Even though the cloud is not new, how the cloud works is still largely misunderstood by those outside of the IT field. Often it is imagined to be this nebulous entity that somehow operates virtually, providing all the resources a company or business requires.
Data Center Basics
In reality, cloud computing services are based in a physical location. This facility is known as a data center. A data center is a large facility run by the cloud computing provider that is designed specifically to house servers and the associated hardware. This includes racks, power supplies, air conditioning and environmental controls specific to optimize server life, power supplies and redundancies, and also the staff on hand to maintain this physical location.
In some cases, the business may also have its own data center, although typically on a much smaller scale. These are sometimes called on-prem or on-premise data centers, and they can link to public clouds or become part of a hybrid cloud for the business.
The ability to use public cloud infrastructure or to combine public and private in a hybrid cloud is often the most cost-effective for businesses. However, cloud computing providers can also offer private clouds using their equipment and data centers. This is a single-tenant cloud, where the tenant has access to all the resources and also can set the security needed for sensitive data.
Cloud computing allows a business to avoid the cost of investing in hardware, on-prem data centers, or having to hire in-house or outsourced IT professionals. It provides a cost-effective, flexible, and virtually limitless computing solution for a company of any size.