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Understanding Different Types of Cloud Computing for Students

There are many different types of cloud computing used by companies around the world. In this article, we aim to explain the most commonly used types of cloud computing and cloud services to students. The infrastructure provided by a cloud provider, applications for cloud servicing, how platform as a service works and which is the best cloud provider are some of the things that we will cover in this article.

Types Of Clouds Service

Public Infrastructure Cloud Service

public cloud

Public cloud service is a huge array of already available resources like networking, memory, CPU, and storage. The public cloud vendor hosts these resources in one of their data centers. The data center supports global distribution and complete management facilities. These resources can be rented out for building an IT infrastructure.

Along with these resources, the customer also gets other services such as database servers, applications, and security systems. The services are available for rent if one does not wish to set up the whole solution from scratch or to manage it. Some of the top providers or vendors of public clouds are applications like Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services (including Amazon SimpleDB) and Microsoft Azure. There are many others in the market apart from these.

Moreover, using a public cloud is very easy and does not require a lot of technical knowledge. Hence, this is perfect even for non-technical users. This is also probably why it is used by companies and individuals in large numbers.

To explain this in the layman language, when you use public clouds, you are saving your data in a third party’s data center on their servers. The same servers are also in use by other people or companies for hosting the data of their applications.

The cloud service gives the platform, the infrastructure and also maintains the technological infrastructure that you or your business can rent for a fixed amount. The rent may or may not include the following, depending on which vendor you are opting for:

  • Storage
  • Platforms
  • Software
  • A combination of any of the three or all of them

In the case of the public cloud, your vendor or provider will take care of all the updates, maintenance or upgrades. All you need to do is access the services online as per your requirements.

Using a public cloud is a major cost-saving factor for many companies that are just starting out. It saves up the cost of setting up a data center and servers, as well as the cost of extra resources that you might need to employ for maintaining that data center. It also functions on a pay-as-you-go basis, which means that you do not need to make a huge investment in this and you can make the payment on the basis of the services and storage that you use.

This option also allows for virtually limitless scaling without having to spend any extra amount on new equipment. All you need to do is click on a few buttons and pay a few extra bucks. So while the cost of new equipment might run in thousands of dollars, extra storage in a public cloud will cost you almost a negligible amount.

Some companies feel that there is a drawback to using public clouds' service providers. According to them, the public cloud is not secure enough. Although stored in a separate section, they believe that since their data is stored in a third party center using the same servers as others, it makes it more prone to attacks and hacking.

However, there is a lot of intense and almost military-grade security for these servers by the vendor companies. The security factors ensure protection against various natural disasters, cybercrime, and other potential risks. This level of security will not be possible for a small or medium business that has their own private clouds.

Yes, private cloud is another type of cloud computing, let us take a look at it below.

Private Clouds

private cloud

While public clouds are owned by vendors and given on rent to various smaller businesses, private clouds are wholly owned by single private businesses or organizations. The business usually keeps the servers at its own data center and uses its own hardware.

However, at times, a business employs a third-party provider or vendor to host their cloud on their data center. In such cases, there are some similarities to a public cloud service as the resources are in a remote data center. But although these vendors provide administrative services, their capabilities are limited and they don’t provide their services to a vast majority of the public.

Private cloud includes both of these companies that host their own cloud infrastructure or those who pay for dedicated servers at data centers for storing their data.

Since the company is not sharing the server, the biggest advantage is the additional security. No other companies will have access to the servers with your data.

Along with benefits, there are also drawbacks and the biggest one is that there is a lot of investment in setting up a private cloud. Plus the cost of maintenance and other services keeps adding up.

The model and the investment is worth it if your company has a lot of sensitive data. More so if you need to adhere to regulations like HIPAA or PCI compliance. It is also good for any enterprise-level company with a need for large storage.

Private clouds tend to have firewall protection. Only a single organization uses a private cloud. It is the preferred solution by businesses that have tight regulatory requirements. For accessing the data from a private cloud, one needs to be an authorized user. Once you have the authority, you are free to access the information from anywhere just like one would in a public cloud.

There is additional access control in a private cloud and this makes it easy to restrict access to sensitive data. As the company itself handles the management of the data center, there is no risk of sudden modifications that will interrupt or disrupt the company’s workflow.

A public cloud is sometimes affected by the service provider’s downtime but a private computing cloud will not face the same issue. Of course, there are other cons when it comes to a private cloud. One thing you will lack in a private cloud is the versatility and scalability of a public cloud. To get more storage, you will need to add more physical compute and storage capacity, making it difficult to quickly scale operations as per the business needs.

There is one more type of cloud that has properties of both the public as well as the private cloud. Let us understand the hybrid cloud in detail.

