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Cloud Computing Technology Beginner’s Guide A to Z

Cloud Computing Technology has added a new dimension and horizon to the world of technology. Cloud computing is a virtualization technology that allows users to access or receive various computing services over the Internet. Cloud computing is transforming traditional businesses into dynamic businesses with physical server infrastructure into a dynamic infrastructure. Cloud computing on-demand availability allows users to store or access their information at any time via the internet from anywhere. Cloud computing helps businesses expand and reduce server capacity, ensure maximum data security & privacy, guarantee reliable disaster recovery and backup solutions, and much more. This paper is specifically focused on Cloud computing technology’s basic terms and operations. Readers will be able to learn more about cloud computing’s characteristics, deployment models, service models, uses, advantage-disadvantage, architecture, service provider, and much more.

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Keywords: Cloud Computing, Characteristic, Models, Service, Architecture

Cloud Computing Technology Overview

Cloud computing is a virtualization technology that allows users to access or receive various services from different parts of the world over the internet. Cloud computing is not just a specific technology, it is a large form of few specialized technologies, called cloud business models. Cloud computing is the process of providing any kind of online service to the user through the internet. Servers, web applications, databases, software, networking, intelligence, analytics, are cloud computing services. The biggest example of cloud computing is Gmail because of various infrastructures including drive, photos, docs, contacts, notes, which we can access or use from anywhere anytime via Gmail. Cloud computing is a space where we can store our vital data and use it as we wish, and also cloud computing is the space from which data is not likely to be lost or deleted, or corrupted. National Institute of Standards and Testing (NIST)[1] defined cloud computing- 

“Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”  

Cloud Computing Deployment Models

There are 4 types of cloud computing deployment models: Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, and Community Cloud. 

Cloud computing deployment models

Public Cloud: Public cloud is open and free to everyone. In many cases, anyone can use this cloud for a subscription fee. Since users store a lot of their sensitive data in the cloud, this raises a massive data security question as the service is accessible to anyone who wants it. This type of public cloud service is provided by big cloud computing companies like Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Google, or Alibaba. Some of the benefits of public cloud are cost-effectiveness, flexibility, user compatibility, location independence.

Private Cloud: Private cloud is used for data stores of private companies or organizations. There are currently many companies or organizations that are not very interested in storing their private data in any other public cloud. All those companies or organizations themselves use a data center the size of a private cloud. These types of private clouds are managed internally by the company or by a third party. Since the private cloud-only serves specific users of a particular company or organization, it maintains a high level of security and privacy. Private cloud systems make sure that the third parties don’t have access to sensitive data that belongs to particular companies or organizations.  

Hybrid Cloud: Hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private cloud. Most of the time various banks, finance, healthcare, and universities use the hybrid cloud. Not all types of data are equally important, many data are very sensitive so they have to be kept in a private cloud and some of the data is not very important and no possibility of data being lost so we can keep these types of data in a public cloud. And if any company or organization follows such a policy in their data storage system then it should be called hybrid cloud.

Community Cloud: Community cloud works much like the public cloud. However, the difference is that the community cloud provides service within a specific community. Different communities in different countries such as army offices, police offices, and many other organizations use this type of community cloud. There are also many other types of cloud such as distributed-cloud, multi-cloud, and inter-cloud.

Cloud Computing Service Models

Cloud computing offers a variety of services based on the type of business. Among these three service models are very popular- Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Software as a Service (SaaS): Different cloud-based software services are offered by different cloud service providers to the general users for a fixed fee or many times for free. You do not need to install any special software to receive this type of service, you can only access this service through any browser with an internet connection. Even software updates, maintenance, technical glitches are all provided by the service providers. SaaS providers offer a variety of cloud-based software solutions, such as enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, billing and invoicing systems, mail services, social networks services, document management, meeting software, storage services, docs services, etc.

SaaS Characteristics:

  • SaaS software always available over the Internet
  • Centralized management and data storing system
  • Software applications are maintained by the service provider
  • Users not responsible for hardware or software updates, damages, or maintenance 
  • Services are purchased on the pay-as-per-use basis

Platform as a Service (PaaS): PaaS service is designed specifically for programmers, coders, and developers. With the PaaS service, programmers can verify, create, test, run, deploy, and manage technical errors for a variety of web applications. PaaS delivers a framework for developers that they can build upon and use to create customized applications. Anyone can buy this type of PaaS service on a pay-as-per-use basis. In The PaaS service case, there is no need to worry about any kind of infrastructure management such as servers, storage, and networking because they are managed by cloud service providers. Examples of PaaS services are Google App Engine, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Appfog, Heroku, Windows Azure, Force.com, OpenShift, Apache Stratos, Magento Commerce Cloud, etc.

