How Does Cloud Computing Work?
How Does the Cloud Work?
Any cloud computing service must be provided by a company or other entity with the sufficient hardware and infrastructure to be able to carry out the tasks offered. Whether this means having a single, centralized home for data storage and computational power, or a large paralleled network, the cloud must be managed by an operating source. This source or entity (usually a software company) then charges clients for access to this resource. This can include storing large amounts of data that wouldn’t fit on local servers or personal clouds, executing complicated code that would take unfeasible amounts of time to process on a local network, or something as simple as providing a database that is safely accessible at anytime from anywhere.
Behind the scenes, this infrastructure uses what the tech world calls The Cloud Computing Reference Architecture (CCRA). This refers to all the building blocks of how cloud computing software and services are delivered, including:
WHERE the cloud will be implemented (in what type of cloud—IaaS, PaaS, SaaS)
WHAT operating system service (OSS) will actually do the administrative work in providing the service (deployment and managing clients, accounts, etc.)
HOW users will access the service through the necessary interfaces and tools (for both the creators and users)
But, what does this all mean to the user’s reality? That is, how does cloud computing work from the user’s perspective?
Generally, a user logs into a portal and orders services through the cloud OSS. The interface and tools created have this purchasing and account creation fully automated, so the steps will generally be fast and get you where you need to go without much thought.
You then receive some sort of credentials—depending on the service—to access the requested tools, software or platform. Once you’re using the service, you can access it from any computer. If you store files or other data on the platform, storing that data to your computer is usually an additional step—the default of cloud computing is to keep all related data on the cloud where you can access it from anywhere at any time by simply logging in.
Invoicing usually reflects a product tier or monitored level of consumption of the service, and the provider’s business system service automatically validates credit card or other information for billing.
At its base, cloud computing as a service is providing powerful building blocks, infrastructure, or full solutions development in order to perform tasks at a faster, further-reaching, and more complex rate.