Guide to Learning Cloud Computing, incl. Free Tutorials • Discoverology
32 items | 327m read

Ultimate Learning Guide To Cloud Computing

7m read | Introduction
Ultimate Learning Guide To Cloud Computing

The technical term ‘cloud computing’ has turned into a buzzword and is very popular nowadays. You must have heard it at least once from people around you! The history of this phrase and its appearance dates back to the 1990s. It was first spotted in an internal document by Compaq Computer Corporation in early 1993 and started gaining worldwide attention and popularity after Amazon launched its ‘Elastic Cloud Computing’ platform-Amazon web services-in 2006.

The new computing trend today has been around for quite some though and involves users-businesses, individuals, etcetera-buying in computing services instead of addressing their tasks the traditional and more complex way-the DIY way. This upgraded method in the computing world is called cloud computing. Let’s now dive into the details of what cloud computing is and what its main principles are!

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing simply and comprehensively means that you, as a user, are using the Internet instead of your PC’s hard drive to store and access your programs and data. The Internet is basically the ‘cloud’ here which replaces the software and hardware (local networking) usage involved in conventional computing methods and allows you to buy a relevant service from another company.

When using cloud computing services, the end-user doesn’t have a direct concern about the locations and operations of the IT infrastructures and software of the service provider-they’re just ‘simply’ buying the services they require via the Internet. Clients can quite easily make subscriptions for the computing services delivered and offered through the ‘cloud’ and gain access to strong IT resources.

Types of Cloud Computing Services

The concept of cloud computing and its operational structure includes the provision and delivery of three distinct computing services to clients and users via the ‘Internet’, regardless of the geographical distance between the users and the service providers.

Defining these three models will involve a certain level of overlapping and vagueness, but below are our easy-to-understand explanations for all three.

1) PaaS (Platform as a Service)

This service enables clients to develop & publish their very own customized applications in hosted environments. In simpler words, clients are able to use Web-tools to create applications which function on systems hardware and software provided by other companies. It allows clients to work in an integrated environment and provides them with a framework for software development, deployment, testing and maintenance.

Using this service can be compared to ordering and eating at a fast-food restaurant, such as Chipotle; you have the option of choosing from several different toppings but can only choose from a few bases-taco, burrito, bowl, etcetera. PaaS offers its clients a fixed software stack & OS on top of which they can run their own software. A very common example is

2) SaaS (Software as a Service)

Another term for this cloud computing model is ‘software on-demand’. This service enables clients to use and have access to software applications through a web browser that is connected to the Internet. It basically means that clients are able to use and work on applications that are running on ‘someone else’s’ system.

Using this service can be compared to borrowing a book from a library (keep in mind that the factor of physical access associated with this example does not apply to SaaS as it works on a remote basis); you visit the library, read the book you wanted to and come back after returning it. With Saas, clients use software that is available online (over the internet) and that’s about it! Best-known examples of this model are Google Applications & web-based email applications, such as Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail.     

3) IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

This service is also known as ‘Hardware as a Service’. It enables clients to use raw IT resources & hardware-storage, firewalls, servers, etcetera-over the Internet and use the ‘pay-as-you-go’ method. IaaS is often considered to be the basic layer of the cloud computing models.

Using this service can be compared to purchasing furniture pieces from Walmart; you are provided with all the necessary materials and you need to ‘build’ it yourself. With IaaS, clients are given access to a ‘computer’ and they are free thereafter to install all software and OS on it according to their needs. Common examples include Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine and Microsoft Azure.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

Now that we know what exactly cloud computing is and the principles it is based on, taking a look at the advantages and disadvantages of this ‘new’ technology will help you in assessing it more clearly.


— Cloud computing gives users more control and authority in the sense that they can buy only the services that they need and at the time they are needed.

— These services allow users to have access to their data and programs from all around the world from any device-computers, smartphones, tablets, etcetera-which adds the element of flexibility. 