PaaS Characteristics: 

  • Browser-based development environment
  • Variety of services to assist with creating, testing, running, & deploy web apps
  • Multi-tenant architecture
  • Customizable /Programmable user interface with unlimited database customization
  • Multiple languages and frameworks supported
  • Customization independence, security, & scalability

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Infrastructure or hardware services are taken through the IaaS service. IaaS delivers cloud computing infrastructure, including servers, networks, operating systems, virtual machines, and storage, through virtualization technology. A virtual machine or computer can be operated from anywhere with the IaaS service. What kind of software will be installed on that virtual machine or computer, how the work will be done, how the computers will communicate with each other, everything can be controlled by the user as he wishes. Unlike other service models, users do not have to worry about technical issues with hardware, networking, hard drives, data storage, servers, etc. Examples of IaaS services are Google Compute Engine (GCE), DigitalOcean, Linode, Rackspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metacloud, Microsoft Azure. 

IaaS Characteristics: 

  • Virtual machines with pre-installed operating and software system
  • Shared infrastructure and web access to the resources
  • Complete control of the infrastructure
  • Dynamic, highly scalable, and flexible
  • Platform virtualization technology
  • GUI and API-based access

Cloud Computing Uses

In the era of digital technology, everything is dependent on the cloud. Information or data of various companies, organizations, hospitals, educational institutions, government and non-government organizations, NGOs, social networks, news media, entertainment media, and everything else is stored in the cloud. In addition to the three main types of cloud computing services like SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, other uses are detailed below.

File Storage: The significant role of cloud computing is file storage. Any type of data, files, images, videos, documents, business accounts, educational research, scientific research, etc., can be stored in the cloud so that anyone from different parts of the world can easily access it. The best examples of cloud file storage are Google Drive, Dropbox, Mega, OneDrive, iCloud, Box, Amazon Drive, Baidu Wangpan, Weiyun, etc. 

Social Networks: Another example of cloud computing is social network sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, WeChat, Weibo, and so on. This type of social media user regularly uploads their various information such as photos, messages, videos, etc., and this information is stored in the cloud so that users can access, edit, save, or delete the data anywhere anytime. 

Videos Hosting: Cloud is also used for video hosting and streaming. YouTube is an online video-sharing platform and it is the biggest example of a cloud video hosting website. Similarly, there are a bunch of websites for video hosting and streaming like Netflix, TED, Disney+, Vimeo, Dailymotion, TikTok, Youku, Bilibili, Kuaishou, and so on.

Website Hosting: Over 1.7 billion websites exist, but only 200 million websites [2] are active and all the active websites are live based on cloud computing or web server. Cloud hosting is becoming popular day by day because of easy website hosting, maintenance, security, control, resources, friendly-cost, and other benefits.  

Software Testing and Development: Application performance, functionality, reliability, scalability, and security of any software or web application are tested using cloud computing environments and infrastructure. Cloud computing providers offer many pre-build tools for continuous integration and delivery that make development and testing faster, and less complex. 

Scientific Research: Cloud computing is widely used in the scientific research sector performed by applying systematic and constructed scientific methods to obtain, analyze, and interpret data [3]. Scientific research performed various topics such as science, medicine, environment, space, military, and so on. And there is no second option except the cloud to complete this huge data storage, observation, and experiment of scientific research.

Big Data Analytics: Another wonderful use of cloud computing is Big data analytics. [4] Big data is a field that treats ways to analyze, systematically extract information, or otherwise deal with data sets that are too large or complex to be dealt with by traditional data-processing application software. Big data collects customer marketing trends, behavior, quantity, quality, and so on, while cloud computing is the mechanism that performs operations based on that data to target their advertising and marketing campaigns to a particular segment of the population.

Disaster Recovery: Almost all-natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods, landslides, or storms, we often lose information about our offices, agencies, organizations, and other important habitats. Cloud computing plays a very important role in solving this data-losing natural disaster problem. It helps you to quickly recover your organization’s critical systems after a natural or artificial disaster. Also in this system, you can create a replica of your business site and constantly replicate data and configuration settings using the cloud.  

