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26 August 2023 - 6 minutes

Mastering the Cloud: A Primer on Cloud Computing and Its Applications

Take a deep dive into everything cloud computing.

Ironhack - Changing The Future of Tech Education

DevOps & Cloud

The cloud is a place that for many is shrouded in mystery; it’s not something tangible that you can physically touch or see like laptop or desktop storage hardware. Nevertheless, data storage and other services that cloud computing does offer is an incredible tool to work more efficiently, affordably and intelligently, which is why the clouds have already formed–we’re in the storm. 

Before we navigate this powerful storm together, it’s important to know what cloud computing is capable of. Let’s dive in.

What is Cloud Computing?

When you are using any of the several services that the cloud offers, you are engaging in cloud computing. Cloud computing requires internet connectivity and its services take the hassle out of downloading, installing, and reconfiguring software or buying, making space for, and lugging around more hardware. The goal of cloud computing is to simplify computer usage and make it more flexible and simple for the user. 

How does it accomplish the task of making computing more efficient and flexible? Cloud computing services can shed light on that.

Cloud Computing Services

Although there are many services that cloud computing offers, the three main ones are:

  • Infrastructure as a Service: one of the services with which most people associate the cloud is storage, but in addition to storage services, IaaS also provides access to networking and virtual machines. It provides the user with the possibility to run their own operating systems and applications without affecting the underlying infrastructure and as a result, there is no need to deal with configuring, downloading, and making adjustments to the computer. 

  • Platform as a Service: although IaaS is more commonly used by people, platform as a service is an extremely efficient tool for developers who are building and creating new software. PaaS provides developers the opportunity to deploy, manage, and play around with applications that they’re building without making any changes to the underlying software. They can then focus on coding and the application on which they are working.

  • Software as a Service: users often need access to a variety of applications and by paying a subscription fee, they can access software as a service. Logging onto the website, the subscriber can use the software or applications without having to download, install, update, or make space on their hard drive for the programs. Many of the applications that you already use are actually SaaS, although you may not have realized it.

To access these services, it’s often necessary to pay. There are a wide range of service providers that have developed and maintain a range of software for any of your needs.

Cloud Computing Software

There are a multitude of service providers that give users access to their cloud computing software and can be broken down into the different services of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS and their function. 

IaaS and virtualization

  • Amazon Web Services

  • Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines

  • Google Cloud Compute Engine

  • VMware vSPHERE

PaaS and development tools

  • Heroku

  • Google App Engine

  • Microsoft Azure App Service

  • GitHub

SaaS and business and productivity-based software

  • Salesforce

  • Microsoft 365

  • Dropbox

SaaS and communication and collaboration-based software

  • Slack

  • Microsoft Teams

  • Zoom

SaaS and business and analytics-based software

  • Google Analytics

  • Tableau Online

  • Microsoft Power BI

Cloud computing is extremely versatile, customizable depending on you or your company’s wants and needs. Given the vast number of available cloud computing software, you’ll definitely find the right one.

Cloud Computing Applications

Thanks to all the cloud computing software and services, the applications of cloud computing are boundless. As companies and individuals continue depending on and leveraging their devices, cloud computing will also grow more in what they can provide their users. Currently, the five following cloud computing applications are what clients are looking for in their cloud computing services:

Data storage

One of the most essential and widespread applications of the cloud is data storage and as the world uses their devices for both personal and professional matters, the need for more space for their pictures, videos, documents, projects, and other files climbs as well. Most smartphone and computer users already rely on cloud computing’s data storage feature as their dependence on and use of the digital world grows larger. 

Compute resources

Companies are constantly trying to grow and by outsourcing computer resources to a cloud computing service and accessing virtualized computer power, they can improve efficiency greatly. They also can run applications and automated programs and have no need to depend on their own physical hardware. 

Software development and deployment

The tech world has a serious need for cloud computing, but it’s especially crucial for software developers. When designing, testing, and deploying their software, web development teams rely on cloud computing to be an infrastructure that won’t be impacted by their work. The use of cloud computing provides them with the opportunity to focus on coding instead of worrying about the underlying infrastructure.

Big data analytics

One of the most important aspects of big data analytics is the sheer amount of the data that data analysts use and because of this high number, they require not only a lot of storage space, but also computing power. 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

In addition to the computing power and storage space that big data analytics need, other virtual machines are leveraged to help with computing power for AI and machine learning software that perform complex analysis and other functions. 

Benefits of Cloud Computing

Thanks to all the features and applications of cloud computing, companies and individuals benefit immensely in a variety of ways. Some of the benefits of cloud computing are:


The cloud gives businesses the power to scale their computing resources up and down and in doing so, they are ensuring that they are staying within computing resources parameters. This prevents them from waiting to scale up and buy the necessary hardware when they’ve reached their upper limit.

Cost efficiency

Thanks to all the services that cloud computing provides, there is no need for companies to spend money upfront on hardware or infrastructure that may become insufficient or unnecessary in the future. By purchasing a pay-as-you-go cloud service, companies can avoid wasting money and easily expand their subscription service with a click of the mouse. 


Not only does a business have the option to scale their cloud to their needs, but also they can deploy applications and services quickly when needed. If there are any market changes or opportunities to which they need to respond, they can make the appropriate adjustments and decisions accordingly.


Where there’s internet, there’s the cloud so since internet connectivity is ubiquitous around the world, users can use it almost anywhere. With only access to the internet, you can use the cloud from almost anywhere and with teams spanning the globe, cloud accessibility facilitates not only communication and collaboration, but also shared file usage.

Backup and disaster recovery

Although it’s only a precaution, the cloud often saves your data and keeps backups of it in the case of a disaster or other problem and cloud service providers will keep your data in more than one site so as to avoid the possibility of losing it. 

The importance of the cloud for many businesses is immense and because of it, the need to have professionals with expertise in cloud computing and its infrastructure is also becoming more essential for making their teams. 

Cloud Computing Jobs

According to LinkedIn, cloud computing-related jobs are one of the fastest expanding professions in the tech world at a 30% growth rate annually and a projected global market value of $832.1 billion by 2025. As mentioned above, the dependence on the cloud by not only individuals, but also companies is increasing and not expected to slow down any time soon. As technology develops more, more cloud-related job openings will open up, such as:

  • Cloud solutions architect

  • Cloud engineer 

  • Cloud developer

  • Cloud DevOps engineer

  • Cloud security engineer

  • Cloud data engineer

  • Cloud database administrator

  • Cloud project manager

  • Cloud consultant

More careers in cloud computing are worth exploring since the number of opportunities in cloud computing is increasing greatly. To follow this career, you can take several different paths; some may start with a bootcamp in web development, while others study an undergraduate degree in computer science. A great way to show that you’re invested in the cloud and make yourself stand out is to study in a cloud certification program. 

Cloud Computing Certification

If you want to work in cloud computing, first things first: you have to learn about it in a certification program and before that, there may be prerequisites to be accepted into one of the cloud certification programs. The following are cloud computing certification programs that you can take to improve your cloud expertise:

  • Amazon Web Services Certifications

  • Microsoft Azure Certifications

  • Google Cloud Certifications

  • CompTIA Cloud+ Certification

  • Certified Cloud Security Professional

  • Certified Cloud Practitioner

  • VMWare Cloud Certifications

  • Cisco Certified Cloud Associate 

But prior to working hard for that certification, there are some fundamentals that are necessary to set you up for success and an incredible way to create a strong programming base is at Ironhack. Learn more at the courses page available here and get started on your journey into tech. 

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