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Jason Smith
Chief User Experience Officer

14 Benefits of Cloud Computing and Terminology Glossary to Get You Started

Aug 03, 2022
By: Jason Smith

Adopting cloud architecture still sounds like a futuristic move for some, but that’s hardly the case anymore. When we first wrote this article in 2018,  In the UK, 54 percent of enterprises kept everything on-premise, without a cloud-based solution in sight. In 2021, according to McKinsey and IBM, 94% of enterprise businesses surveyed rely on multiple cloud providers to accomplish their business goals. That’s one big switch, but the high number actually hides a reality: those companies are only 20% of the way into digital transformation.

Moving to the cloud, as strategically important as it is, isn’t as easy as simply migrating all your assets to a cloud provider and calling it a day; it requires the company doing the switch to also undergoes a digital transformation process. 

But as we move deeper into the IoT-era, the cloud, and all it entails become less of a choice and more of a need for companies of all shapes and sizes. In this article, we talk in depth about the cloud and share the top benefits of cloud computing for companies as well as a FAQ section to help you grasp the terminology.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing, also known as cloud architecture, covers a broad range of cloud-based models —many of which marketers and developers will be accustomed to. Cloud computing is, in simple terms, the delivery of computing services —servers, storage, databases, networks, software, analytics, and business intelligence— over the internet or the cloud. In the cloud computing model, everything from applications to data centers is delivered over the internet on a pay-for-use basis.

Cloud technology is composed of five essential characteristics:

  • On-demand Self-Service: Access to cloud resources such as the processing power, storage, and network you need, using a simple interface, without requiring human interaction with each service provider. 
  • Broad network access: Cloud computing resources can be accessed via the network through standard mechanisms and platforms such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations.
  • Resource pooling: Cloud computing technology enables companies to use resources from different machines to enable rapid, cost-effective scaling. 
  • Rapid Elasticity: You can access more resources when you need them, and scale back when you don’t.
  • Measured Services: You only pay for what you use or reserve as you go. if you’re not using resources, you’re not paying for them.

Also, there are three types of cloud deployment models

  • Public Cloud: You leverage public cloud computing over the open internet on hardware owned by the cloud provider, but its usage is shared by other companies.
  • Private Cloud: The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization. It could run on-premises or it could be owned, managed, and operated by a service provider.
  • Hybrid Cloud: You use a mix of both public and private clouds, working together seamlessly, that is classified as the Hybrid model.

      Finally, there are three service models based on the cloud technology model:

      • Software as a Service (SaaS): Software as a Service is a software licensing and delivery model in which software and applications are centrally hosted and licensed on a subscription basis, and sometimes also referred to as "on-demand software.
      • Platform as a Service (PaaS): In a Platform as a Service model you get access to the platform, that is the hardware and software tools, usually those needed to develop and deploy applications to users over the internet.
      • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): In an Infrastructure as a Service model you get access to infrastructure and physical computing resources such as servers, networking, storage, and data center space - without the need to manage or operate them.

      dotCMS’ clients for example, enjoy cloud architecture in the form of our Content as Infrastructure approach, which can be categorized as a PaaS solution. Moreover, many of our clients enjoy a hybrid cloud computing approach, which combines the benefits of cloud computing and on-premise deployment.

      For example, a brand using Amazon Web Services (AWS) —which many would classify as a PaaS solution —is employing cloud architecture. In fact, most startups using a web hosting company to launch their website and app are also enjoying the benefits of cloud architecture.

      Types of Cloud Deployment

      • Single Cloud: A single cloud environment uses a single cloud provider or cloud platform to serve any and all applications or services that the organization decides to migrate to the cloud.
      • Multi-Cloud: A multi-cloud combines and integrates multiple public clouds. A company may use one public cloud as a database, one as PaaS, another for user authentication, and so on.
      • Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud-based infrastructure combines public cloud computing with a private cloud or on-premise infrastructure.

      So, what benefits of cloud computing when compared to on-premise hosting? Take a look:

      The Benefits of Cloud Architecture

      Most of the advantages and benefits of cloud computing revolve around speed gains, lower infrastructure costs, better scalability, and enhanced collaboration, but that’s not all. Here’s a curated list of the top cloud computing advantages.

