What is Cloud Computing? Definition, Properties, Advantages

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What is Cloud Computing?

The term “cloud computing” is a recent buzzword in the IT world. Behind this fancy poetic phrase there lies a true picture of the future of computing for both in technical perspective and social perspective.

Our Cloud Computing Tutorial is designed for beginner to professional who wants to learn basic and advance concept of cloud computing.

Cloud Computing Definition

Cloud Computing Definition: Cloud Computing refers to configuring, manipulating, and accessing the software resources and hardware remotely. It offers online data storage, infrastructure, and application.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing is the means of delivering all IT service from computer applications, software, business processes, messaging and collaborations to end-users as a service whenever and whatever they needed it.

Cloud computing is a paradigm for delivering IT where rapid provisioning is an important characteristic for computing resources, data applications and IT.

Cloud Computing Definition: The main principle behind the cloud computing model is offering computing, storage, and software “as a service

Cloud Computing helps us to face challenges such as:

  • Decreasing the capital expense and operating expense
  • Enhancing service quality
  • Maintaining the desired and the right level of security, compliances, regulations and policies across the different function of enterprises.
  • Rapid provisioning, agility and business transparency for consistency self-service delivery

Thus, Cloud Computing is a service and deployment model using a large resource pool based provisioning of a virtual or physical resource in a service model using the internet (public cloud) or internet (private cloud).

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Cloud Computing Properties

Cloud computing properties are mentioned below:

User centric

This means once a user is connected to cloud any data such as image, videos, the application became his property.

Task centric

Cloud Computing focus on what one needs and how an application can do it. Here documents are given more priority than the applications which create them.


In self-healing, backup are available for every document in the cloud. Hence, if one document crashes there will be its duplicate ready to run.

Multi-tenancy and intelligence

Multi-tenancy refers to the sharing of data and cost across the large pool of users. As various data are stored in the cloud, data mining and analysis are necessary for accessing information in an intelligent manner.


Many processes in cloud computing shall be automated such as backing up cache data with its duplicate. Hence, programming is associated with cloud computing.


Flexible as a user may be different varieties and hence it has to match with their needs.

What is Cloud?

Cloud Definition: Cloud is an extension of the internet with some level of inherent discipline and ethics. Cloud can be thought of unification of Information Technology with business intelligence

Cloud Computing Characteristics

Some of the cloud computing characteristics are briefly explained below:

  1. Self-service on demand: users are privileged to request and provisioning capabilities bundled with service.

  2. Network Access: User and server computing devices can be accessed over the network even using mobile, tablets etc.

  3. Resource Pooling: It refers to the pooling of resources across multiple datacentres.

  4. Rapid Elasticity: It makes the system automatic and can provide reliable service.

Let’s go ahead in Cloud Computing Tutorial and see what are the cloud computing advantages and disadvantages.

Cloud Computing Advantages

Some of the cloud computing advantages are briefly explained below:


It helps us to save capital cost as it does not need any physical hardware investment.

Strategic edge

Cloud Computing help us to access the latest applications anytime without spending a time and money on installations.


Cloud Computing allows us to deploy a service quickly in clicks.


Cloud Computing we can always get instant updated about the changes.


employees who are working on the premises or at the remote location can easily access all the cloud services.

Unlimited storage capacity

Cloud Computing offers limitless storage capacity.

Cloud Computing Disadvantages

Some of the cloud computing disadvantages are briefly explained below:

Performance can vary

when we are working in a cloud environment or application is running on the server which simultaneously provides services to other businesses that can affect the performance of our shared resource.

Technical issue

Cloud Computing technology is always prone to outrage and other technical issues.

Security threat

Cloud server can be accessed by hackers while sharing cloud with the third party.

Internet connectivity

Good internet connection is required for cloud computing.

