Although references to the cloud have been around for decades, it remains a fuzzy concept for many people, even including some in IT positions. As a consequence, while the technology has grown and has been adopted by many organizations as their primary computing platform, others are still somewhat wary. So, let’s clarify what the term “cloud” means, how cloud computing works and the substantial benefits it delivers to organizations and individuals.
Putting it as simply as possible, the cloud is a metaphor for various types of servers located in data centers that are connected to form a single ecosystem. Employing the cloud enables workforces, via the internet or private networks, to access applications and store and retrieve data critical to running their businesses. Organizations that choose to migrate some or all their applications and data to the cloud do so for a variety of reasons including:
Some of the confusion regarding the cloud is attributable to where, exactly, clouds are located. To be sure, these clouds are not floating in the sky. Rather, the cloud, or actually the numerous clouds including those operated by companies such as (but not limited to) Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IBM, Alibaba and Oracle, run in data centers all over the world.
There are several types of cloud deployment models designed to accommodate the specific requirements of organizations. These include:
Public clouds are shared cloud facilities, owned and managed by companies such as those just mentioned, that can be hosted in one or more data centers and that provide customers with internet (and private or direct) access to a variety of Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) capabilities. While multiple companies access these capabilities simultaneously, they do so by invoking separate instances of these services.
For organizations that are concerned about sharing resources, private clouds comprise servers owned, maintained and controlled exclusively by those organizations. Private clouds provide access to applications and data only to their employees, approved business partners, customers, etc. via the internet or a private network connection. Private clouds can be hosted in an organization’s own data center or in a third-party data center.
Hybrid cloud deployments combine the use of public and private cloud capabilities and characteristics and may also include organizations’ on-premise servers. The combination of these multiple environments provides businesses with the flexibility to put specific workloads where they can be most appropriately and cost-effectively managed.
Multicloud deployments are variations of hybrid clouds in that they involve the use of multiple public clouds and access to specific services from each of those public clouds.
The availability of these various clouds and the assortment of computing capabilities they enable can eliminate or significantly reduce the need for organizations, from start-ups to large enterprises, to purchase equipment and software, hire and train staff to maintain on-premises equipment. Furthermore, it eliminates the need to provide the power, cooling and other infrastructure components necessary to connect people with assets and services.
For users, cloud computing lessens the need to have devices containing large-capacity hard drives to store applications and various types of structured and unstructured data. High density servers capable of handling that data or GPU-driven graphics are expensive and supply chain issues slow down implementation projects. By enabling users to remotely access all the functionality and information they need from devices with the ability to connect to the internet and with minimal operating software, cloud computing can slash the cost and complexity of running IT systems while efficiently supporting the business needs of dozens, hundreds or thousands of users.
CoreSite has made it easier for organizations to leverage the power of the cloud through the numerous services offered in its nationwide network of secure, reliable, high-performance cloud-connected data centers. CoreSite offers organizations a robust digital ecosystem of hundreds of network providers and cloud and IT service providers. Our colocation facilities provide secure, resilient and scalable compute/storage environments complementing on-premises and public cloud IT deployments and eliminating legacy data center build outs and data egress fees. And our unique interconnection capabilities provide extremely low-latency traffic/data exchange among connected parties.
CoreSite’s Open Cloud Exchange® (OCX) has been enabling enterprises, network providers and IT service providers to connect and deliver solutions to our ever-expanding digital ecosystem for nearly a decade. Notably, the OCX features native onramps to major cloud providers including AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud and Alibaba Cloud, enabling customers to:
Take the next step to turning what you have read into quantifiable business advantages. Learn more about how CoreSite can help you optimize your use of cloud computing, starting with this Open Cloud Exchange explainer video.
1. Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Report, Flexera
2. Fortinet 2022 Cloud Security Report, Fortinet
3. The State of Multicloud Management 2022, Virtana Research
4. Five Trends Reveal the Emergence of Cloud-First Enterprises, OpsRamp
5. 25 Cloud Trends for 2021 and Beyond, Accenture
The CoreSite Team
Combining expertise, research and thought leadership to inform and advance hybrid IT.Read more from this author