      1. Speed

      Contemporary cloud computing solutions alleviate latency issues and increase speed across the board, even as time goes on and even if data processing requirements increase. On the flip side, on-premise servers will eventually need to be physically upgraded, as they will become progressively overwhelmed with the increasing amount of data being processed.

      TELUS, a dotCMS customer, reported that prior to moving to dotCMS Cloud, it would normally take between 3 to 10 minutes to open content for editing and a further 3 to 10 minutes to publish the content. Today, it takes them less than 30 seconds to log in and open content. And publishing is now measured in seconds.

      2. Greater Accessibility

      Cloud architecture opens more avenues for employees to access data and digital tools. Cloud-based software is accessible through most browsers and mobile devices, boasting responsive design to boot. Furthermore, employees would be cut off from their tools far less, as cloud-based software doesn't need to be restricted for updates or patches, and up-time is dependably high.

      3. Lower Costs, Greater Freedom for Developers

      Implementing a cloud-based architecture relieves significant workload from an organization's IT teams. Traditionally, on-premise systems relied on servers, data centers, and a team of developers on hand to manage and maintain the system - which is a costly endeavor. Cloud architecture can reduce IT operating costs while freeing up IT teams to innovate rather than fix bugs and deal with server issues.

      4. Scalability and Flexibility

      Cloud-based computing is ideal for brands that have growing or fluctuating bandwidth demands. It allows brands to easily scale up their cloud capacity by simply changing their usage plan. Likewise, if a brand wants to scale down, then the brand's cloud-based provider can accommodate this as well.

      The level of flexibility provided by a cloud-based system can give businesses a competitive advantage. So it comes as no surprise to see IT directors and CIOs ranking 'operational agility' as a top driver for cloud adoption, according to a Gartner study.

      5. IoT Ready

      When combined with headless content management, cloud-based architecture enables brands to embrace the IoT era more rapidly, and at a lower cost. This is crucial as practically everyone has access to smartphone devices. By embracing the cloud, brands can interact with their consumers or internal staff on any platform, in any way and at any time it is required. And be able to deliver a more personalized experience.

      6. Better Disaster Recovery

      It's a no-brainer for businesses of all sizes to invest in a robust, comprehensive disaster recovery program. But for small businesses and start-ups, that lack of initial capital funding and expertise, investing in a recovery system is more of a distant dream. Thankfully, cloud architecture is helping these smaller organizations to buck that trend.

      A report by Aberdeen Group shows that small businesses are twice as likely to implement a cloud-based backup and disaster recovery solution compared to large businesses. That same study also noted that these cloud-based systems can save time and help brands avoid large upfront investments in servers to hold backup data.

      Finally, cloud-architecture limits the risk when hardware gets lost or stolen inside or outside the office. With the data being stored in the cloud instead of on the hardware, brands can access their data and restrict access where needed, no matter what happens to their machines.

      7. Enhanced Security

      One of the main benefits of cloud infrastructure versus on-premise hosting solutions is that cloud computing provides companies with the availability, reliability, and data security they need to conduct business in a global marketplace. Cloud security’s advanced cybersecurity features combine with the physical security infrastructure companies already have to create a comprehensive, 360º, secure solution to your cloud computing needs.

      8. Automatic Updates and Vendor Support

      Conventional architecture required a significant amount of time and internal resources to manage, maintain and keep the system up-to-date. Deploying updates requires systems to have downtime and be unavailable.

      Whereas, with cloud computing, the servers are off-premise and out of your hair. Cloud providers can take the strain of rolling out mandatory software and security updates with little to no downtime. Meaning that brands don't have to waste their time maintaining the system. Leaving them free to focus on things that matter, like growing their business.

      9. Smaller Upfront Costs

      Cloud-based architecture effectively removes the cost of expensive hardware and installation from the equation. Most cloud-based providers offer an affordable subscription-based model that is fairly straightforward to set up and manage.

      10. Less vendor lock in

      One of dotCMS' clients, TELUS, took advantage of dotCMS as a headless CMS to serve 400+ retail outlets while maintaining a consistent brand message. Furthermore, dotCMS is a multi-tenant CMS, which means all the sites and experiences that are operating on a single dotCMS instance are sharing the same database, content, and resources, making it a cost-effective solution for the telecommunications giant.

