What Is Cloud Computing?

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Cloud computing provides computation, software, data access, and storage systems without requiring knowledge of the physical location and configuration needed. Cloud computing may be executed on or off premises, and has adopted virtualization, service-oriented architecture, and utility computing.

Databases in the cloud may be implemented by:

  • Virtual Machine Image: Users purchase virtual machine instances with databases installed on them, for a limited time. Databases can either be uploaded via personal machine images or through a stock representation that already includes the database program.
  • Database-as-a-service (DaaS): In this case, the database service installs and maintains the database, instead of the user needing to physically launch a virtual machine. Owners pay according to usage.
  • Managed Database Hosting in the Cloud: The cloud provider hosts the database and manages it on behalf of the owner, instead of offering the database as a service.

Other Definitions of Cloud Computing Include:

  • A “style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service using Internet technologies.” (Gartner IT Glossary)
  • “Networks of big data centres.” (Economist)
  • “A metaphor for a global network, first used in reference to the telephone network and now commonly used to represent the Internet.” (TechRepublic)
  • “A model enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources.” (NIST)
  • “The virtualization and central management of data center resources as software-defined pools.” (InfoWorld)
  • A service:
    • “Rented to users instead of requiring them to purchase specific hardware and software to accomplish the same goal
    • Administered and maintained by the vendor
    • Providing faster and easier use across multiple projects and simultaneous users” (Keith D Foote)

Businesses Use Cloud Computing To:

  • Reduce IT costs
  • Make IT services more available
  • Have a more reliable infrastructure
  • Improve customer experience
  • Make better use of artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Advance and simplify traditional Data Architecture

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