Lack of support

Cloud Computing companies fail to provide proper support to the customers

A Vision of Cloud Computing

The vision of cloud computing is mentioned below:

  1. Cloud Computing provides the facility to provision virtual hardware, runtime environment and services to a person.

  2. These all things can be used as long as they are needed by the user.

  3. The whole collection of a computing system is transformed into a collection of utilities, which can be provisioned and composed together to deploy systems in our later right then days with no maintenance costs.

  4. The long term vision of cloud computing is that IT services are traded as a utility in an open market without technological and legal barrier.

  5. In the future, we can imagine that it will be possible to find the solution that matches with are requirements by simply and bring a request in a global digital market that traits with Cloud Computing services.
  6. The existence of such a market will enable the automation of discovery processes and its integration into its existing software systems.

  7. Due to the existence of a global platform for trading cloud services will also help service provider to potentially increase their revenue.

  8. Cloud provider can also become a consumer of competition service in order to fulfil its promises to the customer.

In this Cloud Computing Tutorial, you have learned the basics topics of cloud computing which is developed for beginners and professionals.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing enables computing infrastructure and services to be available over the Internet. This provides many benefits to organizations, such as scalability, measured use, reduced setup time, and many others. Cloud infrastructure may be private, public, hybrid, or community.

Cloud services are provided as an infrastructure (IaaS), a platform (PaaS), or as software (SaaS). Migration to cloud services entails challenges and opportunities. Cloud services are built on technologies such as Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Containers. The economic rationale for moving to cloud services includes avoiding capital expenses and purchasing capacity on an incremental basis.

Internet-of-Things (IoT) consists of a large number of sensors and actuators connected via the Internet to sense and respond to their environment. IoT systems are used extensively in industrial operations, healthcare, homes, and personal devices, amongst many others. Managing IoT requires dealing with massive volumes and a variety of data. Designers rely on a four-layer framework to configure and manage IoT.

Types of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing can be best understood by contrasting it with traditional organizational computing or hosted computing. Consider which depicts a typical, traditional computing infrastructure in an organization. The organization has some servers (perhaps a web server, a database server, an application server, or a storage server) and some client devices (such as laptops, desktops, tablets, or smartphones) that run applications hosted on the servers.

An organization such as this would also be connected to the Internet, from which it can access web services such as search, email, news articles, and so on. The organization would have to maintain this infrastructure by acquiring and maintaining the servers and the software that they use.

Now consider which depicts an organization that is accessing servers from a provider on the Internet. The different servers (application, database, storage, etc.) are now available via the Internet and the organization uses client devices and an Internet connection to access these facilities. The servers are said to be on the Cloud. The organization does have to acquire or maintain these servers, as they are maintained by the cloud provider, and instead can focus on using them on a leased or rental basis.

The lead case on IDOS showed how the firm relied on cloud computing to offer its services to its clients. The clients accessed IDOS’s products via the Internet by simply logging on to the system. IDOS maintained all the hardware and software, doing the upgrades and customizations for their customers, transparently and without the direct involvement of their clients.

There are several differences in how computing infrastructure is both managed and accessed in the two scenarios presented. These differences are what distinguish traditional hosted computing from cloud computing, and point to the advantages that cloud computing has. These differences are elaborated on below.

Advantages and Features of Cloud Computing

Hosted facilities have a certain scale or capacity. For instance, typical computing facilities will be designed for a certain number of users (employees of the organization or customers) or for a certain volume of processing (number of transactions to be completed per day or per hour). When these numbers change significantly – say when a firm experiences strong demand for its product and has to deal with a large number of customers – the organization can scale up its facilities by buying new servers, adding more network capacity, and buying more licenses for the software packages it uses.

This takes time and careful management, and is prone to delays and cost escalation. The word scalability in this context refers to the ability of the IT infrastructure to address the needs of the increased demand.

When facilities are accessed from the cloud, scalability improves considerably. The client firm can acquire increases in infrastructure resources from the cloud provider and these can be provisioned rapidly. In many cases, the provider can make available increased resources in a real-time manner, based on the rate at which the demand is growing.

