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What are Cloud Platforms?
Cloud computing platforms or PaaS (Platform as a Service) is a type of platform that offers a development environment to developers. Typically, PaaS model providers provide users with a computing platform, that usually includes an operating system, programming-language execution environment, database, and web server. This allows developers to write applications that run in the cloud, or use some cloud based services, or both. There are developer toolkits and standards for development, as well as distribution and payment channels. Some popular and widely used PaaS offers are Microsoft, Azure and Google.
What are Cloud Platforms Used for?
The use of cloud computing and cloud platforms is often credited with increased competitiveness due to cost reduction, improved flexibility, and optimal resource utilization. Cloud platforms are versatile and can be applied in many industries since they can support projects of any scale and complexity in a stable environment.
Some situations where cloud platforms can be used are:
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Using PaaS allows companies to increase speed of development on a ready-to-use platform to deploy applications. It is also used when companies offer pay-to-use IT cloud infrastructure services since it lowers acquisition, management, and maintenance costs.
Testing and Development
Unlike traditional cases where you need to secure a budget, set up the environment by using significant physical assets, manpower and time, cloud solutions offer readily available testing and development environments tailored to the business needs. Often this combines automated provisioning and virtualized resources that additionally ease and speed up the processes.
Big Data Analysis
One very important aspect of cloud computing is the ability to tap into vast quantities of structured and unstructured data and harness the benefits of extracting business value. Collecting data from various sources can help derive information about consumer behavior and allow businesses to target their campaigns to a particular population segment.
File and Data Storage
Cloud platforms offer the possibility to store, access, and retrieve files from any web-based interface. This makes it convenient not only to store, but also to share large quantities of data across different business units and large number of users.
Advantages of Using Cloud Platforms
Cloud computing and cloud platforms offer a multitude of advantages to users. From better accessibility and scalability to cost reduction and improved organizational agility, they give companies a better and more efficient way of utilizing resources and improve the overall workflow.
The main advantages of cloud computing:
Device and Location Independence
Users can access systems using a web browser from any location or device they are using (eg. PC, mobile phone, tablet). The cloud platform infrastructure is off-site and usually provided by a third-party, providing users with unlimited accessibility.
Easier Maintenance and Lower Costs
Cloud platforms enable easy maintenance because they do not need to be installed on each user’s computer. This already existing infrastructure saves set-up time and eliminates maintenance costs.
Multitenancy and Resource Pooling
A large number of users can share resources across multiple departments and even physical locations. Additionally, the infrastructure centralization allows resource pooling and multiple consumer service using a multi-tenant model which dynamically assigns resources according to demand.
Increased Productivity and Faster Time to Market
Using a cloud platform improves productivity, since teams can work simultaneously, and saves time on information sharing or application installations. This greatly improves time-to-market allowing companies to deliver solutions faster.
Due to data centralization and increased security-focused resources, security is greatly improved. Cloud service providers use high-end systems to protect sensitive data and assign dedicated resources to resolve any information security issues.