The cloud is rapidly growing in popularity. It gives businesses access to a wide range of IT services and applications, from communication solutions to data backup services and helps them stay on the cutting edge.

If you are still wondering whether your organization should adopt cloud-based services or not, you are already behind most businesses. The cloud is already widespread and the majority of organizational workloads are already on the cloud.

In this article, we’ll share the basics, history, and our thoughts on cloud computing.

What is the Cloud?

The cloud is a way to deliver IT resources and services on-demand over the Internet. 

Rather than purchasing and maintaining physical servers and data centers, organizations can access IT services, such as computing power, storage and databases from a cloud service provider, like Amazon Web Services (AWS). Compared to conventional on-premise IT infrastructure, the cloud comes with substantial benefits, including low costs, improved agility, flexibility, and scalability, to name just the most important.

Key features of the cloud include:

  • Self-service provisioning and on-demand computing

  • Resource pooling and multi-tenancy

  • Rapid elasticity and scalability

  • Measured services and pay-per-use pricing

  • Availability and resiliency

How Does the Cloud Work and Does it Differ from Web Hosting?

The cloud is an IT infrastructure concept that is more complex than that of traditional web hosting. From an end-user point of view, there seems to be no difference: Both cloud providers and traditional web hosters can host the data and offer data processing and other services to which the user has access via the internet. However, looking deeper, there are major differences in the scope and infrastructure setup between cloud and web hosting. 

Difference in Infrastructure Setup

A cloud operates a global network of data centers. These data centers might be grouped into regions to ensure they are compliant with regional and local laws. Within these regions, the data centers might be clustered into local zones. All data centers in such a zone are directly connected to achieve higher redundancy - if one data center’s operation is blocked, another data center automatically takes care of the workload. That way, the customers receive the services they have paid for without interruption.

On the other hand, in its simplest form, a traditional web hosting provider simply rents out server and storage capacity in one data center. They store all your data in this data center. 

Web hosters can have multiple data centers similar to a zone in a cloud. But their technical infrastructure is usually set up for web hosting services only.

Difference in The Scope of Services

Traditional web hosters usually focus on a single application: web hosting. Cloud providers can offer more complex solutions for multiple applications. The global infrastructure setup of a cloud enables cloud providers to offer services that traditional web hosters cannot offer with their infrastructure. Examples are content delivery networks (CDNs) and Edge Computing to bring the data delivery and processing closer and faster to the end-users. Web hosting itself is just one of many available services in the cloud. It works like a software-as-a-service (SaaS). 

There are more specialized storage, computing, networking, and security services that traditional web hosters usually do not offer in such depth.

A Brief History of Cloud Computing

  • Cloud computing emerged gradually, starting in the 1950s with server computing. In the 1950s server computing enabled multiple users to access a central system using terminals that were only responsible to provide access to the mainframe. It was the start of the developments that would become cloud computing. 

  • In 1961, John MacCharty suggested that computing can be sold, like a utility. It was a brilliant idea but was ahead of its time – computing as a utility wouldn’t be sold until 1999.

  • In 1970, the concept of virtual machines was created.

  • In 1990, telecommunications organizations started providing virtualized private network connections.

  • In 1999, Salesforce started providing applications via a simple website. These applications were delivered to organizations across the Internet, and the idea of computing sold as a utility came true.

  • In 2002 Amazon started its web services, offering resources like computation, storage, and human intelligence. A truly genuine commercial service open to the public existed with the launch of Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) in 2006.

  • In 2007 Microsoft launched their Cloud Computing service – Azure, shortly followed by Google in 2009, who also started providing cloud computing enterprise applications. 

The cloud has tremendously changed the way organizations conduct businesses. The most relevant cloud statistics, trends, and facts will tell you how big this market is and how it will likely evolve in the coming years. After the COVID-19 crisis, the trend of leveraging cloud services has been on a rapid upward track. Here are some interesting facts about the cloud.

  • According to Cybercrime Magazine, there will be over a hundred zettabytes of data stored in the cloud by 2025. A zettabyte is one billion terabytes or one trillion gigabytes. In the same year, the entire global data storage is predicted to exceed 200 zettabytes. This means that half of the global data storage may be stored in the cloud. 

  • Based on the market share, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one of the best cloud IaaS services and the most popular and widely used cloud service, currently holding 33% of the market, followed by Azure at 22% and Google Cloud at 9% (figures from Q4 2021). 

  • In 2020, the total worth of the cloud computing market was $371.4 billion, roughly equal to the nominal GDP of Denmark in the same year. However, with the compound annual growth rate of 17.5%, it is estimated that the market will rise to $832.1 billion by 2025.

  • Organizations tend to trust in the cloud on the whole, with 48% of businesses opting to store their sensitive and most important data on the cloud, including both regular and encrypted data. 

  • Traditional data centers have decreased their energy demands from 97.6 terawatt-hours to some 50 terawatt-hours in 2019 and nearly 33 terawatts hours in 2021. However, the hyperscale data centers have doubled the energy demand over the same period. Today, data centers consume almost 2% of electricity worldwide and this is expected to rise to 8% by 2030.

  • Comparing overall traditional and cloud data centers, the average downtime of disaster recovery is 8 hours for traditional and 2.1 hours for cloud data centers. Cloud users also observed an improvement in the downtime events over the past few years, reducing by 9 percent, while the downtime for traditional users decreased by 4.7 percent.

Final Thoughts

Most cloud computing technology forecasts share one common projection: the future of computing is in the cloud.

Cloud services are fast, convenient, and more secure than you may think. These characteristics make the rise of cloud computing inevitable, as it offers tangible benefits to organizations of all sizes, and if we observe the current state of technology, there are no major obstacles that prevent it from evolving even further. Large organizations are already shifting a lot of sensitive information to the cloud. Their rapidly growing requirements are creating a new wave of cutting-edge services and business strategies. 

Finally, while the cloud comes with many benefits, it also adds risks if not deployed correctly. According to cybersecurity experts, the biggest cloud security challenges include misconfigurations of cloud infrastructure (68%), insecure API (52%), and unauthorized access (58%). To avoid this happening to your cloud infrastructure, at P8 Marketing we provide fully managed cloud hosting for your digital platforms coupled with first-class support. Our solutions and services meet rigid performance and security standards. Moreover, we support end-to-end GDPR compliance based on active risk management and certified data security.

  1. What is the Cloud?
  2. How Does the Cloud Work and Does it Differ from Web Hosting?
  3. A Brief History of Cloud Computing
  4. Cloud: Facts and Trends
  5. Final Thoughts