Exactly what and where is this cloud everyone's talking about? The imagery that comes to mind, of course, is a big puffy floating body of white mist, and while that is a cloud, it's not the cloud. Most people have been to the cloud without realizing it. If you've downloaded software from a vendor website or bought something online, you have most likely been to the cloud.
Traditionally, companies have spent scads of money buying hardware on which to store company data. You may have seen some version of this if you've ever visited an IT department. You might have seen racks of big black boxes with lots of blinking lights, all connected with hundreds of wires. Systems like these require periodic and expensive updates, as well as constant monitoring for damage, temperature control, power failures, security and more. Companies who move their information to the cloud essentially give all of those responsibilities to a service provider and instead access their data via the internet or network connection.
THREE TYPES OF CLOUD COMPUTING
There are three types of Cloud Computing:
(Iaas) Infrastructure as a Service (AKA utility computing): This is where companies or individuals buy raw computer hardware over the internet; an example of this would be web hosting services.
(SaaS) Software as a Service: This is where you would use a complete application running on someone else's service; an example of this would be using web-based email or Google Documents.
(PaaS) Platform as a Service: This is where you develop an application using web-based tools so they run on someone else's software and hardware; an example of this would be software such as salesforce.com.
BENEFITS OF THE CLOUD
There are many benefits to cloud computing:
- Information is managed for you by the service provider, including security, backups and all of the issues included with data storage. The service provider takes all of the responsibility, virus protection, hard drive crashes and all; it's sort of like renting an apartment instead of owning your own home—the landlord is responsible for repairs and you don't need all the wasted space of a big house anyway.
- You can buy only what you need, which reduces capital investment costs; storage and software are purchased on a subscription basis.
- No periodic updating of expensive equipment—that too is the responsibility of the service provider
- Services are on-demand:
a.Add or remove services virtually instantly
b.24/7 accessibility via the internet or network set up
- Cloud computing is both for public and private use:
a.Web-based email and free services like the ones Google offers are examples of public services
b.Company intranet is an example of private service
Cloud computing is growing at phenomenal pace. Below are a few forecasts regarding the growth of cloud computing:
By 2018, IDC Research forecasts that public cloud spending will more than double to $127.5 billion. This forecast is broken down as follows: $82.7 billion in SaaS spending, $24.6 billion for IaaS and $20.3 billion in PaaS expenditures.
By 2018, more than 60% of enterprises will have at least half of their infrastructure on cloud-based platforms. These and other are insights are from the keynote Cloud Business Summit presentation Digital Business, Rethinking Fundamentals by Bill McNee, Founder and CEO, Saugatuck Technology. Source: Digital Business, Rethinking Fundamentals.
According to monster.com, "Jobs in cloud computing are a hot prospect right now (they pay well too, with a median salary of $124,300). Back in 2013, executives at Gartner, a leading IT research and advisory company headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, predicted the cloud would see explosive growth this year. "...By 2016 this growth will increase to become the bulk of new IT spend," reads a statement released by the company in October 2013. "2016 will be a defining year for cloud as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017.
With growth in the cloud computing industry and consequently an increase in that job market, considering a job in this field may be a worthwhile goal. Some of the technical skills that may be required for a cloud computing career are:
- SQL and MySQL Database languages
- DevOps software development
- Systems Automation
- Ruby on Rails
- Software quality assurance
- Information Security (CIPPS certification)
- Project management
An advanced career will require some additional skills:
- Project management skills
- Vendor negotiations
- Business and financial skills
- Security and compliance/security protocols/mandates and regulations (such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA)
- Data integration and analytical skills
- Mobile app development and management
More and more technology is moving to the Cloud! As the industry grows, companies will need skilled professionals to manage their cloud computing needs, so this may be a good time to look into getting a career started in this fast-moving industry.