What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of computing power, database storage, applications, and other IT resources through a cloud services platform via the internet with pay-as-you-go pricing (“What is Cloud Computing”, 2017).
It is delivered mainly in three models: Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, and Infrastructure-as-a-Service.
What are benefits of Cloud Computing?
- Cost Savings – Businesses, no matter what their type or size, exist to earn money while keeping capital and operational expenses to a minimum. With cloud computing, an organization can save substantial capital costs with zero in-house server storage and application requirements.
The lack of on-premises infrastructure also removes their associated operational costs in the form of power, air conditioning, and administration costs. The company pays for what is used and disengage whenever you like – there is no invested IT capital to worry about (“Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing”).
- Reliability – With a managed service platform, cloud computing is much more reliable and consistent than in-house IT infrastructure. Most providers offer a Service Level Agreement which guarantees 24/7/365 and 99.99% availability. The client organization can benefit from a massive pool of redundant IT resources, as well as a quick fail-over mechanism – if a server fails, hosted applications and services can easily be transited to any of the available servers.
- Manageability – Cloud computing provides enhanced and simplified IT management and maintenance capabilities through central administration of resources, vendor managed infrastructure and SLA (service-legal agreement) backed agreements. IT infrastructure updates and maintenance are eliminated, as all resources are maintained by the service provider. The client enjoys a simple web-based user interface for accessing software, applications and services – without the need for installation – and an SLA ensures the timely and guaranteed delivery, management and maintenance of the IT services.
- Scalability and Elasticity – A company doesn’t have to know upfront how much of resources and has the freedom to start small and build as needed. The services can be scaled up or down depending on the company’s business growth, busy season, and busy hours.
What are disadvantages of Cloud Computing?
- Complete dependence on the provider and the Internet – As cloud service providers take care of a number of clients each day, they can become overwhelmed and may even come up against technical outages. This can lead to your business processes being temporarily suspended. Additionally, if your internet connection is offline, you will not be able to access any of your applications, server or data from the cloud. Eg. AWS outages
- Security – A cloud provider is susceptible to confidentiality leaks through insider threats, and integrity errors due to DBA errors, the same as any company. Also not knowing the exact geographical location and the security laws prevalent there, heighten the security risks. Additionally, the inherent multi-tenant model of public clouds opens it up to security incidents. Eg. The OneLogin data breach
- Vendor Lock-In – Although cloud service providers promise that the cloud will be flexible to use and integrate, switching cloud services is something that hasn’t yet completely evolved. Organizations may find it difficult to migrate their services from one vendor to another. Hosting and integrating current cloud applications on another platform may throw up interoperability and support issues. For instance, applications developed on Microsoft Development Framework (.Net) might not work properly on the Linux platform.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.levelcloud.net/why-levelcloud/cloud-education-center/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-computing/
What is Cloud Computing? – Amazon Web Services. (2017). Retrieved from https://aws.amazon.com/what-is-cloud-computing/