What is Cloud Computing? | Types, Characteristics, and Challenges of Cloud Computing


Cloud computing is the ability to deliver on-demand computing services over the internet on a pay-as-you-go basis. With the cloud rather than managing files on local storage devices, cloud computing makes it possible to save them over the internet and access them from the internet, so I can be a mobile person and I’m moving from place to place but I can access the storage from the internet because it is on the internet.


Types of Cloud Computing

We can categorize different types of cloud computing based on two wide categories;

  1. Deployment models
  2. Service model.



The deployment model is categorized into three types;

  1. Public cloud
  2. Private cloud and
  3. Hybrid cloud.


  1. Public Cloud

A public cloud is a public infrastructure that is made available to the general public over the internet and is owned by the cloud provider. Available on a subscription basis to all. Some of the major players as the cloud providers are, AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM’s Blue Cloud, and Sun Cloud.

  1. Private Cloud

The cloud infrastructure is exclusively operated by a single organization. It can be managed by the organization or a third party and may exist on-premise or off-premise. Example AWS, VMware.

  1. Hybrid Cloud

It consists of the functionalities of both the public and private cloud. Mixed use of private and public clouds, leasing public cloud services when private cloud capacity is insufficient. For example, Federal agencies opt for private clouds when sensitive information is involved, also, they use the public cloud to share datasets with the general public or other government departments.



Different clouds based on the service model, we categorize into;

  1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  3. Software as a Service (SaaS)


If your business needs a virtual machine, opt for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). If your company requires a platform for building software products, pick Platform as a Service (PaaS). If your business doesn’t want to maintain any IT equipment, choose Software as a Service (SaaS).


Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

IaaS is the most common cloud computing service model, offering the basic infrastructure of virtual servers, networks, operating systems, and storage drives. This provides flexibility, reliability, and scalability many companies seek with the cloud and eliminates the need for office hardware.

IaaS is a cloud service that provides basic computing infrastructure. Services are available on the PAY-FOR-WHAT-YOU-USE model.

IaaS providers include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Computing Engine.

Users: IT Administrators.


Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS, cloud providers deploy the software and infrastructure framework, but companies can deploy and run their apps. Web applications can easily and quickly be created via PaaS with the flexibility and robustness of the service to support it.

PaaS provides cloud platforms and runtime environments for developing, testing, and managing applications. It allows software developers to deploy applications without requiring all the related infrastructure.

Users: Software Developers.


Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS, this cloud computing solution includes deploying Internet-based software to different companies paying via subscription or paid-per-user model.

In SaaS, cloud providers host and manage the software application on a pay-as-you-go pricing model. All software and hardware are provided and managed by a vendor so you don’t have to maintain anything.

Users: End Customers.



Characteristics of Cloud Computing

  1. On-Demand Self-Service

As the user can track server uptimes, capability, and network storage on an ongoing basis.

  1. Availability

The cloud capability can be changed and expanded according to usage. This review helps customers to buy additional cloud storage for every small price.

  1. Resources pooling

Cloud providers use a multi-leaner model to deliver computing resources to various customers. The customer has no control or information about the location of the resources provided but can choose a location on a higher level of abstraction.

  1. Pay as you go

Users only have to pay for the service or the space in cloud computing. No hidden or additional charge to be paid is liable to pay.

  1. Security

Cloud computing provides a snapshot of the data stored so that even if one of the servers is damaged, the data cannot get lost. The information is stored on a storage device that no other person can use.

  1. Network access

The user may use a device and internet connection to access the cloud data or upload it to the cloud from anywhere at any time since it can be accessed through the internet.


Threats and Challenges of Cloud Computing

  1. Cost

The cost of cloud computing is affordable but it can also be expensive to change the cloud customer demand. It is sometimes costly to transfer data from the cloud to customer premises.

  1. Downtime

Downtime is the most common challenge as a platform free from downtime is guaranteed by no cloud providers. Internet connection plays a big role because it can face downtime.

  1. Security and Privacy of Cloud

The cloud data store must be secured and confidential. The cloud provider must take the security measures necessary to secure customer data since the clients are so dependent on the cloud provider.

  1. Reliability

Reliability and flexibility are indeed difficult task for cloud customers, which can eliminate leakage of the data provided to the cloud and provides customer trustworthiness.


In conclusion, the following is the list of cloud providers, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, Google Cloud, VMware, and DigitalOcean.

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