      11. Encourages Remote Working

      According to a study conducted by Stanford, employees who work from home are 13 percent more productive than those who work in an office environment. Cloud computing allows staff to work from anywhere in the world, freeing them from their offices.

      Another study reported that 42 percent of workers would be happy to take an average pay cut of 6 percent of their salary to be able to telecommute. Thus, with cloud-architecture, brands can actually remodel their business to cut costs in other areas of the organization.

      12. Increases Collaboration

      With teams being able to work remotely through cloud computing solutions, teams can access, edit, download, upload, and share content at any time. That means colleagues can work together on the same content while being on opposite sides of the globe.

      13. Sustainability

      Going green is now more important than ever, and with cloud computing, your organization can reduce its carbon footprint.

      Cloud computing does not require you to invest in energy-intensive physical servers, which can become a costly affair for both the company wallet and the earth's environment.

      By taking advantage of cloud computing services, you are reducing paper waste and relying on virtual services instead of hardware. Plus, since cloud computing promotes remote working, you can potentially reduce emissions associated with your employee's daily commute.

      14. The Cloud is Reliable and Accessible

      Google's compute engine SLA explicitly states that they provide a 99.99 percent monthly uptime. If Google fails to deliver this, then customers can receive Financial Credits.

      For employees who may have forgotten a file or flash drive at work, it is good to know that they can readily access a cloud-based drive, like Google Drive, and download the files without worrying about downtime, disorganization, or accidental deletion.

      Cloud Computing Terminology Glossary

      Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 38.1% in 2022 to total $397.4 billion, up from $270 billion in 2020, according to Gartner. With such numbers, it is fair to say that cloud-based technologies are no longer emerging technologies, they're now the default choice. 

      To help you familiarize yourself with all the technicalities of cloud computing, we've compiled a list of the essential cloud computing terminologies.