Data Backup: Data backup is vital for the survival of an organization and it is also a complex and time-consuming operation. The reason behind data backup is so important is to secure your sensitive information for the future because losing data can cause massive damage and disrupt business operations. and in this situation, Cloud is the biggest survival option for securing data backup.

Cloud Computing Advantage

  • The biggest advantage of cloud computing is to ensure maximum data security & privacy 
  • Low maintenance cost and all equipment maintained by the cloud service provider
  • Flexibility and excellent availability anytime anywhere
  • Cloud applications improve collaboration by allowing groups of people from around the world
  • Cloud Computing offers various data storage models 
  • Users don’t lose their data due to network or hardware problem
  • Cloud computing service can be used with any device such as mobile, PC, or tab.
  • Cloud offers unlimited storage capacity
  • Cloud computing is helping out organizations to reduce their carbon footprint
  • Cloud provides super fast service for their users
  • Cloud offers location and device independence service
  • Cloud-based services provide quick data recovery for all kinds of emergency scenarios, from natural disasters to power outages.
  • Another great benefit of cloud computing is that it allows many people to share or use information together.
  • Cloud computing plays a significant role in the research work of scientists, engineers, and researchers.

Cloud Computing Disadvantage

  • Cloud computing is dependent on the internet, without an internet connection users can’t access or use it
  • Cloud downtime & Vendor lock-in are the biggest disadvantages of Cloud computing
  • Although cloud service providers implemented a high level of data security but still storing data on external service providers always opens up risks
  • Cyber attack & security breaches is another worst disadvantage
  • Limited control, data leakage, account or service hijacking, individual compromise, technology vulnerabilities are also cloud computing disadvantage  
  • Service providers technical issues, lack of customer support, etc.

Cloud Computing Service Provider

Cloud Computing Technology A to Z

Amazon Web Services: Amazon Web Service (AWS) is a lead cloud computing platform, which is a subsidiary of Amazon. AWS provides various services such as compute, servers, storage, databases, analytics, networking, email service, mobile development, developer tools, management tools, IoT, ML, AI, enterprise applications, and much more services for individuals, companies, governments, or non-governments. 

Microsoft Azure: Microsoft Azure cloud computing service controlled by Microsoft for various application management systems. Azure also provides a range of cloud services, including compute, analytics, storage, development, and networking. Microsoft Azure supports different programming languages, tools, and frameworks. According to Wikipedia, Azure uses large-scale virtualization at Microsoft data centers worldwide and it offers more than 600 services. [5]

Google Cloud: Google Cloud Platform is very special because Google provides the same infrastructure and security system that Google uses for their internal services such as Google Search, Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube, and so on. Also, Google Cloud protects data, applications, infrastructure, fraudulent activity, spam, or any other cyber problems. Google Cloud offers services for computing, analytics, storage, networking, big data, machine learning, IoT, developer tools, and so on with Google’s data encryption system. 

IBM Cloud: IBM Cloud is a suite of cloud computing services for business offered by the information technology company IBM. IBM Cloud platform scales and supports both small development teams and organizations, and large enterprise businesses. It offers IaaS, SaaS, PaaS services through public, private, and hybrid models. Also, IBM offers tools for cloud-based collaboration, development and test, application development, analytics, business-to-business integration, and security systems. 

Alibaba Cloud: Alibaba Cloud or Aliyun is the largest cloud computing company in China owned by Chinese multinational technology company Alibaba Group. Alibaba Cloud offers various services such as databases, networking, analytics, elastic computing, data storage, big-data processing, anti-DDoS protection, domains & website management, application services, media services, middleware, content delivery networks (CDN), and much more. Also, it provides cloud services for online businesses, even Alibaba’s own e-commerce ecosystem uses the Alibaba Cloud platform. [6]   

Tencent Cloud: Tencent Cloud is China’s leading public cloud service provider. Tencent Cloud offers various services such as compute, data storage, CDN, database, security, microservice, enterprise applications, big data, IoT, Artificial Intelligence, developer tools, and so on. Tencent Cloud is secure, easy to deploy, low cost, reliable, and high-performance. It provides services for hundreds of millions of people via flagship products like QQ, WeChat, Sogou, DiDi, and much more. 

