many traditional computing companies.
Construction of the large data centres that run cloud-computing services often requires investments of hundreds of millions of dollars. The centres typically contain thousands of server computers networked together into parallel-processing or grid-computing systems. The centres also often employ sophisticated virtualization technologies, which allow computer systems to be divided into many virtual machines that can be rented temporarily to customers.
Because of their intensive use of electricity, the centres are often located near hydroelectric dams or other sources of cheap and plentiful electric power. Because cloud computing involves the storage of often sensitive personal or commercial information in central database systems run by third parties, it raises concerns about data privacy and security as well as the transmission of data across national boundaries. It also stirs fears about the eventual creation of data monopolies or oligopolies. Some believe that cloud computing will, like other public utilities, come to be heavily regulated by governments.
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Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Cloud computing is increasingly being adopted as a source of information services.