Cloud services are on-demand accessibility of computer resources, specifically computer capacity and storage, without direct active involvement by the consumer. The word is broadly used to describe virtual data centers available over the Internet to any number of clients. Typically, cloud services offer computing resources as needed, with no immediate obligation to use a specific resource on a regular basis. This flexibility offers customers an opportunity to “buy when needed” without the concern of incurring additional capital costs or infrastructure restrictions. By contrast, on-demand computing models, such as on-site IT services, demand that a certain level of capacity is available at all times. The cloud has the potential to offer a number of benefits to business owners through its promise of “lets do it for you”.
Google’s cloud-computing platform, Google Drive, is one of the most well-known examples of on-demand cloud services. Driven by a user’s need to store data, videos, images, and any other type of information, Google Drive allows information to be accessed from virtually any location. This benefit is currently playing an important role in the ongoing consolidation of information technology between information providers and internet users.
Another prominent example of on-demand cloud services is Google’s infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering. Founded on a concept of “software as a service”, Google uses its own network infrastructure to provide software as a service to online businesses. Using a cloud computing model, businesses have access to high-powered servers without the need to maintain, install, and operate expensive servers. Google has developed its own proprietary tools and software applications, while also providing open-source solutions. With its cloud infrastructure, Google offers data centers to host its IaaS services, as well as data centers that host other types of web services, such as publishing platforms and online storage services.
Apple has long been the market leader in devices designed to access the Internet via cellular networks. In recent years, however, it has been unable to successfully penetrate the mobile market due to lower-end devices that are more expensive than mobile devices. Instead, its focus has been on devices that access the web via a mobile application platform. However, to meet this challenge, Apple has developed the Safari browser and has several other web services that run on the iPhone’s web browser. Because these apps are made available on a subscription basis through the Safari app, they have been able to gain a significant amount of popularity.
Another on-premises software storage solution offered by a cloud-services provider is Hotlist. Hotlist has been created to allow companies and individual users to manage their information. Like many cloud services, it is based on a PaaS model and is designed to reduce the complexity of managing electronic data. Rather than having to develop their own infrastructure for storing data, or hire IT staff to manage it, users can simply sign up for a subscription with Hotlist and allow the company to manage their data.
Dropbox is another cloud computing service that is popular among small and medium-sized businesses. Dropbox is an online storage service that allows users to upload various files including text, photos, documents, and video. A user may then set aside a specific time each day for uploading and downloading files from their computer to the Dropbox service. This service is available through a paid subscription and works quite well for small to medium-sized businesses. Dropbox is able to compete with some of the larger cloud computing companies because of its simple, intuitive user interface.
In addition to providing storage solutions through digital file storage such as Dropbox and Google Drive, cloud services work to deliver various other services to consumers. For example, Zuul, which is Google’s own cloud computing service provider, makes it easy for webmasters to manage their websites. Rather than having to create accounts for every site or service that requires access, Zuul provides site templates that can be used by any webmaster for managing their site. Many other service providers, such as Mailchimp and WordPress, are also making it easy for website owners to manage their sites by providing different platforms such as blogs, e-commerce sites, and content management systems.
While many cloud services have become very popular recently, some of these companies are still relatively new. Take Google’s AdSense for instance. Google began offering the feature to users almost a year ago and it has been nothing short of a success. The reason that AdSense is so successful is because it is a quality service and a great companion to other Google software like the Google search engine and the Chrome browser. By offering a quality service in addition to its other high-caliber software, Google has enabled a great deal of internet advertising revenue. With time, other service providers will offer similar Google products that will make it even easier for webmasters to take advantage of the benefits offered by cloud services.