Cloud Computing

What is Cloud Computing?

In cloud computing, various computer resources are made available via the internet for on-demand use. In this article, we introduce the different models of cloud computing and discuss the advantages, use cases and current trends.


What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing refers to the provision of computer resources and services via the internet, including servers, storage space, computing power and various software applications.

Cloud users can access these resources and are given the opportunity to store and process data, use services and perform various other tasks that would normally require their own IT infrastructure.

For companies, cloud computing offers the opportunity to save costs for operating and managing their own servers. Instead, they use the infrastructure, platforms and software of external cloud providers and in many cases only pay for the resources they actually use.

Cloud technology is everywhere today – both in the business and private environment. Email programs, messaging services, social media and streaming platforms are just a few examples of well-known applications that are based on cloud infrastructure.

In the business sector, a distinction can be made between public clouds and private clouds. Public clouds are provided and managed by third-party providers and offer access to (shared) resources via the internet. Private clouds, on the other hand, are only used by a single organization and offer a higher degree of control.


What are the different cloud computing models?

There are three basic models for the provision of cloud resources by a cloud provider:

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

In an IaaS model, servers, virtual machines, data storage and network resources are provided by a cloud provider.

Customers can use this (highly scalable) infrastructure to install and run their own software. The cloud provider is responsible for maintaining, securing and managing the underlying infrastructure, while the customer is responsible for the operating system, data and software.

In many cases, the cloud provider also offers monitoring and backup functions.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

In a PaaS model, the cloud provider provides a development environment (platform), including the associated hardware, software and developer tools.

Customers are given the opportunity to develop, test and run their own applications in the cloud. The cloud provider is responsible for operating the entire platform and the underlying infrastructure.

The developer tools provided differ from platform to platform. Support for widely used technologies such as Docker is offered by all the big cloud providers. In recent years, various development platforms have also been offering graphical user interfaces and low-code or no-code development tools (see also Citizen Development).

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

A Software-as-a-Service provider makes complete software applications available in the cloud, which customers can access via web browser.

In contrast to the classic model, where software is purchased and installed on a personal device, SaaS providers generally rely on subscription models.

SaaS applications offer various advantages for end users: they do not require their own installation, are accessible from anywhere and are usually updated and maintained by the provider.

You can find more detailed information here: What is Software-as-Service (SaaS)?


What advantages does cloud computing offer?

Cloud computing first gained popularity in the early 2000s. Today, it is firmly established in both professional and private environments and enables numerous practices that are commonly taken for granted.

Companies and private individuals use cloud applications to share content, connect with each other, collaborate on projects or seamlessly access information – regardless of geographical location or the hardware used.

PaaS and IaaS models enable the rapid development and deployment of cloud applications. Cloud computing has opened up new possibilities, especially for smaller companies that only have limited IT capacities themselves: storage space and software applications can be used flexibly without incurring costs for installation processes, maintenance and security measures.

The most important advantages of cloud computing include the following:

  • Cost efficiency
  • Scalability
  • Mobility and connectivity
  • Processing large amounts of data
  • Security

Cost efficiency:
Companies do not have to purchase, set up and manage their own hardware. Instead, they only pay for the resources and services that are actually used.

The scalability of resources is one of the biggest advantages of cloud computing. As demand increases, resources such as storage or computing power can be flexibly ramped up and subsequently reduced again. In the case of a temporarily high request load, requests can be automatically distributed to other servers without affecting end users. In a traditional IT environment, capacities would have to be provided as a precaution and then likely remain unused most of the time.

Mobility and connectivity:
Cloud platforms and applications are generally accessible from anywhere in the world via web browser and enable flexible & location-independent collaboration.

Processing large amounts of data:
For many companies, cloud environments are a prerequisite for the use of technologies and processes that require the storage and processing of large amounts of data. These include big data analytics, IoT/IIoT and artificial intelligence.

Larger cloud providers in particular invest heavily in security measures to ensure the security of data in transit and at rest, leading to many cloud environments featuring a high level of security. However, it is important to note that using cloud computing often means that sensitive data is managed by third-party providers. It is therefore important to carry out a thorough risk assessment and evaluation of security measures implemented by cloud providers.

Use Cases

What are the most important use cases for cloud computing?

In many areas, cloud computing has lead to fundamental changes in the way people and organizations work.
Below we look at some of the key use cases for cloud environments.

Storing and sharing data:
Both businesses and individuals are using cloud environments and applications such as Google Drive or Dropbox to store and share data. This opens up opportunities for digital collaboration that serve as the foundation for many projects in today’s environment.

Use of computing power:
Companies utilize the computing power of cloud servers in order to perform complex calculations, enabling them to analyze large amounts of data and benefits from innovative technologies in areas such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

Application development:
Cloud environments offer the opportunity to develop, manage and run applications, with the underlying infrastructure being operated by a cloud provider. While IaaS solutions offer a basic IT infrastructure, many PaaS and SaaS solutions offer specialized development platforms with graphical tools.

Website and application hosting:
Companies host websites and applications in the cloud instead of operating physical servers on-site. In many cases, this results in higher availability and security while taking advantage of the scalability benefits that come with cloud computing.

Cloud computing in industrial production

Cloud computing allows industrial manufacturers to store, process and analyze production data, collaborate between departments and intelligently automate a wide range of processes.

Our cloud platform manubes combines all of these benefits within a single environment and provides intuitive tools for developing your own applications in the cloud.

With the manubes Page Designer, you are able to interactively visualize all areas of your production in real-time while the manubes Workflow Designer can be used to create automated workflows using a simple drag-and-drop editor.

Digital production management in the cloud

With manubes, you are able to systematically automate production processes and visualize all areas of a production in real time.

The manubes platform offers worldwide access via web browser, easy operation and maximum security for production data.

What are the current developments and trends in cloud computing?

A survey of IT managers conducted by KPMG shows that more than 80% of the companies surveyed will rely on cloud computing in 2022, with further growth predicted.

Software manufacturers have largely turned to the SaaS model in order to remain competitive and offer their customers the benefits of cloud software.

Since its establishment, cloud computing has also increasingly served as an enabler for other technologies, many of which are based on processing large volumes of data. These include the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), machine learning and artificial intelligence as well as augmented and virtual reality.

Discover manubes!

Cloud-based production management with manubes: Our innovative platform offers specialized tools for connecting production systems, managing and visualizing production data and automating production processes. manubes users benefit from a powerful infrastructure, worldwide access and maximum security.