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5 Important Characteristics of Cloud Computing Every Cloud Engineer Should Know

Cloud Computing is a technology that uses computing resources, including hardware and software, offering services over a network. The technology uses networks, applications, services, servers, and storage to provide convenient and on-demand services with minimal service provider interaction and management effort.

In simple terms, cloud computing stores or accesses data or applications over the internet instead of a hard drive.

By using the cloud as a technology, services like software, storage, and infrastructure can be provided. This makes cloud computing more like a business model where the service provider can store and maintain the assets.

Out of the many benefits that the technology offers, the three big reasons that make cloud computing a big deal are:

  • Low on maintenance and management from the user’s point
  • Infinite in size, so never run out of capacity
  • With a device and internet connection, the services can be accessed at any time from anywhere

However, to leverage the best from this business model, both commercially and technologically, it is important to dig deeper and understand the characteristics of cloud computing.

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Why Use Cloud Computing?

In my experience, I’ve witnessed how cloud computing serves as a pivotal asset for companies. Its advantages, such as flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness, are undeniable. The ability to access data and applications from anywhere has not only facilitated seamless collaboration within my teams but has also significantly reduced IT infrastructure expenses.

Moreover, the robust data security measures, automated updates, and disaster recovery capabilities provided by cloud computing have consistently proven to be invaluable. They not only ensure the safety of critical data but also minimize downtime in case of unforeseen disruptions.

As a mid-career professional, I cannot emphasize enough how cloud computing has become an integral part of my business strategy. Its role in optimizing operations, reducing costs, and enhancing overall efficiency is undeniable. Embracing cloud technology is not just an option; it’s a necessity in today’s competitive business landscape.

Characteristics of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is composed of 5 essential characteristics, viz:

  1. On-demand Self Service
  2. Broad Network Access
  3. Resource Pooling
  4. Rapid Elasticity
  5. Measured Service

These 5 characteristics of cloud computing are what make the technology the most buzzing and in-demand technology of today.

Let’s learn about each characteristic in detail.

Read: Cloud Computing Ultimate Guide

On-demand Self Service

Cloud Computing services are available on-demand and do not require much human interaction. The user himself can provision, manage, and monitor the resources as per his requirement. This is done through a web-based self-service management console.

The customer can create the service on his own, like creating a new mailbox or adding additional disk space to a virtual machine, etc.

 For example, for booking a ticket on a travel portal, a passenger gets the flexibility to book his ticket by himself without any human interaction. Right from choosing the flight to preference class, the process is entirely automated and does not require any salesperson in between.

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Broad Network Access

Cloud computing is accessible from a network, generally over the internet. Similarly, private cloud services can be accessed from anywhere within the enterprise. The services are provided over heterogeneous devices such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, office computers, etc.

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The user can access the existing data on a cloud platform or upload new data on the cloud from anywhere using a device and internet connection.

In the above example, the passenger can book his ticket via the internet from any device like a smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc., which has access to a network.

Also Read: Top Cloud Computing Models Explained

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Resource Pooling and Multi-tenancy

Computing resources like networks, servers, storage, applications, and service can be pooled to serve multiple consumers by securely separating the resources on a logical level. This is done using a multi-tenant model, which allows multiple customers to share the same application or physical infrastructure while retaining data security and privacy.

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It is the same as an apartment building where many people share the same building infrastructure but still have the privacy of their apartment.

If we take the same example of the travel portal, the flights can carry several passengers in a single trip. These passengers travel to the same destination, board the same flight, and are allotted separate seats as per the demand and requirement.

Rapid Elasticity and Scalability

Resource capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released to meet immediate requirements. Similarly, they can be removed or scaled-down when not required. In many cases, this can even happen automatically in response to business demands. This makes sure that the application has the capacity it needs at any point in time.

Scalability adds a cost-effectiveness aspect to cloud technology. When the demand or workload is high, more servers can be added for that particular period.

For example, to meet the demand of the increasing number of passengers, an airline can increase the number of flights for a particular time and stop the flights when the demand goes down.

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Measured Service

The utilization of resources is tracked, monitored, controlled, and reported for each occupant. This gives transparency to both the service provider and the consumer. The cloud system has a metering capability, which is leveraged to monitor billing, use of resources, and pay only for what has been used.

When a passenger is traveling by train, he has to pay only for the distance traveled by him and not for the entire journey that the train takes.

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Benefits of Cloud Computing

Drawing from my experience, I can affirm that embracing cloud computing brings about a multitude of advantages that mid-career professionals should be aware of: 

  • Cost Efficiency: Cloud computing significantly reduces upfront hardware and software expenses, making it a financially prudent choice. 
  • Scalability: The ease with which resources can be adjusted to match changing needs is remarkable and has been instrumental in my operations. 
  • Accessibility: It empowers remote work and fosters collaboration from anywhere with an internet connection, enhancing overall productivity. 
  • Data Security: Robust security measures are in place to protect sensitive data, ensuring its integrity and confidentiality. 
  • Automated Updates: Cloud computing handles software and security updates automatically, alleviating the burden of manual maintenance. 
  • Disaster Recovery: I’ve experienced firsthand the reliability of cloud-based backup and recovery options during unexpected disruptions. 
  • Environmental Sustainability: Cloud computing contributes to environmental sustainability by reducing energy consumption and waste compared to traditional data centers. 
  • Business Continuity: It ensures uninterrupted operations, safeguarding against downtime and revenue loss. 
  • Competitive Edge: The ability to deploy new services and applications swiftly has given my business a significant competitive edge. 
  • Flexibility: Cloud technology accommodates various workloads and adapts to diverse business requirements seamlessly. 

