Cloud Computing Tutorial for Beginners - Part 1 | What is Cloud Computing and How Does It Work

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

A simple definition of cloud computing involves delivering different types of services over the Internet. From software and analytics to secure and safe data storage and networking resources, everything can be delivered via the cloud.


We probably use different cloud-based applications every day. We are benefiting from cloud solutions every time you send a file to your colleague via the web, use a mobile app, download an image, binge a Netflix show, or play an online video game. All these services are stored in the cloud and exist in some digital space.


Storing your information on OneDrive, SharePoint, or an email server is much different from keeping that data on a desktop hard drive or a USB stick. You can access it from just about any computer that has internet access.


For businesses, cloud computing means improved collaboration and productivity, as well as significant cost reductions. It means better data protection, improved availability, and expanded access to cutting-edge technologies.


Five Characteristics of Cloud Computing

What exactly makes something a cloud? According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), there are five defining characteristics of cloud computing:

  1. On-demand self-service: You can use it whenever you need it and pay per use. Think of it as electricity. In essence, the cloud is a form of utility computing. You create an account or pick your provider, and your services will be available to you anytime. You are billed at the end of the month only for what you used. This form of storing and accessing your data gives you full control over your resource usage and spending.

  2. Broad network access: You must be able to access from across the web using any device with internet connectivity. Wherever you are, your cloud data will be accessible through web browsers, as well as on a laptop or mobile devices. The reason for this is the fact its underlying infrastructure includes servers on multiple locations.

  3. Resource pooling: Multiple tenants can share the same space, and resources can be assigned, re-assigned, and distributed as needed. You can be anywhere in the world and still have equal access as everyone else, provided you have internet access.

  4. Rapid elasticity: Cloud can grow and shrink as much as possible without affecting any of its users or their information. For example, if your business is experiencing peak traffic, the cloud can expand to accommodate all the new requests.

  5. Measured service: You can examine how often people are using the cloud. Many cloud service providers utilize a pay-as-you-go model to ensure that their clients are getting what they pay for, no more and no less. Once again, this can be compared to electricity as you get billed for the amount that you use.

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