Serverless Basics: What is the Cloud?

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Serverless Basics: What is the Cloud?

“Serverless” is one of those phrases that IT specialists often use yet is impenetrable by ordinary folk. When terms like IaaS (infrastructure as a service), PaaS (platform as a service), or SaaS (Software as a service) are thrown around, those not proficient in IT terminology cannot help but scratch their heads. Therefore, it is natural that they ask the following question: what is the cloud?

When we say “the cloud,” we are not talking about the fluffy things in the sky. We are referencing the delivery and access to computing services through the internet. Instead of hosting data locally and exponentially increasing the number of servers and IT infrastructure as the volume of information grows, it is possible to keep this data off-site on the cloud. This is what cloud technology offers.

History of the Cloud

Not many people know that the first development of cloud-like services can be traced back to the 1960s. While that is a little-known fact, we will focus more on the recent incarnations of the cloud that started with Amazon’s development of a computing platform in 2002. It was founded due to a need to stabilize and secure its website, and it was only later that options to rent storage and computing capacity manifested themselves.
The answer to the question of what is the cloud, in its earliest conception, can be answered back in 2006 when Amazon Web Services (AWS) started offering IT infrastructures as a form of service, now commonly referred to as cloud computing.
Since then, the services offered have improved. The game was changed in 2007 when Dropbox was launched and offered the possibility of data storage, and Microsoft Azure swiftly followed it in 2010. Since then, cloud technologies have drastically changed and improved. Let’s look at some of the services offered by the cloud.

Data Storage - And More

From physical to virtual: running out of space is an issue that needs addressing. Whether you’ve bought too many pieces of clothing you will never wear or too many pot lids and not enough pots: you still need cabinets if you want to keep them. This is where off-site storage comes into the picture. And so does cloud storage which allows you to keep your data off your computer hard drive that can only store so much information. Instead of losing or deleting your old vacation photos from the gallery, an alternative presented itself in the form of a storage area network (SAN). Organizations used SANs to store and archive data and files. However, they are expensive and difficult to maintain: the more data you add, the more infrastructure you have to build.

Cloud storage services emerged as a scalable, cost-reducing solution. Instead of building and maintaining your own infrastructure, you can pay to do this as a service. Amazon Web Services, for example, provide storage and networking, and remote computing, among other things. This grants the user elasticity: the ability to scale capacity up or down pending on the data volume that is present and expected in the future.

Types of Cloud Computing

The cloud isn’t just one thing: it is the internet in its vastness. It is, therefore, natural that there are many different types. Choosing the correct setup for yourself means determining the architecture your computing will be built on. From there, it is essential to realize that there are three ways of deploying cloud computing: on a public, private, or hybrid cloud:

  • Public cloud: the most economical approach is the services offered here are by third-party providers over the public Internet. They are available to anyone who wishes to use them and function on a pay-as-you-go basis. The companies that utilize this option don’t have to invest in hardware and application infrastructure as the service provider takes care of all the maintenance and management.
  • Private Cloud: these computing services are offered through the internet or a private internal network. They are also not available to the general public, and they provide similar benefits, like scalability and elasticity, but also grant additional control and customization. They come about as a result of computing infrastructure on-premises which also delivers higher levels of security.
  • Hybrid Cloud: this model occurs when a company utilizes public and private clouds. Instead of purchasing, installing, and maintaining new servers (which might not be needed in their capacity), the easier option is to transition to a hybrid model and occupy the cloud.

What is Cloud Technology

The cloud functions virtually through data centers. Instead of housing data on-site, it is kept on virtual servers with an architecture specifically to store and protect data. We have already touched upon some aspects of what the cloud can offer us in a technological sense. Now we are going to take a closer look at the advantages that the cloud provides us:

  • Data storage: virtual storage of data
  • Test and Development: The extensive and arduous process of setting up your development environment is removed with the cloud. There are readily available cloud environments where it is possible to test software.
  • Scalability: cloud technology allows companies with fluctuating bandwidth to focus on their work and not worry about the infrastructure. With the increased data, drawing on more remote servers is simply required.
  • Better connectivity: with today’s collaborative projects, it is often required for all the employees to be on the same page. Cloud environment allows for fast and easy sharing and accessing resources from any part of the world.
    Additionally, the cloud can deliver IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS when it comes to computing.

Cloud Benefits

We have already briefly touched upon what you gain from utilizing these services. However, it is important to highlight how easier it is to focus on the job, app development, and code writing, without worrying about infrastructure or maintenance. These are some of the pressing questions of the industry, and a lot of the answers are provided through cloud technology:

  • Improved Scalability, Cost, and Speed: as the amount of data increases and the necessity for interoperability, integration, scalability, cost savings, and speed increases, applications built on serverless infrastructure scale automatically, radically changing all of the above for the better.
  • Modernization: with the cloud infrastructure, many technical tasks are removed. In the example of patient portals, the portal can be managed with multiple services and scaled while sharing a central database.
  • Transformation of Care: with the increased use of healthcare technologies, it is natural to expect that there will be numerous changes to the industry itself. These include the overall betterment of the health of populations, experience of both patients and care providers, and reduced costs of delivery of these services.Thus we have answered the question of what is the cloud and what it can do for us.