Top 8 Characteristics of Cloud Computing


The Characteristics of Cloud Computing involves an ever-expanding list of tools and techniques, but the key features of cloud computing remain the same. So, this article provides you the top 8 Characteristics of Cloud Computing

AWS was the first to popularize cloud computing as an alternative to on-premises infrastructure when it began selling compute resources and storage instances in 2006.

Google and Microsoft followed soon after. Today, cloud computing ranges from infrastructure to software-as-a-service models and everything in between, including artificial intelligence, containers, serverless computing, databases, IoT, dedicated networks, analytics, business applications, and much more.

Each subset has its own benefits and challenges, but several core features of cloud computing support all of them. Explore these eight key characteristics of cloud computing that help explain why it is the preferred destination for building and deploying modern applications.

1. Computing on demand and self-service provisioning

AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and other public cloud platforms make resources available to users with the click of a button or by calling the API. With data centers around the world, these vendors have a large number of compute and storage assets ready.

This represents a sea change for IT teams used to a local procurement process that can take months to complete.

The self-service provisioning feature of cloud computing goes hand in hand with on-demand computing capabilities. Instead of waiting for new servers to be delivered to a private data center, developers can select the resources and tools they need, usually through a cloud provider’s self-service portal, and build right away.

An administrator sets policies to limit what development and IT teams can run, but within those barriers, employees have the freedom to build, test, and deploy applications as they see fit.

2. Pool of resources

Public cloud providers rely on multi-tenant architectures to accommodate more users at the same time. Client workloads are drawn from the underlying hardware and software, serving multiple clients on the same host. Cloud providers increasingly rely on custom hardware and layers of abstraction to improve security and accelerate user access to resources.

3. Quick scalability and elasticity

  • Resource pooling enables scalability for cloud providers and users because compute, storage, networking, and other assets can be added or removed as needed. This helps enterprise IT teams optimize their cloud-hosted workloads and avoid end-user bottlenecks.
  • Clouds can scale vertically or horizontally, and service providers offer automation software to handle dynamic scaling for users.
  • Local traditional architectures cannot be scaled that easily. Typically, companies have to plan for maximum capacity by purchasing servers and other infrastructure assets; those extra resources are idle during breaks inactivity.
  • While scalability tends to describe longer-term cloud infrastructure plans, rapid elasticity is more of a short-term characteristic.
  • When demand rises unexpectedly, properly configured cloud applications and services instantly and automatically add resources to handle the load. When demand decreases, services return to original resource levels.
  • 4. Pay-per-use prices

    This feature of cloud computing shifts IT spending from Capex to Opex, as providers offer per-second billing. Although this can generally be viewed as a positive, IT teams need to be careful, as their resource needs are likely not static.

    Virtual machines must be sized appropriately, powered off when not in use, or downscaled as conditions dictate. Otherwise, organizations waste money and may end up with a sticker when the monthly bill arrives.

    This pricing model was once the only way to pay for the cloud, but providers have since added various pricing plans that often offer cheaper costs in exchange for longer-term commitments.

    5. Measured service

    Measuring service usage is useful for both a cloud provider and its customers. The provider and the customer monitor and report on the use of resources and services, such as VM, storage, processing, and bandwidth.

    This data is used to calculate the consumption of cloud resources by the customer and is incorporated into the pay-as-you-go model. The cloud provider, meanwhile, can better understand how customers use their resources and potentially improve the infrastructure and services offered.

    6. Resistance and availability

  • Cloud computing providers use a number of techniques to protect against downtime, such as minimizing regional dependencies to avoid single points of failure. Users can also spread their workloads across Availability Zones, which have redundant networks that connect multiple data centers in relatively close proximity.
  • Some higher-level services automatically distribute workloads across Availability Zones.
  • Of course, these systems are not foolproof. Interruptions occur and companies must have contingency plans. For some, that means spreading workloads to isolated regions or even to different platforms, although that can come at a high price and greater complexity.
  • 7. Security

  • To date, there are no known violations of the underlying resources of the major cloud platforms. And while many companies were reluctant to migrate workloads due to security fears, those concerns have largely lessened, in part due to the benefits of earlier cloud computing features.
  • Cloud providers employ some of the best security experts in the world and are generally better equipped to handle threats than most in-house IT teams. In fact, some of the largest financial firms in the world say that the cloud is a security asset.
  • Characteristics of Cloud Computing
    Characteristics of Cloud Computing

    However, this does not exempt users from their functions. Public cloud providers follow the shared responsibility model: they tend towards platform security and users manage their own applications that are on top.

    The lack of full understanding of those delineations has led to some embarrassing and high-profile exposures of sensitive corporate data.

    8. Wide network access

  • A big part of the usefulness of the cloud is its ubiquity. Users can access the data or upload it to the cloud from anywhere with an Internet connection. Because most companies have a mix of operating systems, platforms, and devices, the cloud is an attractive option.
  • Cloud providers preserve that broad network access by monitoring and securing various metrics that reflect how customers access cloud data and resources: latency, access time, data throughput, and more. These factors influence service quality requirements and service level agreements.

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