Incorporating these benefits into your business strategy can lead to enhanced efficiency, cost savings, and a competitive edge in today’s dynamic professional landscape.  

Drawbacks of Cloud Computing  

Based on my extensive experience, I’d like to shed light on the challenges that mid-career professionals should be prepared for when delving into cloud computing: 

  • Security Concerns: The potential for data breaches and security risks is a critical consideration, necessitating robust protective measures. 
  • Downtime: Reliance on internet connectivity means that downtime can disrupt operations, impacting productivity and efficiency. 
  • Limited Control: Cloud solutions often entail less control over infrastructure and data management, which may not align with specific business needs. 
  • Compliance Challenges: Ensuring that cloud services meet specific regulatory requirements can be a complex undertaking, requiring careful navigation. 
  • Cost Overruns: Unexpected costs can accumulate with increased usage, potentially straining budgets if not monitored diligently. 
  • Data Privacy: Concerns about the location and methods of data storage must be addressed to maintain data privacy and compliance. 
  • Dependence on Service Providers: Relying on third-party providers for service availability means that your business operations are intertwined with their performance. 
  • Data Transfer Costs: Transferring large volumes of data can incur additional fees, which should be factored into cost assessments. 
  • Lack of Customization: The limited ability to tailor infrastructure to unique business needs can present challenges when seeking specific solutions. 
  • Potential Vendor Lock-In: Committing to a cloud provider or platform may pose difficulties when contemplating a change in the future, potentially leading to vendor lock-in. 

Navigating these challenges requires a well-informed approach and strategic planning to ensure that the benefits of cloud computing outweigh the associated risks. 

Summary

Nowadays, almost everything is either running on the cloud, stored on the cloud, or accessed from the cloud, making cloud computing the most in-demand technology in all sectors of the economy and business.

With measurable costs, controlled risks, and flexible usage, cloud computing has become the platform of choice for large applications, enterprise technology development, and data storage.

Our course will teach you the basic and advanced concepts of cloud computing along with the applications of these concepts. You will learn from industry experts through videos, live lectures, and assignments. Moreover, you’ll get access to upGrad’s exclusive career preparation, resume feedback, and many other advantages. Be sure to check it out.

1. How do updates on the cloud work?

With the help of the cloud, updates become very easy. Essentially for gamers who already use the cloud for their updates. The cloud provider usually takes care of the update and implements it. This saves them the time to come all the way to your business and install it. All they need to do is, attach the patch online. This will help the company reap benefits directly regardless of your presence. With this approach, more jobs will be created. Cloud operation constitutes many services, and patch management is one of them. As important as it is updating your physical workplace, the same is needed to update the cloud. Application performance monitoring is another sector where cloud experts are needed to ensure the smooth execution of updates. Additionally, compliance monitoring is another cloud computing sector that needs attention in terms of frequent and flawless updates.

2. How do humans contribute to cloud security breaches?

Cloud security concerns are raising concerns now and then. Some of these genuine concerns have drawn attention to themselves, but there is nothing that can’t be resolved. The cloud isn’t always responsible for cloud breaches. For cybercriminals, the cloud offers opportunities. However, these risks can be abandoned if employees are trained well enough about security breaches. Employees should never lay their personal information out, nor should they click on any foreign or strange links. Technology might be creating wonders, but these attacks have remained the same. Cybercriminals use social engineering to hijack business security. Therefore, it is best to call out your business professionals and train them about cybersecurity risks.

3. Is the cloud a safe place to store personal information?

The recent years have witnessed numerous profile hacks relating to personal information. Cloud providers are taking every possible measure to set up and establish security information to amp up the security game pertaining to users’ personal information. However, if your cloud provider holds a recognition such as HIPAA and PCI-DSS, they carry the green signal to host your personal information.

How do updates on the cloud work?

With the help of the cloud, updates become very easy. Essentially for gamers who already use the cloud for their updates. The cloud provider usually takes care of the update and implements it. This saves them the time to come all the way to your business and install it. All they need to do is, attach the patch online. This will help the company reap benefits directly regardless of your presence. With this approach, more jobs will be created. Cloud operation constitutes many services, and patch management is one of them. As important as it is updating your physical workplace, the same is needed to update the cloud. Application performance monitoring is another sector where cloud experts are needed to ensure the smooth execution of updates. Additionally, compliance monitoring is another cloud computing sector that needs attention in terms of frequent and flawless updates.

How do humans contribute to cloud security breaches?

Cloud security concerns are raising concerns now and then. Some of these genuine concerns have drawn attention to themselves, but there is nothing that can’t be resolved. The cloud isn’t always responsible for cloud breaches. For cybercriminals, the cloud offers opportunities. However, these risks can be abandoned if employees are trained well enough about security breaches. Employees should never lay their personal information out, nor should they click on any foreign or strange links. Technology might be creating wonders, but these attacks have remained the same. Cybercriminals use social engineering to hijack business security. Therefore, it is best to call out your business professionals and train them about cybersecurity risks.

Is the cloud a safe place to store personal information?

The recent years have witnessed numerous profile hacks relating to personal information. Cloud providers are taking every possible measure to set up and establish security information to amp up the security game pertaining to users’ personal information. However, if your cloud provider holds a recognition such as HIPAA and PCI-DSS, they carry the green signal to host your personal information.

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