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud

A combination of both the public and private cloud, the hybrid cloud has various elements from both the cloud computing types. The cloud elements in the hybrid cloud have a secure connection over the internet by VPN or a dedicated channel.

There is almost an unlimited storage capacity that your company gets to use - this element is clearly from the public cloud. Meanwhile, you will be able to extend your computer network to the cloud and thus save any expenses of having to buy additional permanent hardware.

This mixture of public and private clouds needs to have synchronization and orchestration between the platforms according to a company’s needs. More and more companies are adopting the hybrid cloud strategy every year.

With hybrid cloud computing, a company is able to keep sensitive data on their private server and runs programs or software on a public cloud provider. The specifications of this strategy vary as per the requirements of each company.

The latest development in hybrid cloud computing is multi-cloud. It is an IT strategy through which companies get cloud services from a combination of many public and private clouding providers. This essentially brings together various different software and services from different cloud providers as per the requirement.

But this multi-cloud strategy poses a problem with the management. How? When a company chooses to engage with more cloud services, it will become difficult to manage them all efficiently.

Hybrid clouds are a combination of public and private clouds. They are designed in such a way that allows the 2 platforms to interact with each other seamlessly, with data and applications moving from one to the other.

The major advantage of hybrid cloud computing is the ability to provide the scalable power of a public cloud with the security of a private cloud. You can store data behind firewall and encryption protocol of any private cloud and then move it to a public cloud whenever needed. It is rather helpful in the age of big data since industries like healthcare need to adhere to strict data privacy regulations. Moreover, they also need to make use of strong AI capabilities for getting actionable analytics from data.

Commonly, companies use 2 types of hybrid clouds. Cloud-bursting is a type that uses private clouds for the primary cloud by storing data and applications in a secure and stable environment. But with the increase in the demand for services, the private cloud might not be up to the mark. With better scaling opportunities, the public cloud computer is a better option for enterprise-level companies. In the cloud-bursting model, they use the public cloud’s computing resources to supplement the private cloud. This allows the company to handle an increased traffic without the need to purchase any new servers or additional infrastructure.

The second type of hybrid cloud computing model runs most applications and stores data in a private computing environment. Companies often deploy multi-cloud architecture, with the help of various cloud service providers so that they are able to meet a variety of organizational requirements.

Types of cloud computing services


All cloud computing services are based on the same concept of remote infrastructure housing a data center. Cloud computing is more like a pyramid with three layers. Each layer is better than the one below it. Let us take a look at all 3 types of cloud computing services.

1 Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is the most flexible and comprehensive types of cloud services that provides the infrastructure for your applications and clouding in computer.

2 Platform as a service (PaaS)

The second layer of the pyramid, platform as a service (PaaS) provides the framework needed to build, test and launch your own product applications through their infrastructure.

3 Software as a service (SaaS)

With the cloud serving of the software as a service (SaaS) model being the most commonly used cloud computing services, SaaS is a complete software solution. It manages the infrastructure for your applications, offers cloud computing and has middle-ware and data that is necessary for applications computing.

FAQs for Cloud Computing

01. Who owns the cloud?

Answer: The cloud is nothing but a collection of servers and owned by some of the world's largest corporations. This means that, as a consumer, our data is stored on computers that we do not own. Microsoft, Amazon and Apple are some of the top companies that have made investments for the security of our data.

02. Is cloud computing easy?

Answer: Cloud computing is very simple to understand as a concept. Instead of storing data on your own computer, you store data in the cloud and process it there as well. You can access this data via the Internet easily.

03. What is the future of cloud computing?

Answer: The future of cloud computing includes best of breed infrastructure, encryption, authentication, network segmentation, data integrity, and data management.

04. What are the 3 layers of cloud computing?

Answer: Cloud computing is like an onion. It has 3 main layers namely SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. These layers work together to provide basis of cloud computing to the users. IaaS is the foundation level, PaaS is the middle level and SaaS is the topmost level that includes both of them.

Which is the best?

As always, the question comes down to which is the best cloud computing service for your business. We have provided all the information that was necessary for you to understand this sector and the types of clouds. We have also talked about the type of infrastructure that one gets when opting for a certain type of computing service. Now, it falls down on you to decide which one is the best one for saving your data and launching your applications.

If you are running a small or medium-sized business, or you are just starting out, then there is no immediate need for you to invest a large amount of your capital in the private clouding. You might need to do so, however, if you are dealing with fairly sensitive data of the public.

In the same way, you should opt for the private clouding if your company is on the enterprise level and you need additional security for your business's data and information.

If you are confused between the two, then, of course, there is the third option for your company or organization - the hybrid cloud. You may opt for it if you need both the security as well the flexibility of public computing service. This will get you the best of both worlds and fulfill your company's needs without any hassles.

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