If you work in the IT industry, you probably have heard one of the following statements:
I store my files in the Cloud.
The application runs on the Cloud.
All of my servers are in the Cloud.
But what is the Cloud?
The Cloud is an IT paradigm that allows on-demand availability of computational resources and data stores without the user's direct active management.
That's it, thank you for reading!
No, no, just kidding. Let's go beyond that definition. Let's imagine that, just as you or me, the application needs a place to live. There are a lot of solutions for housing problems, but we are going to focus on two:
You can build a house. For that, you will need: a land, do the blueprints for the home, hire a bunch of people to work on the construction, wire it up, pipe it up, paint it, work on the finished, and a whole load of other things. Ah, I almost forget, you need to maintain it as well!
The other option is to rent a place. A monthly payment will give you access to an apartment that adjusts to the needs of your application. One of the coolest things is that the apartment has an elastic structure that allows it to expand or shrink its size!
And we are just starting! The applicatentants need to do many chores, for example, washing their clothes, for which some applicatentants take their clothes to an outside laundry, others have their washing center inside their apartments, and some others do not wash their clothes. The landlord started to offer a new service for all of its applicatentants: Washing machine rental! Now the applicatentants can use a washing machine or a dryer machine without leaving the apartment complex or bother about its maintenance. The only thing they should worry about is not to mix white clothes with colored clothes.
But there is more. The apartment complex has controlled access, 24/7 surveillance, and enormous warehouses so applicatentants can store anything they want. The apartment complex also provides a financial advisor, an alert system that applicatentants can configure however they want. There are more apartment complexes worldwide so that the applicatentants can move between them without any significant difficulty! And the landlord adds new services to improve the satisfaction of the applicatentants month by month.
Renting an apartment on the Cloud has more advantages than building your place from the ground.
In conclusion, having your own data center is often complicated. You must keep in mind the place, the servers, the network, the wires, controlled accesses, administration and maintenance, and more tasks that I am not listing here.
Meanwhile, renting a space at someone else's data center tends to be cheaper, scalable, easy to administrate, and integrated with other services offered by the provider.
The most popular cloud providers are:
TL;DR, Cloud Computing is to have virtual servers that you run on-demand on the provider's physical servers; they charge you for the time servers run.