      The Cloud A metaphorical term to describe the internet as we know it, or, in a B2B environment, ‘The Cloud’ may refer to the cloud computing service in question (Amazon AWS or Google Drive, for instance).
      Amazon Web Services (AWS) AWS is Amazon’s suite of public cloud services, that includes EC2, S3, RDS, SQS, and VPC. AWS operates from numerous locations in North and South America, Asia, Europe, and Australia.
      Linux A Unix-based open-source operating system that is prominently used in cloud computing.
      Cloud-Oriented Architecture or COA A term, coined by AWS’s Jeff Barr, is used to describe a cloud-based architecture where an application serves other applications in a cloud environment. In this type of architecture, both IT infrastructure and software applications are optimized for use in a cloud computing environment.
      Cloud Migration The process of transferring a company’s data, applications, and services stored on an on-premise firewall-protected server to the cloud, where the information can be accessed on an on-demand basis.
      Server Requests A request made by a client using a web application on a browser or touchpoint to a server to retrieve information or execute a function.
      SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) There are four primary cloud computing types, and yet more are emerging. There’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) for web-based applications, infrastructure-as-a-service (SaaS) for cloud-based access to computing power and storage, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) which provide developers the tools and features to create and host web applications, and Content-as-a-service for centralized delivery of content.
      Cloud Storage A service that lets you save your data, files, and folders on the Internet via an offsite data center or storage facility that is managed and maintained by a third-party.
      Cluster A cluster is referred to a group of either services, containers, or computers that are linked together and function as if they are a single unit. Clusters provide high availability and/or load balancing.
      Container A container is a standard unit of software that packages up both code and its dependencies to run the application quickly and independently in any computing environment. dotCMS lets you containerize your content by content type and template. You can package these content containers with different functions.
      Virtual Machine (VM) A virtual machine, or VM, is a file, that is normally called an image, that acts like an actual computer. It achieves this by virtualizing the hardware to save server space. Infrastructure-as-a-Service is usually provided as a VM image that can be started and stopped as and when required.
      Cloud Servers Virtualized servers that are running either Windows or Linux operating systems. These servers are instantiated via API or web interface. Cloud Servers act in the same way as physical servers and can be managed by an administrator or root level - this is dependent on the cloud hosting provider and server type.
      APIs An Application Program Interface, or API, refers to how software applications or computer processes communicate with each other, often known as API calls. The definition of the term can vary upon its usage. It can refer to a single call to retrieve information or it can be a set of calls for an application like Google Maps. In cloud environments, this is occasionally referred to as Web API.
      Content-as-a-Service (CaaS) A model where the provider delivers content on-demand. The content is stored centrally in the cloud, and it is delivered to various channels, devices, and touchpoints. dotCMS provides CaaS via RESTful API.
      Content Delivery Network (CDN) A type of infrastructure that consists of multiple computers each containing copies of data that are located in different places on the network. This enables clients to access the copy closest to them.
      DevOps The software development practice of combining both development and operation teams to allow for continuous delivery of value to the customer. The practice enables faster software release and efficient continuous improvements.
      Docker An open source software that automatically initiates the deployment and runtime of applications inside containers.
      Elastic Computing Elastic computing provides the capability to provision and deprovision both computing and storage resources to coincide with the demands of peak usage, without having to worry about capacity planning around uneven usage patterns.
      Hybrid Cloud A cloud solution that combines both public and private clouds together to allow data and applications to be shared on both cloud platforms. Hybrid cloud provides businesses with a greater degree of flexibility to scale up or down, and also offers more options for deployment. dotCMS is a hybrid solution that can integrate with both cloud-based and on-premise infrastructures.
      Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Also known as hardware-as-a-service (HaaS), IaaS delivers a virtualized computer environment over the Internet. The infrastructure can include servers, software, and network equipment.
      Middleware A type of software that lies between the operating system and the application that is running on it. Middleware enables data management and communication for distributed applications, including cloud-based applications. Examples of middleware include content management systems, web servers, and application servers.
      Multi-tenant Multi-tenant is a term used to describe multiple sites utilizing the same public cloud.
      Multitenancy The ability to run multiple clients that all share the same resources (applications or services) running on the same physical hardware.
      Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) A cloud-based development platform that is delivered as a service over the Internet. An example of PaaS is Microsoft Azure.
      Private Cloud A cloud-based service that is delivered via a private internal network to select users. Private clouds are not available to the general public.
      Public Cloud A cloud-based service that is available to the general public, either as a freemium product or as a paid monthly subscription.
      Serverless Computing A cloud computing model where the provider manages the server and provisions. Serverless computing enables developers to focus their time on building their applications, and less on managing the infrastructure.
      Cloud Vendor Lock-in Vendor lock-in occurs when there is an over-dependence on a cloud vendor and there is little flexibility to migrate to or integrate with other vendors due to the absence of support for APIs, standardized protocols, data structures, and service models. With best of breeds, you avoid vendor lock-in thanks to its ability to integrate with multiple vendors.
      Vertical Cloud A cloud computing environment that has been optimized to meet the needs and compliance of specialized industries like healthcare, financial services, and government operations.
      Private Cloud A private cloud that operates within a public or shared cloud. For example, Amazon VPC allows Amazon EC2 to integrate with a legacy infrastructure on an IPsec VPN.

      Embrace Cloud Computing with dotCMS

      Cloud-based architecture provides a number of benefits that enables brands to gain a competitive advantage whilst improving productivity, reducing costs, and being accessible via the latest IoTs.

      So, for ambitious brands looking to thrive in the post-IoT era, it's time to leave on-premise hosting behind, and head for the clouds.

      Designed for both Marketing and IT teams, dotCMS Cloud architecture enables your team to be more flexible and adaptable in order to keep up with the latest innovations and accommodate changes in customer trends, reducing the Total Cost of Ownership and improving ROI.

      What's the difference between a headless CMS and a hybrid CMS, and which one is best suited for an enterprise?

      With dotCMS, tools like TimeMachine and Workflow Management help enterprises control content versioning, content edits, user permissions, workflows and more.

      When it comes to the content foundation of a digital experience platform, critical capabilities are reasonably straightforward. There are only four, really - security, scalability, and containerization. 

      Read More Here: Cloud CMS Product Brief 

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      product brief

      dotCMS Cloud: Why Cloud - and Why Now?

      Designed for both Marketing and IT teams, dotCMS Cloud architecture enables your team to be more flexible and adaptable in order to keep up with the latest innovations and accommodate changes in customer trends, reducing the Total Cost of Ownership and improving ROI.

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