The main advantage for the client firm is that they do not have to acquire, install and configure additional IT resources, and avoid the risk of delays. In this sense, cloud-based infrastructure is more scalable than hosted infrastructure. This is evident in the IDOS case, where IDOS provides a scalable infrastructure to its clients, where they can start with only a few accounts but can increase according to their needs and as their business grows.


A concept related to scalability is elasticity. Elasticity refers to the ability of the infrastructure services to both expand and contract depending upon the demand. In a hosted facility, components that are acquired become assets and are permanently available for use. If not used, the capacity utilization of these assets declines. However, in situations where demand declines, or the firm entirely drops a line of business, to explore another, utilization of such assets may decline.

A cloud-based infrastructure permits a reduction in resources, where specific resource parameters, such as the amount of CPU processing available, the amount of storage, and the number of licenses for software can be reduced as demand declines. This usually involves informing the cloud provider about the reduced requirements and switching them off.

Measured Use

Measurement of the use of IT infrastructure services remains a challenge. Hosted services are typically assembled with components acquired from many vendors and may belong to different manufacturers and brands. When in use it is difficult to monitor their usage comprehensively and ascertain exactly how much each asset is being used.

Cloud services, on the other hand, are measured accurately and their design includes meticulous and thorough measurement of all services. A cloud provider can provide detailed reports to clients about the extent of use of resources along parameters such as the CPU utilization in cycles per unit time, the memory usage in unit time, the data usage for read or write in bits per unit time, and so on. These measures provide a very accurate picture to the management about the extent of use or under-utilization of resources. These parameters help with determining whether scaling up or down is required.

Usage-based Pricing

Related to the facilities of scalability and measured use is the facility of usage-based pricing. Cloud services are priced in different ways, including several users, the number of resources used, and the amount of storage used, amongst others. The main issue is that the price can be set according to the usage and needs of the client.

When hosted infrastructure is used, the cost is based on the capital expenses required to build the infrastructure. The expenses are usually incurred over some time, possibly years, and they are usually depreciated over usage. The final cost of using the infrastructure is therefore difficult to estimate and is an approximate amount that is allocated as an overhead to different departments that use them.

Cloud-based infrastructure permits direct measurement of costs owing to the usage-based pricing models. Individual users or entire departments can know quite accurately how much computing resources they have consumed and how much they have been billed for the same. They can, thus, have an accurate estimate of the costs of computing they have incurred.

Managed Services

A key issue with a hosted infrastructure is that it has to be managed by the organization that has invested in the assets. The organization has to hire systems personnel who design, install and manage the infrastructure. Even if the services are outsourced to a vendor, the organization has to maintain a set of personnel who oversee and manage the vendor.

The situation changes significantly with cloud-based infrastructure, as the entire responsibility of building, maintaining, and upgrading the systems is with the provider and is transparent to the client. Cloud providers upgrade hardware and software on their facilities, without involving their clients.

Clients then have access to the latest and upgraded facilities without having to build them themselves. IDOS, for example, maintains the hardware, software, and networking services that it provides to its customers; the customers do not worry about fixing bugs, upgrading, or maintaining this infrastructure, which saves them the overhead costs and effort associated with the maintenance tasks.

Service Levels

Service levels specify the quality of the facilities available to users. Service levels may specify, for instance, the duration of time an infrastructure service has to be available without interruption or the speed or response level of a service over some time. Hosted infrastructure is set up with certain service levels, as determined by the current and forecasted demand on the system. Once installed, these levels are difficult to change or modify, as this would require changing infrastructure components or tweaking their performance levels.

On cloud infrastructure, service levels can be specified and changed as required. This property is related to the scalability and elasticity of cloud facilities. When higher service levels are required, providers can provision this, usually at a higher price. When service levels do not have to be very high, these can be reduced, with consequent lower prices for services.

Ubiquitous Access

One of the significant advantages of cloud computing is ‘anytime-anywhere’ access. Since the facilities are located on servers accessible through the web, they can be accessed by clients from anywhere, either within or outside the campus of the client’s organization.

