What Is Cloud Computing and Why Is It Important?

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Lots of people are putting data in the “cloud,” but what and where is the cloud? According to TechTarget, “Cloud computing is a general term for the delivery of hosted services over the internet. Cloud computing enables companies to consume compute resources as a utility — just like electricity — rather than having to build and maintain computing infrastructures in-house.”
Basically, instead of having all of your hardware and software sitting on your desktop or on your company’s network, it is provided to you as a service over the internet. The exact location of the hardware or software doesn’t matter to you as long as you can get your work done. Your data is somewhere up in the “cloud,” and you can access it from any device that can access the internet.
Examples of Cloud Computing
You may not be aware of how much you are already using the cloud. If you have a Gmail account, which is hosted by Google, you are using the cloud. You may be streaming music from Spotify or Apple Music or storing documents and photos on Dropbox. These are all examples of cloud at work.
Why Use Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing has many advantages over the traditional data center. First, someone else is managing the service for you. You don’t have to worry about licenses, viruses or keeping up-to-date with software updates. You don’t have to back up your files. It’s all done for you. All you need to do is to focus on getting your job done because someone else is handling the computing infrastructure.
It’s “on-demand.” Cloud services are available on-demand and often bought on a “pay-as-you go” or subscription basis. So you typically buy cloud computing the same way you’d buy electricity, telephone services or internet access from a utility company. Just like electricity, you can buy as much or as little of a cloud computing service as you need from one day to the next. That’s great if your needs vary unpredictably: it means you don’t have to buy your own gigantic computer system and risk having it sit there doing nothing.
Types of Clouds
You have probably heard of the three types of cloud: public, private and hybrid. Which cloud you use all depends on your requirements.

  • Private: A private cloud offers the most security and control, but it is the most expensive. All of the services and infrastructure is maintained on a private network. Private clouds can be managed internally or by a third-party.
  • Public: A public cloud offers a high level of efficiency, but resources are shared – making it the least expensive solution. All of the services and infrastructure are provided off-site over the Internet. People often use a public cloud when applications like email are used by many people.
  • Hybrid: A hybrid cloud offers a combination of private and public clouds that does not depend on the internet. Hybrid clouds can have multiple providers, allowing you to run each aspect of your business in the most efficient way. Although efficient, hybrid clouds are also more complex and require additional time spent keeping track of different platforms and ensuring that they can all communicate with each other.

Arrow Can Get You Started with Cloud Computing
If you are just getting started in developing cloud solutions, you may want to engage with Arrow’s Cloud Solution Architects to select the best solution. Arrow offers best-in-class cloud offerings from many suppliers, we can help you choose the perfect service, facility and service level agreements to meet your end-customer requirements. With Arrow, you will be able to communicate a total value proposition, and you’ll have their support when it comes time to deliver.
If you would like additional information about cloud or how Arrow can help you get started selling a cloud solution, watch this video or contact your Arrow representative.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally posted in May 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Last modified: May 3, 2019