Basics of Cloud Computing: All You Need to Know

Updated: Oct 16, 2021

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

  2. What is Cloud Computing?

  3. Characteristics of Cloud Computing

  4. Understanding Cloud Computing in accordance with its characteristic features

  5. Types of Cloud Services

  6. Some Common Cloud Service Providers

  7. Types of Cloud Computing Services

  8. Types of Cloud Computing

  9. Difference between Private, Public and Hybrid Cloud

  10. Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

  11. Key Takeaways


As a metaphor for the Internet, “The Cloud” is a familiar idea which is made up of servers and a combination of networks, storage, services, hardware that help various companies and organizations to save their money and convenience for users. But when “The Cloud” is combined with “Computing”, the meaning gets much bigger and fuzzier.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing refers to the ‘servers’ that are accessed over the Internet present at remote location. We do not need to worry for where our servers are, as we could access it from anywhere and at anytime. The amount of services we use is only the amount of money we pay.

Characteristics of Cloud Computing

Besides the above statements, cloud computing exhibits the following key characteristic features:

  • On demand Self-service - It means that a consumer can request and receive access to a service efficiently without an administrator (3rd person) or some sort of support staff having to fulfill the request.

  • Broad Network Access - The services can be accessed from any location (using any type of device), i.e., anytime and anywhere access.

  • Resource Pooling - It means that the resource can be storage, memory, bandwidth, virtual machine, etc. It can be any service which can be consumed by cloud users. Primarily, Resource Pooling means that multiple customers are serviced from the same physical resource.

  • Measured Services – It is the payment of resources according to the services we use.

  • Rapid Elasticity and Scalability - It is one of the biggest characteristics of Cloud Computing. Scalability is the ability to handle the increasing workload by increasing the proportion amount of resource capacity. By the use of scalability, the architecture provides on-demand resources if the traffic is raising the requirement. Whereas, Elasticity is the ability to provide concept of placing an order for or deactivating a large amount of resource capacity dynamically.

  • No maintenance/Easy Maintenance – It is easy to maintain a cloud environment because the data is hosted on an outside server maintained by providers without a need to invest on infrastructure.

  • Security - It means that a copy of our data is always available on various servers. If one fails, data is safe on the others.

Understanding Cloud Computing in accordance with its characteristic features

Basically, in simple terms,

Cloud Computing means storing, managing, processing and accessing the data and program on the remote servers that are hosted on Internet instead of Computer’s hard drive.


Cloud Computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources (especially data storage/cloud storage) without direct active management by the user. Evidently, cloud computing is being called an on-demand availability because of its service efficiency which is as per customer’s request and without any involvement of an administrator (3rd person) or some sort of support staff having to fulfill the request.

Types of Cloud Services

Regardless of the kind of services, cloud computing services provide users with a series of functions including:

  • Storage, backup, and data retrieval

  • Email

  • Analyzing data

  • Audio and Video Streaming

  • Delivering Software on demand

  • Creating and testing apps

Some Common Cloud Service Providers

There are various Cloud Service Providers, from which some of them are:

  • Microsoft Azure

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)

  • Google Cloud

  • IBM Cloud

  • Alibaba Cloud

  • Oracle Corporation

  • VMware

  • Rack Space

  • Navi Site

  • Sales force

And many more…

They offer a wide range of services such as data storage, networking, processing power, etc. The cloud service provider is a third party company offering a cloud-based platform, infrastructure, application or storage services. The main goal of these service providers is to allow the users to take benefit from all these technologies, without the need of deep knowledge about or expertise with each one of them. The cloud aims to cut costs and helps the users focus on their core business instead of being impeded by IT obstacles.

Types of Cloud Computing Services

The three main types of cloud computing services include:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – It typically provides access to networking, physical and virtual computers, and data storage. It gives us the highest level flexibility and management control over IT resources.

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – It removes the need to manage primary infrastructure (hardware and software), and allows us to focus on the management of our applications.

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) - It provides us with complete product that is managed by the cloud service providers. The providers take complete care of back-end concerns such as security, infrastructure, and data integration so users can focus on building and hosting at lower costs.

Types of Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing has become a common term over the last decade. So it has become an essential thing to have knowledge about the way a cloud platform is implemented, how it’s hosted, and who can access it. All of the cloud computing is operated on the same principle by providing processing and storage capabilities. All the types of Cloud Computing are:

  • Public Cloud, which means all the third-party applications that can be used by anybody who wants to access them. The services may be free or be sold as per user’s request. For example Google, Amazon, etc.

  • Private Cloud, which provides computing services to a private internal network (within the organization) and selected users instead of the general public. This is best for business companies with unpredictable needs (security and governance which is best suited to the company) which can be accessed by the people of that particular company only. HP Data Centers, Microsoft, and Ubuntu are the example of a private cloud.

  • Hybrid Cloud, which is a combination of public and private clouds. It includes the features and functionalities of both clouds. It allows organizations to create their cloud and allow them to give control over someone. For example Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud Platform with an internal private cloud.

  • Community Cloud, which is a collaborative effort in which infrastructure is shared between several organizations from a specific community with common jobs. A good example is the U.S. – based dedicated IBM SoftLayer cloud for federal agencies.

Difference between Private, Public and Hybrid Cloud

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing


  • Resources accessible anywhere, anytime.

  • On-demand self service. No third party people in between.

  • Reduced IT cost (we need not to purchase hardware).

  • Easy to maintain.

  • Scalability and Elasticity (ability to increase or decrease IT resources as needed to meet changing demand).

  • Offers security (recovery from failures as data is stored at many places).

  • Location and device independence (Accessing resources anytime and anywhere).

  • Time Saving (there’s no need to update the software, or maintain the hardware).


  • Network connection dependency (Internet is must for accessing cloud computing).

  • Data leakage (Data maybe leaked to some third party people).

  • Technology vulnerabilities (data centers going out of service for maintenance).

  • Privacy concerns (sensitive data may not be encrypted).

Key Takeaways

  • Cloud computing refers to storing, managing, processing and accessing of data on remote servers.

  • On-demand services, Broad Network Access, Elasticity and Scalability are one the most important characteristics and advantages of Cloud computing which makes it more efficient for our users.

  • Users pay as per the resources that are being used by them for a fixed amount of time.

  • There are 4 main types of cloud computing: public clouds, private clouds, hybrid clouds and community clouds.

  • Cloud computing can be broken up into three main services: Software as a service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and Platform as a service (PaaS).

About Author

This blog is written by Anushka Jain. She is pursuing BCA and have a strong interest in arts, painting and writing the blogs.

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