What is known as the “cloud” is a computing system that allows users to access the same files and applications from almost any device? This is only possible because of a technology known as virtualization. This technology facilitates the creation of a virtual computer that acts as if it were a physical computer complete with hardware. As such, computing and storage takes place on servers in a data centre, instead of locally on the user device.
Cloud computing is also great for businesses as it reduces IT costs and overhead. They no longer need to update and maintain their own server hardware since the cloud vendor they are using is responsible for that. Small businesses stand to benefit from switching to cloud computing as it allows them to outsource their computing needs, so they do not need to maintain the physical infrastructure allowing them to focus on the more critical delivery of applications to the business.
How It Works
Cloud computing is enhanced by virtual computers or virtual machines. Multiple virtual machines can be run on the same host machine and sandboxed from one another. This prevents interaction, the files and applications on one virtual machine aren’t visible to other virtual machines that may even be on the same physical machine.
When many virtual machines are run at once, one server becomes many servers. By this logic, a data centre becomes a whole host of data centres that is capable of serving many organisations. By networking these virtual machines, users can access them as a “cloud service” via browsers, apps or by connecting over the internet as an RDP session. The cloud is structured to be always available even when individual servers go down. This is because of cloud vendors backup their services on multiple virtual machines and even geographical regions.
What Are the Types of Cloud?
The cloud comes in various types, some of which include:
Virtual Data Centre
This is a pool of cloud resources that save you the costs of having to buy and house your own servers. Instead of housing servers on-premise, all you need is to have access to an internet connection, and you have access to all the business applications you need. Virtual servers provide flexibility and scalability when you need them. You can use the virtual servers you need without having to buy, house, or provision a physical machine, removing the need for physical maintenance and provisioning. In addition, you can create virtual machines, containers (vApps), and networks. You can even increase its capacity by adding new resources from a nearly unlimited pool of resource, then drop them when you’re done. Virtual data centres contain public and private catalogues of VM templates. This way, you can build new virtual machines quickly, or even upload the VMs which are already running in your other environments.
Virtual Private Server
This refers to the splitting of a physical server into multiple servers. Each server then acts just like a dedicated server, so you get all the features of a dedicated server with fewer costs. Each virtual private server has its own operating system that receives resources from the physical server and can be rebooted separately. They are isolated from each other, so if any of the servers experience problems, the others are not affected. With a virtual private server, you get a lot of flexibility and freedom at an affordable cost. It trumps shared hosting but resides on a single piece of hardware which leaves more to be desired for resilience.
What is often known as colocation or “colo” is a data centre facility where businesses can rent space for their servers and other computing hardware. A regular colo provides building space, bandwidth, cooling, power, and physical security. The servers and storage are the customer’s responsibility. Rack, cabinet, cage, or room are the standards by which space is let out in this facility. In recent times though, many colos began to offer managed services “hands-on support” that support their customers’ business initiatives.
While there are tons of reasons for choosing a colo over building a data centre, one of the main drivers is the lower capital expenditures required. The building, maintaining, and updating a large computing facility is capital intensive. Previously, data recovery was the main reason why colo’s were often used by private enterprises. These days, cloud service providers often use colocation spaces for them to deliver services from.
There are disadvantages associated with colocation, even though it might seem like an ideal solution. For example, distance can lead to increased travel costs in the events that equipment requires maintenance or repair and time taken to complete emergency works. Colo customers can find themselves locked into long-term contracts, with difficulties to migrate away without having large amounts of downtime. This prevents them from renegotiating rates when it is imperative to do so as such colo customers need to closely review the service level agreements before committing.