What Exactly is Cloud Computing?

Posted on July 30, 2017

The term “cloud computing” has become ubiquitous throughout the digital world. The chances are that you have used some sort of cloud computing, however, what the cloud entails and the specifications surrounding it may not be so well understood.


Essentially, cloud computing is piggybacking on the Internet for delivery of a wide range of computing services. These include storage, servers, networking, databases, software and analytics to name a few and are accessed via the Internet – “the cloud”. For a service to qualify as “cloud computing”, access to the Internet is essential. With a solid connection, the continuous interchange of huge amounts of data can occur regardless of time and location.

The origin of the term is slightly ambiguous and is thought to have derived from the usage of the word “cloud” in scientific terms, which is often used to illustrate an amalgamation of interconnected entities that have the indiscriminate qualities of a cloud when viewed from far away. Regardless of the ambiguous beginnings of the term, thousands of businesses are using cloud computing services that a variety of companies offer.

The providers of these services often charge per usage in a manner very similar to how we pay for utilities. In a nutshell businesses do not need to own their own physical drives, servers, networks or a specific number or licenses. They rent them from the cloud providers on an as-needed basis.

Cloud computing does not require any form of physical hard drive and is the antithesis of this type – generally known as ‘local’ storage.

The cloud computing market has already taken off. In 2012, the global market saw a global revenue of $100 billion. In 2020, it is projected this figure could rocket up to a massive $270 billion.

Types Of Cloud Services

A variety of cloud services exist for a number of different purposes. The majority of services can be categorized into three main sections. These include:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)

The umbrella term for these services is called the “cloud computing stack”. The reason for this is because their uses are often interlinked and combined. The ability to distinguish between these types as well as a knowledge of how they operate will help end-users operate with fluidity and understanding.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

This is a cloud computing service in its most simple format. This service basically entails a rental system in which individuals and businesses alike can pay for servers, storages and networks, as and when they are needed. Large companies such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon provide a software skeleton which companies subsequently “rent”.

Platform as a service (PaaS)

PaaS is a cloud computing service used by developers for developing, delivering, testing and managing software applications. The main purpose of PaaS is to allow developers to produce a variety of applications, without the stress and hassle of having to manage the substructure of the servers, networks and databases themselves. Essentially, it facilitates a smoother design process.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a service is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted. The Urbanise Platform is a perfect example of a Software as a Service as our customers access our applications online without having to install it in-house. Urbanise takes care of hosting and maintenance while our customers focus on using it to run their business.  


1 https://www.igi-global.com/chapter/software-reuse-emerging-cloud-computing/65173

2 http://247wallst.com/technology-3/2015/03/07/the-270-billon-cloud-computing-market/