What Is Cloud Computing?

Accelerate business innovation, optimize costs, and gain flexibility with on-demand computing resources.

Cloud computing gives you remote access to computing, storage, and networking resources within your data center or through a public cloud service provider.

Today, virtually all businesses rely on cloud computing to some degree. But what is cloud computing, exactly?

Cloud computing gives you access to computing, storage, and networking resources on demand. These resources can come from either your own data center or from a cloud provider. Depending on the service types and deployment models you select, cloud computing can help you manage costs while making it possible to quickly launch new products or services, expand into new locations, and maximize performance and productivity.

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Large or small, businesses can benefit from cloud computing in a number of ways. An independent retail store might use the cloud for a simple payment processing service, while a global enterprise can draw from a full suite of data center resources for application development and deployment on a massive scale.

The cloud allows businesses to get the resources they need without having the hardware on-premises. This means businesses can deploy services wherever and whenever they want. Cloud computing can reduce costs by allowing hardware to be consolidated and managed in fewer locations. It provides the scalability to support fluctuating workloads, and it can empower collaboration among remote teams and locations.

Cloud Deployment Models

There are two basic cloud deployment models: Public and private. Your deployment model depends on your business needs and technical requirements. Because each workload has its own characteristics, you'll likely use a combination of public and private cloud services. This is known as a hybrid or multicloud approach.

This video compares public, private, and hybrid clouds and explores how each type meets specific business needs.

Public Cloud

The public cloud offers pay-as-you-go access to computing, storage, and networking resources. These are delivered through cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure*, Alibaba Cloud, Google Cloud, and IBM. Public cloud services require little upfront cost and can be deployed quickly for a fast time to market. They're also a good match for workloads that might only run for a short time.

Private Cloud

A private cloud is run on infrastructure in your data center. It requires a larger upfront cost and ongoing management, but it can deliver potential cost savings over the long term. A private cloud offers support for mission-critical workloads and legacy applications that are difficult or impossible to move to the public cloud. It's also an ideal model for helping ensure compliance with privacy regulations or protecting intellectual property.

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud unites your public and private cloud so that you can share applications and data between them as needed. This gives your business the flexibility to run applications in a way that helps maximize potential cost savings and use of resources while meeting requirements for scalability and control.

Multicloud

A multicloud approach involves a combination of services from different cloud providers. This gives you the most choice when it comes to services and pricing. A multicloud strategy relies on software to manage and orchestrate resources across disparate providers, but can offer businesses an incredibly flexible, cost-optimized cloud environment.

Because each workload has its own requirements, most businesses use a combination of public and private cloud services—known as a hybrid or multicloud approach.

Types of Cloud Computing

When it comes to purchasing cloud resources, there are many types of cloud service models to choose from. Selecting the right level of support can help you make the most of your budget and resources.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) gives you access to servers, networking, and storage. While this frees your business from having to own or maintain hardware, your IT team must still manage operating systems, databases, and applications. IaaS offers the most control and flexibility of all service models and can be easily scaled up or down as needed.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS) offers the same hardware resources as IaaS, plus the operating system and databases. PaaS lets your business develop, run, and manage applications without having to build and maintain infrastructure. It can also help streamline workflows since multiple users can access the development application simultaneously.

Function as a Service (SaaS)

With Function as a Service (FaaS), users manage only functions and data while the cloud provider manages the application. This allows developers to get the functions they need without paying for services when code isn't running.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Most businesses rely on a variety of Software as a Service (SaaS) products for their everyday operations. These are on-demand applications like CRM software and email. With SaaS, users don't need to manage anything except for their data. Licenses are purchased on a subscription basis and services are delivered immediately.

Cloud Security

Protecting your company's data and applications is critical to maintaining your competitive edge, reputation, and ability to do business as usual. A more secure cloud starts with hardware-based technologies, such as those available on Intel® Xeon® platforms. Open source software tools can help you make the most of Intel platform security technologies to help protect your data in the cloud.

Cloud Processors and Workload Optimization

A reliable, high-performance cloud starts with a foundation of server processors that can meet the needs of highly demanding applications, including analytics and AI. Intel® processors and accelerators help you achieve workload optimization in the cloud for virtually any application.

Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processor

With consistent, predictable performance in either the public cloud or on-premises, Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors give you fast, reliable processing across your cloud environments. Intel's continued innovation brings to the cloud new integrated features, such as Intel® Deep Learning Boost (Intel® DL Boost) to accelerate performance for artificial intelligence workloads and reduce the need for custom accelerators like GPUs.

Intel® FPGAs

Intel® FPGAs work together with CPUs to provide custom acceleration with excellent performance per watt. Because these multi-purpose FPGAs can be reconfigured, you can use them again and again.

Building a More Intelligent Cloud

At Intel, we engage with cloud providers and the developer community to ensure you can make the most of Intel® technologies, whether you're using on-premises infrastructure or public cloud services. This gives you high performance, reliability, and uptime, no matter how you're using the cloud.

Compare Cloud Deployment Models

Learn about the many different models for deployment in cloud computing and which options are best for your organization.

Public Cloud

The public cloud, powered by Intel, gives you additional capacity to speed your innovation.

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Private Cloud

A private cloud built with Intel® technologies provides control and high availability for mission-critical workloads and security.

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Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud gives you the best of both worlds by bringing together private and public cloud resources.

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Multicloud

Explore the benefits of a hybrid, multicloud approach that delivers on your business's needs for consistency, high performance, and security.

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Additional Resources and Solutions

Cloud Computing Overview

Explore the latest cloud computing strategies to increase flexibility, optimize costs, and improve efficiency.

Learn more

Cloud Solutions Provide a Competitive Advantage

Public, private, and hybrid clouds deliver IT services and capabilities for today's complex technological challenges, regardless of business size.

Learn more

Optimal Workload Placement Strategies

Understanding workload performance, security, integration, and data volume is critical in making a cloud hosting decision.

Learn more

Notices and Disclaimers

No product or component can be absolutely secure.

Your costs and results may vary.

Intel’s compilers may or may not optimize to the same degree for non-Intel® microprocessors for optimizations that are not unique to Intel® microprocessors. These optimizations include SSE2, SSE3, and SSSE3 instruction sets and other optimizations. Intel does not guarantee the availability, functionality, or effectiveness of any optimization on microprocessors not manufactured by Intel. Microprocessor-dependent optimizations in this product are intended for use with Intel® microprocessors. Certain optimizations not specific to Intel microarchitecture are reserved for Intel® microprocessors. Please refer to the applicable product User and Reference Guides for more information regarding the specific instruction sets covered by this notice. Notice Revision #20110804

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