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What is behind cloud computing?

云叔_又拍云
中文

For small and medium-sized enterprises, for business development, the company's internal IT infrastructure must always "keep up with the trend of the times" and often need to provide more resources than currently required. Therefore, a fully functional data center is essential for most companies. However, building your own data center and hiring professionals to maintain it requires a lot of costs. In addition, it is difficult to scale and flexibly adjust as needed. In response to such needs, cloud computing has emerged.

With cloud computing, you can directly use application services on the cloud through the Internet without purchasing a hardware server, including storage space, processing power, database and software environment, and so on.

The history of cloud computing

This type of networked computer that provides users with more processing power and storage space is not a new invention. Computer mainframes in the 1950s had already taken the first step towards cloud computing. At that time, users could access the mainframe and use its functions through multiple other terminals in the organization, although users at that time needed to calculate the time before they could use the mainframe.

In the following decades, the emergence of virtualization technology allowed the abstract reconstruction of computer instances. This virtual environment was then available to all Internet users, and commercial sales were carried out to more users in the 1990s. After that, the concept of cloud became more and more popular. After 2000, many companies began to gradually become interested in cloud technology.

Nowadays, most smartphones (or the Internet of Things) are always connected to the cloud. Cloud computing not only brings a lot of convenience to the company, but also becomes a part of the daily life of many people. So what is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is a general term for hardware and software services provided through the Internet. It is usually centered on a large data center or server cluster, which brings together the resources of multiple computers or servers to form grid computing to achieve high performance. It covers all aspects from the cloud storage space provided by remote servers to the infrastructure in the cloud. By combining with virtualization, a single virtual instance can be created for a single user in the network. Although cloud computing contains a lot of content, there are clear regulations on whether it can be called cloud computing.

According to a paper by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a service must meet the following characteristics in order to be called cloud computing:

  • On-demand self-service: users should always be able to request the required resources independently without having to contact the service provider.
  • Extensive network access: Use any network device to access cloud computing anytime, anywhere.
  • multi-person shared resource pool: resource pooling multiple computing resources is the basic requirement of cloud computing. The resource pool can dynamically allocate and reallocate resources, such as processing power and storage, to meet the needs of multiple users.
  • rapid redeployment flexibility: resource delivery must be fast and based on demand. In some cases, zoom in and zoom out can be performed automatically without the intervention of the customer or service provider.
  • Measurable services: always monitors the usage status of cloud services, which increases transparency for both parties.

Various cloud computing types

With the increasing number of cloud services today, various cloud solutions have appeared on the market. In addition to the price and support provided, the main difference between these solutions lies in the layers and deployment models provided. "Layer" refers to the level of service, and the deployment model determines the type of service provided.

Service level

"Layer" refers to the corresponding specific service level, and generally describes the scope of the service through various "as-a-service" levels. Therefore, pyramid models are usually used to present them. Infrastructure as a service has the greatest scope, while software as a service focuses only on specific applications.

The specific scope of these "as a service" is as follows:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): At this level, the supplier provides a complete hardware solution: computing power, storage space and network. The instance used by the user is completely virtual and divided into resource pools. IaaS can be used as the basis for other layers, or it can be provided as a standalone product.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS): provides a complete cloud environment that is not just hardware. PaaS is mainly aimed at software developers. The service provider provides an established development environment in the cloud hosted on the hardware. Therefore, the programmer can save the time and expense of maintaining such an environment.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS): provides users with software solutions. SaaS is mainly for typical end users, they don't have to worry about installing and maintaining software, and they can rest assured that the hardware is powerful enough.
  • Everything as a Service (XaaS): XaaS can be classified into different levels. Because in addition to the three layers mentioned above, for some special reasons (such as marketing methods), individual providers also provide additional services XaaS. This is usually due to some special reasons (such as marketing methods). In fact, XaaS can be classified into different levels.
  • Human as a Service (HuaaS): is a form of crowdsourcing in which a group of people work through the Internet.

Of course, the three service models we see most on a daily basis are Iaas, PaaS and SaaS.

deployment model

The deployment model describes the types of services, and there are the following four types:

  • Private Cloud: The server is used by only one customer. The private cloud can be local (internal cloud). Even if the hosting program of the server cluster is used, other customers who use the program cannot access the dedicated hardware.
  • public cloud: public cloud is considered to be the main form of cloud computing, and its core attribute is shared resource services, that is, everyone shares server resources together. As users, we cannot see who is using server resources and changes.
  • Hybrid Cloud: This model is a hybrid of private cloud and public cloud. This means that users can determine which parts of their operations are made private (for example, security aspects) and which parts remain public.
  • Community Cloud: Community Cloud is similar to that of a private cloud, except that multiple users share a dedicated hardware instance. However, the user resource pool is not random. It is usually a combination of customers from the same business field or with similar interests. In addition, the community cloud can be managed inside or outside the company. Compared with running multiple private clouds, it saves more resources.

Pros and cons of cloud computing

The emergence of cloud computing provides small and medium-sized enterprises with a solution to the high cost of self-built IT infrastructure. The use and maintenance of the hardware is taken over by the service provider, and companies only need to invest in inexpensive terminals to access cloud computing services. In addition, professional server clusters are much safer than most organizations manage by themselves. There are dedicated security personnel and server experts to protect the data center at a physical level. In addition, most cloud computing service providers enforce mandatory backups of all data, which can effectively avoid hidden dangers caused by data loss.

As a fairly new service function, cloud computing also has some shortcomings. For example, depending on the service provider, the level of customization in terms of configuration may vary greatly, and may not be able to meet the needs of a particular enterprise. At the same time, the use of cloud services will rely too much on providers, once they encounter technical problems, it will directly affect the business operations of the enterprise. The use of cloud computing also relies on a strong and stable Internet connection, otherwise corporate employees will not be able to work efficiently.

Apart from the above shortcomings, the biggest concern for cloud solutions is data privacy issues. Although cloud service providers can guarantee the security of stored data, data transmission via the Internet will always bring security risks.

After all, cloud computing is not free, and companies must carefully consider the required resource capacity usage time to maximize cost savings. In this regard, with scene-based CDN as its core business, SnapCloud provides customers with cloud storage, cloud processing, cloud security, traffic marketing and other cloud services, helping users to accelerate content distribution, product research and development, and business growth. It requires billing, and has multiple cost control related functions such as WebP, H.265, rate adaptation and speed limit, which helps companies save money.

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