Typically, large cloud providers set up servers across many geographic locations to address the issues of latency, or delay, that may appear in web access. If employees of an organization are traveling in different countries, they can access their IT services through their web browser wherever they have an Internet connection.

When infrastructure is hosted within the premises of an organization, it is difficult to access these services from outside for several reasons – the organization may not have created facilities for outside access, for security reasons; the servers may not be capable of being accessed from anywhere on the globe owing to their specific location; and the organization may not have the bandwidth required to enable outside access to its servers from anywhere. These challenges are overcome by using cloud computing.

For example, IDOS’s business model was based on the property of ubiquitous access, where their product could be accessed from anywhere in the world, wherever their clients needed it. Also, this property let them offer their product in many different countries, with the provision that their users could access it from anywhere also.


For many large organizations, their hosted infrastructure was usually built up over time, with additions being made as the need arose and also as capital was available. This invariably resulted in many different components of the infrastructure that were based on different software and hardware – with varying operating systems, databases, memory components, CPUs, and CPU racks. Such infrastructures are referred to as heterogeneous systems, owing to their having a wide variety of components.

Heterogeneous systems are difficult to manage as they need a variety of different components and different standards by which they can be upgraded or maintained. Often, the required upgrades or replacement parts are not available as the firm that made them may have stopped doing so. Cloud infrastructure overcomes the problem of heterogeneity and upgradation problems for client organizations as they do not have to manage their infrastructure – they rely on the cloud provider to do the needful.

Cloud-based infrastructure can also be heterogeneous, though, with different operating systems and different types of hardware used to do the computing. However, the main advantage of cloud services is that heterogeneous systems can be managed easily. Through the method of virtualization, the disparate components can be viewed and managed through a single interface. Different components can be grown or enhanced according to the need of the cloud provider.

Reduced Setup Time

For hosted infrastructure, the time to set up a server or a network is significant, as it requires purchasing and installing physical components. Purchasing expensive hardware in many organizations often takes a long time as it requires floating request-for-proposals, evaluating bids, selecting vendors, and then going through with the payment and purchase. Installation too may take a lot of time if civil works, that is, construction of rooms or facilities, is involved. Cloud services overcome all this, as there is no need to purchase hardware or do civil work. Cloud services are obtained over the Internet and a good Internet connection is all that is required.

For example, obtaining an account from a cloud product provider, such as IDOS, takes very little time as only client software has to be downloaded on a local computer and an account has to be created. This reduced setup time is a very valuable feature for firms that are starting up their business and need to act quickly to get their computing services functioning and ready. Cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure, or Amazon Web Services, have made it very easy to set up a cloud service, within minutes in some cases, and start using it.

Resource Pooling

One of the key features of cloud infrastructures is resource pooling or sharing of computing resources. The idea is that a cloud infrastructure is created with hundred, possibly thousands, of CPUs and memory devices that are linked together. Using virtualization, and other methods, it is possible to provide only a tiny slice of computing resources to any one client, and similarly to other clients.

The idea of pooling is that the slice of computing resources is not permanently dedicated to the client and can be made available, on-demand, to other users when the client is not using the resource to its maximum capacity. For example, if IDOS provides 4 GB of memory to a particular client, and the client is using only 10% of it at any time, the IDOS’s servers can provide the spare memory to another client that needs it, temporarily. Resources of the services are thus seen to be in a pool that can be provided to clients as needed.

Challenges of Cloud Computing And IoT

Cloud computing and IoT present immense opportunities for innovation in products and services. However, they also present challenges for the manager. Some of these management challenges are highlighted below:


Since its inception, cloud computing has always been questioned about security. Those adopting cloud services were doubtful about the security of their organizational and personal data being hosted on servers, not within their control. Cloud service providers assured their clients of security, and also drew up contracts and warranties to assuring the protection of their data. As cloud services grew and the market matured, security practices also matured and the risk for clients also reduced.

