Cloud Services Explained – tutorial for beginners
If you’re new to the world of cloud services platforms like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, you’re in the right place. It can be a little overwhelming to understand what these super technical solutions actually do, so let’s start by comparing them to something a little easier to visualize. Imagine that you’ve built a new house and need to get electricity for it. You have two choices: generate your own electricity, or buy electricity from the power company. If you decide to generate your own electricity, you’ll need to invest a lot of money, space, and effort in building and maintaining your power source(s).
You could get a windmill or solar panels, but what if the weather doesn’t cooperate? What if the windmill breaks? Or what if you throw a massive party and suddenly need a lot more electricity for all those strobe lights and fog machines? Of course, you could always just buy a much bigger windmill, install hundreds of solar panels, or try to build your own nuclear plant in your basement to solve those problems..
.but now you might be spending a whole lot of time and money to generate way more power than you actually need.
Your other option is to buy electricity from the power company. For a monthly fee, the power company ensures that you have enough electricity to meet your needs. Whenever you keep the lights on late, or turn up the air conditioning, or throw another killer party, you pay a little more to get that extra power to your home.
When you’re out of town, you pay a lot less because you’re using less electricity. It’s convenient, reliable, and adaptable. Cloud service platforms, like AWS, works the same way as the power company. In the past, businesses used to buy and maintain their own equipment and infrastructure for their IT needs. Things like servers, switches, fans, and lots and lots of cables were kept onsite and maintained by the IT department.
But IT equipment isn’t cheap. It gets outdated quickly. You have to hire someone (or hire a whole department!) to maintain everything.
And if that cat meme your company created suddenly goes viral, there’s a good chance the increase in web traffic will overwhelm your infrastructure enough that the whole thing crashes and you lose your chance to spread the good word about cats.
Just like that windmill in your backyard, creating and maintaining your own IT infrastructure can be expensive, time-consuming, and unreliable. You either don’t have enough to meet your needs, or you buy too much and are sitting on under-utilized, expensive resources. That’s where services like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform come into play. Like the power company, they have the equipment and resources to provide on-demand IT infrastructure via the cloud. (Like, lots of equipment; huge warehouses all over the world full of servers, storage, databases, everything you could possibly need to rule the internet!
) So instead of building and maintaining everything yourself, you can use AWS to get exactly what your company needs, and instantly scale resources if (when) that cat video finally goes viral.
With AWS, businesses can access as many resources as they need almost instantly, and only pay for what they use. Amazon owns and maintains the network-connected hardware required for those services, while customers provision and use what they need via a web application. Easy, right? Today, many companies employ specialists who design, optimize, and manage the resources they’re using from AWS.
These network architects analyze the needs of the business (things like security needs, web traffic patterns, data storage, automation, and more) and configure AWS resources so that the company is optimizing the money it spends on cloud computing. Network architects use Lucidchart to diagram their network infrastructure. That way, instead of trying to determine how to best modify or visualize how a system is working using the AWS console (which looks like this), they can import their infrastructure using Lucidchart, then diagram how their AWS instance is configured.
So there you have it. The very quick, very high-level overview of cloud computing and how it applies to Lucidchart.