What are cloud technologies: explaining in simple terms
If your computer runs out of space, you move some files to Dropbox; if you want to work on a document together with your colleague, you use Google Docs; if you process a video, you install Adobe Creative Cloud. All these programs are products of cloud technologies that substantially simplify our life.
This article reveals the benefits of cloud technologies, how they function, and their skeletons in the closet.
Why a cloud?
Cloud technologies represent a network access system. Data uploaded by users is gathered to form huge arrays stored on remote servers. This system somehow resembles clouds, which seem to be tangible when you look at them from the ground, but in fact, you cannot touch them.
The idea of cloud computing belongs to John McCarthy, a specialist in the theory of electronic computing machines. Back in 1960, the American scientist assumed that someday computer calculations would be available just like communal public services.
Indeed, cloud technologies somewhat resemble power plants. Although householders can buy a power generator not to depend on the centralized system, the majority of people prefer to buy electricity from suppliers.
Types of cloud technologies
By usage, cloud technologies are classified into three types: SaaS, PaaS, IaaS.
SaaS (Software as a Servise) is a category of cloud technologies used as software. SaaS provides consumers with provider’s apps that operate using the cloud infrastructure. The technology is deployed by such services as Bitrix24, CallbackHunter, Microsoft Office 365, etc.
PaaS (Platform as a Service) is a category that provides wider privileges than SaaS. It is used as a platform for data storage and processing, which already has some functional applications. Examples of the technology are Active Directory, mySql, Oracle, etc.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) is the broadest category of cloud technologies that allows using its software, including operating systems and applications. Here, the most famous technologies are Amazon EC2, Windows Azure, Rackspace, Google Compute Engine, etc.
The abovementioned types of cloud technologies differ by the level of provider’s interference. Provider has the maximum of authority in SaaS, while IaaS provides only equipment procurement and physical administration.
If cloud technologies were burgers, we would eat SaaS in McDonalds, would take away PaaS to lay the table at home and eat the burger with our family, and would be given products for IaaS-burger to cook a culinary masterpiece with our own hands.
What is a cloud repository and where is it used?
Cloud repository is one of the most popular products of cloud technologies. Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, etc. are examples of cloud repository services. Usually, data storage is fee-based, but the cost is not high.
One of the main advantages of cloud repositories is the integrity of data even during hardware malfunctions, as they are not tied to a physical medium. However, at the same time this is their main problem.
Many companies are concerned about data security, as in fact, all information rests in the hands of the provider and the minor failure in his operation will lead to data leakage.
For instance, in July of 2018, the Yandex search engine provided files from Google Docs in response for the search query ‘passwords’. As a result, loads of private data was revealed publicly, including the requirements of Tinkoff Bank’s recruiters, reports of chatbot rooms, charts with phone numbers, passwords, and email addresses of users, and many other things.
Interestingly, the data leakage was caused not by failures in the operation of Yandex or Google Docs. The point is that Google Docs has several levels of privacy: available to everyone, access through a link, and access by an invitation. In case documents are available through links, Yandex can index them. Currently, this loophole is closed, but who knows how many other gaps the system has.
Nevertheless, thanks to cloud technologies, the IT industry has moved to a new stage of data virtualization. You decide whether to use them or buy hardware for local servers.