What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing differs from a traditional hosted environment by following these key concepts:
IT Assets Become Programmable Resources
In a non-cloud environment you would have to provision capacity based on a guess of a theoretical maximum peak. This can result in periods where expensive resources are idle or occasions of insufficient capacity. With cloud computing, you can access as much or as little as you need, and dynamically scale to meet actual demand, while only paying for what you use.
Servers, databases, storage, and higher-level application components can be instantiated within seconds. You can treat these as temporary and disposable resources, free from the inflexibility and constraints of a fixed and finite IT infrastructure. This resets the way you approach change management, testing, reliability, and capacity planning.
Global, Available, and Unlimited Capacity
Leveraging the global infrastructure of AWS, GCP and Azure you can deploy your application to the region(s) that best meets your requirements (e.g., proximity to your end users, compliance, or data residency constraints, cost, etc.). It is also much easier to operate production applications and databases across multiple data centers to achieve high availability and fault tolerance. Together with the virtually unlimited on-demand capacity, you can think differently about how to enable future expansion via your IT architecture.
Higher Level Managed Services
Users have access to a broad set of storage, database, analytics, application, and deployment services. Because these services are instantly available to developers, they reduce dependency on in-house specialized skills and allow organizations to deliver new solutions faster. These services are managed by the hosting provider which can lower operational complexity and cost. Managed services are designed for scalability and high availability, so they can reduce risk for your implementations.
Security Built In
On traditional IT, infrastructure security auditing would often be a periodic and manual process. Cloud computing instead provides governance capabilities that enable continuous monitoring of configuration changes to your IT resources. Your security policy can be formalized and embedded with the design of your infrastructure. With the ability to spin up temporary environments, security testing can now become part of your continuous delivery pipeline. Solutions architects can leverage a plethora of incorporated security and encryption features that can help achieve higher levels of data protection and compliance.