For IoT, too, security is a concern. IoT devices and gateways remain points of entry, if unprotected, for malicious software to be inserted into the organization. There are instances where IoT devices have been compromised to disrupt industrial processes for competitive reasons and also as acts of warfare. In some cases, monitoring IoT devices is undertaken as a form of industrial espionage. Managers of IoT systems have to ensure that devices at the device and network layers remain secure.


Privacy and surveillance are the other issues that have grown with the use of cloud computing and IoT. Devices that monitor individual parameters, for healthcare or fitness, invariably store data on cloud servers. This data is mined for insights on how the product and services can be enhanced and for the design of new products. Privacy becomes an issue in such cases where explicit consent has not been sought for such analysis, and also where the data is used for purposes beyond what was specified in contracts with users.

Privacy and surveillance issues also crop up in industrial IoT where worker performance is monitored along with machine performance. Managers will have access to a host of data on minute aspects of work that may violate applicable privacy laws. The challenge for managers is to ensure transparency and inform both employees and clients about potential privacy breaches and the possibility of surveillance. Contractual obligations regarding data protection have to be maintained also.

Internet Access

A major concern for many areas and regions is access to the Internet. This is especially true for developing countries, like India, where, outside of urban areas, Internet access through wired or wireless means is unreliable. This presents a severe challenge for cloud-based services and for the continued functioning of IoT systems that are installed in these regions. Managers have to ensure reliable connectivity through redundant access and backup systems.

Types of Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud services are offered over different types of infrastructure:

Private Cloud

A private cloud is a cloud infrastructure that is created for a single client. This client is usually one organization that wants the cloud infrastructure for its private use, while at the same time being able to draw on the facilities of a cloud. Such a cloud infrastructure may be built on the physical premises of the client; in fact, the client may own the entire infrastructure. In such a situation, the cloud is no different from a classic hosted setup of servers.

Typically, a private cloud will consist of servers that are rendered as a cloud through virtualization software. When connected to the organization through a network infrastructure the cloud is available to all users. Such a cloud can be built with commodity hardware at a low cost.

The drawback in such a private cloud is that the organization has to both build and maintain the cloud, thus losing the facility of having someone else manage and upgrade the infrastructure. The advantage is that of security: since only one organization is using the cloud and the physical server racks are also present on the premises of the organization, it can ensure that access and data are secured.

A private cloud can also be hosted at a remote site. Here the client .organisation can employ a cloud provider that creates the cloud infrastructure for the client and also maintains it. Security can be assured by the provider by physically separating the servers and dedicating them for use only by the client.

Sometimes the provider may keep the client’s servers in a separate cage or cell in a server farm, with its Internet cables and its power backup facilities. This arrangement has the advantage for the client of having a private cloud that can be adequately secured, and also not have to manage it.

Though advantageous in terms of security, a private cloud also lacks some of the core advantages of cloud facilities in general. A private cloud does not permit sharing or pooling of resources, which limits the scale and on-demand advantages of cloud infrastructure.

Public Cloud

A public cloud is a truly shared facility that allows multiple clients to use the resources provided. A typical public cloud infrastructure is created by a provider who sets up a large infrastructure of connected servers that runs virtualization software. Different clients are then given space, computing power, and bandwidth according to their needs, although there is no specific hardware specifically assigned to any particular client. In this sense, a public cloud is the closest to the definition of a cloud infrastructure.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform are all examples of public cloud services. Each provider enables several services and cloud products that are made available to users, with different pricing and features.

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud is a combination of private and public cloud options. It was created to manage the problem of cloud ‘bursts’ with private clouds. When a private cloud runs out of computing capacity, for instance, it runs out of memory or computing power, this is known as a ‘burst’, and memory is provided in real-time from a public cloud. The software that manages the cloud responds to bursts by provisioning extra resources from the public cloud as required.

Community Cloud

A community cloud is a shared computing infrastructure that may be set up as a private, public, or hybrid cloud, with the caveat that it is used by a specified community of users, such as hospitals or banks, that have common needs in terms of specifications. For instance, a community cloud for banks may have special security and authentication software that is

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