Cloud computing, in its simplest form can be described as anything that concerns using services or applications that are hosted over the internet. The services that cloud computing offers can basically be broken down into three different categories: Software as a service, Infrastructure as a service and Platform as a service. The term cloud computing is used because of the cloud image that is most commonly used to show the internet in diagrams and flowcharts.
Cloud computing services are different from traditional hosting services for a few reasons. One reason is that the service allows the customer to use as little or as much of the service that they want at any given time. Cloud computing is also sold in an on demand style. It can be bought by the second, minute or by the hour. Another difference between traditional hosting is that cloud computing gives the provider complete control over the service. All that a customer needs is internet access and a computer of any kind.
Cloud computing can be public or private. If the service is private, it will only be offered to a select group of users and the public will have no access to the cloud. If the service is public anybody that desires to do so can connect to the cloud. A cloud computing provider can also use a public cloud to create a private cloud that they actually do not physically host.
When it comes to platform as a service, developers can use the cloud to create applications over the internet. They use software that is available via the cloud. Infrastructure as a service allows a provider to basically give a business a virtual server to handle their computing needs. Software as a service can range from storing product and consumer information to hosting communications services via the internet.