Oracle Cloud: Oracle cloud is one of the best cloud services which is used to deploy, build, extend, and integrate applications into the cloud. Oracle Cloud offers more than 80 cloud infrastructure and platform services such as servers, storage, network, applications. Oracle’s data dictionary enables easy administration and maintenance. Oracle Cloud Applications can dramatically reduce expenses and also give organizations the flexibility to respond quickly and easily to changing industry conditions, emerging technologies, and customer demands.

Salesforce: Salesforce is the leading cloud computing company and the world’s best customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Salesforce offers applications for all aspects of business, including CRM, ERP, sales, customer service, marketing automation, business analytics, application development, tools, data management, and much more.

VMware: VMware is an American cloud computing and virtualization technology company. VMware was the first commercially successful company to virtualize the x86 architecture. VMware’s desktop software runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux, and macOS, while its enterprise software hypervisor for servers, VMware ESXi, is a bare-metal hypervisor that runs directly on server hardware without requiring an additional underlying operating system.

Adobe Cloud: Adobe Creative Cloud is a collection of software for graphic design, video editing, web development, and photography. Adobe offered individual products as well as software suites containing several products with a perpetual software license. Adobe first announced the Creative Cloud in October 2011. 

Cloud Computing Architecture

Cloud Computing Architecture is a combination of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Event-Driven Architecture (EDA). Cloud Computing Architecture is broadly divided into two major parts: Front-end platforms, and Back-end platforms. Both platforms communicate with each other via the internet. Client infrastructure, application, service, runtime cloud, storage, infrastructure, management, and security all these components make up cloud computing architecture.  

Cloud Infrastructure

Front End: Front End is the primary part of cloud computing architecture, which is used or required for accessing cloud computing services/resources from client-side interfaces and applications. Client Infrastructure or front-end platforms interact with the cloud via a web browser such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Opera, etc. Client Infrastructure provides a graphical user interface (GUI) system and it also has fat or thin clients, zero clients, tablets, and mobile devices that users directly interact with.   

Back End: Back End is the most important and responsible part of the cloud computing architecture because the backend system monitors all the programs that run the application on the front end. This backend system is used by the service provider. It has a large number of data storage systems, security mechanisms, virtual machines, deployment models, traffic control mechanisms, and many more. Front End (Client Infrastructure) and Back End connect or communicate with each other via the Internet. Application is the part of Backend cloud architecture that refers to a software or platform which will provide the service in the backend according to the client’s requirements. Cloud computing has 3 main services such as SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. Cloud services manage which type of service users want to access. Runtime Cloud provides the execution and runtime environment to the virtual machines. Cloud Storage system provides flexible and scalable storage capacity in the cloud to store and manage data. Cloud Infrastructure refers to hardware and software components such as servers, storage, virtualization software, network devices, etc. Cloud Management system helps manage the components such as application, task, service, runtime cloud, security, data storage, and cloud infrastructure. Security in the backend refers to the implementation of different security mechanisms in the backend for securing cloud resources, systems, files, and infrastructure to end-users.


Cloud computing will be the next evolution in the history of technology and cloud computing is having a huge impact on our daily lives. As a result of cloud computing, radical changes are being noticed in the last decade in various sectors including education, research, business, entertainment, and so on. In the near future, the idea of storing data on physical machines may seem outlandish. So in the future cloud computing will bring a revolutionary change in human life. Multitudes of benefits of cloud computing such as flexibility, backup, mobility, connectivity, scalability make it comfortable for people to keep their data on Cloud. Although cloud service providers implemented a high level of data security but still storing data on external service providers always opens up risks. Therefore, we need strong data security and privacy laws worldwide for cloud computing so that users’ information can’t be compromised.

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[1] P.M.M. T.G (2011, September). The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing. https://www.nist.gov/publications/nist-definition-cloud-computing

[2] How Many Websites Are There in 2021? (2021, August 24). WebsiteSetup. https://websitesetup.org/news/how-many-websites-are-there/

[3] How to Conduct Scientific Research? (2017, July 1). NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5491675/

[4] Wikipedia contributors. (2021, December 1). Big data. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_data

[5] Wikipedia contributors. (2021b, December 8). Microsoft Azure. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Azure

[6] Wikipedia contributors. (2021a, November 21). Alibaba Cloud. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alibaba_Cloud

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