— The high capital costs of buying peripherals and computers are eliminated and replaced with affordable subscription charges.

— Affordability allows small and medium-sized firms and businesses to use top-notch and high quality IT services at a low cost.

— Adding or removing services can be done at a very short span of time.

— Since everything is automatic and internet-based, users are freed of the responsibilities of fixing, monitoring and maintaining as all is taken care of by cloud computing service providers.


— One-off initial costs are replaced with ongoing frequent charges that turn into operational costs for users. This can prove to be expensive in the longer run.

— A high-speed and reliable broadband internet connection is essential for users to smoothly use and access cloud computing services. This can be a problem for those residing in rural areas or developing countries.

— Buying-in services restrict options (clients buy what service providers sell) and precise solutions for users and make them dependent on service providers. Unexpected changes made to the services provided have the potential of impacting global users and clients adversely.

About This Cloud Computing Guide

This guide offers the most insightful articles, educational videos, expert insights, specialist tips and best free tutorials about cloud computing from around the internet. The learning guide is split into four levels: introduction, basics, advanced and expert. You can learn at your own pace. Each item shows an estimated reading or watching time, allowing you to easily plan when you want to read or watch each item. Below you’ll find a table of contents that enables you to easily find a specific topic you might be interested in.

11 items | 115m read
20m read | Basics

What is Cloud Computing?

Rather than owning their own computing infrastructure or data centers, companies can rent access to anything from applications to storage from a cloud service provider.

One benefit of using cloud computing services is that firms can avoid the upfront cost and complexity of owning and maintaining their own IT infrastructure, and instead simply pay for what they use, when they use it.
24m watch | Basics

Cloud Computing Tutorial for Beginners

This Cloud Computing tutorial will help you understand why Cloud Computing has become so popular, what is Cloud Computing, types of Cloud Computing, Cloud providers, lifecycle of a Cloud Computing solution and finally a demo on AWS EC2 and AWS S3. With the increased importance of Cloud Computing, qualified Cloud solutions architects and engineers are in great demand. Organizations have moved to cloud platforms for better scalability, mobility, and security. In simple words, cloud computing is the use of network of remote servers hosted on the internet to store, manage and process data rather than a local server.
6m watch | Basics

Changes to Computer Thinking

Stephen Fry explains the history of computer thinking and the revolution of utility in cloud computing in this 5-minute animation.
7m read | Basics

A Brief History of Cloud Computing

In 1963, DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), presented MIT with $2 million for Project MAC. The funding included a requirement MIT develop technology allowing for a “computer to be used by two or more people, simultaneously.” In this case, one of those gigantic, archaic computers using reels of magnetic tape for memory and was the precursor to what has now become collectively known as Cloud Computing. It acted as a primitive Cloud with two or three people accessing it.
7m read | Basics

SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS: What’s The Difference

There are usually three models of cloud service to compare: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Each of these has its own benefits, as well as variances, and it is necessary to understand the differences among SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS to know how to best choose one for your organization.
10m read | Basics

Comparing Saas vs On-Premise

Today’s computing technologies offer companies almost unlimited opportunities to dramatically improve productivity while substantially reducing costs. Presenting a challenge, however, is the choice to be made whether to enhance in-house capabilities or move some or all enterprise computing processes to the cloud. Analysis and comparison of corporate demands and computing options reveal that cloud computing provides the most comprehensive response to most of today’s, and tomorrow’s, critical corporate technological demands.
14m read | Basics

Cloud Iaas Providers Compared

Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, is a cloud computing model which provides outsourced computing infrastructure to users and organizations. It can provide users with resources that include servers, network connections, storage, and features like content delivery networks and load balancing. IaaS providers maintain the equipment, while users rent or buy the specific services that they need.
12m read | Basics

Cloud PaaS Providers Compared

The emergence of PaaS is designed to release application developers from much of this complexity, by providing them with the operational components underlying application development, such as operating systems, databases, and middleware, etc. Developers of business applications are released from the overhead of worrying about scalability and security issues and are free to focus on developing applications.
5m read | Basics

The Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has become an essential part of most businesses. No matter the kind of business you have, a certain cloud type can work for you. There are public, private, and hybrid clouds today. However, although it has its pros, there are some cons as well. That is what I will be discussing in this post.
5m read | Basics

The Basics of Cloud Computing Economics

The economics of cloud computing can be quite complex to understand, as several factors impact your cloud ROI. For example, when choosing the right cloud solution, there are dozens of different configurations to choose from, each one differing in terms of the number of CPU cores, memory and local storage attached to it. To help you through that, let’s look into cloud economics in detail.
5m read | Basics

How Cloud Computing Changes Enterprise IT Economics

Put bluntly, the traditional assumptions of IT—stable workloads and predictable growth—are no longer tenable, having been undone by increased business process expectations and the accelerating rush to digital applications as the primary method of customer interaction.

These trends dislocate established IT economics and present IT groups with a financial challenge—one that threatens to topple their position as monopoly supplier of computing to the larger enterprise.
9 items | 65m read
14m watch | Advanced

Cloud Computing Risks

According to Gartner, there are seven risks about holding data in the cloud – Manek Dubash, Jon Honeyball and Microsoft’s Steve Plank and Andrew Fryer talk about these risks and what can be done to minimise them in this 14-minute video.
7m read | Advanced

Critical Cloud Security Threats

Cloud computing provides many advantages, such as speed and efficiency via dynamic scaling. But there are also a host of potential threats in cloud computing. These cloud security threats include data breaches, human error, malicious insiders, account hijacking, and DDoS attacks. In fact, a Ponemon Institute study indicated that overall, a data breach was three times more likely to occur for businesses that use the cloud than for those that don’t.
10m read | Advanced

Risks, Threats, & Vulnerabilities in Moving to the Cloud

Cloud environments experience–at a high level–the same threats as traditional data center environments; the threat picture is the same. That is, cloud computing runs software, software has vulnerabilities, and adversaries try to exploit those vulnerabilities. However, unlike information technology systems in a traditional data center, in cloud computing, responsibility for mitigating the risks that result from these software vulnerabilities is shared between the CSP and the cloud consumer.
4m read | Advanced

Cloud Security Questions You Need to Ask Your Cloud Providers

By asking a lot of questions before you engage your cloud providers you’ll save you a lot of potential headaches down the road.

But if you’re like most companies who are already utilizing the cloud to some degree, now’s a great time to reevaluate your providers’ security practices so you’re aware of any potential shortcomings.

The following questions will help you gauge a cloud provider’s security expertise, along with any risks posed by their services.
6m read | Advanced

Public Cloud vs Private Cloud vs Hybrid Cloud: What’s The Difference?

The transformative networked computing model can be categorized into three major types: Public Cloud, Private Cloud and Hybrid Cloud. The technology service can be accessed in various models and deployment strategies, including the most popular Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The underlying infrastructure architecture can take various forms and features, including virtualized, software-defined and hyper-converged models, among others.

This article explores the key differences between the classifications of Public, Private and Hybrid cloud environments.
4m read | Advanced

Pros and Cons of Public and Private Cloud Computing

As more businesses move to the cloud to handle data storage, computing, and IT security, the shift has a potential to be disruptive to the way small businesses conduct business. While you want to stay ahead of the curve, the question remains: Which solution is right for your business?
5m read | Advanced

Things You Can Do To Avoid Cloud Vendor Lock-in

Fears of cloud vendor lock-in stem from a number of places.

First, it’s the loss of control over the data and infrastructure that power business’ applications. Not having complete control over aspects like security, uptime, and overall infrastructure management can be a scary thing.

Next, it’s the dependence on a single vendor for so many critical needs. Your servers, data, networking, user management, and much more are in the hands of one company, so the dependence on your provider is huge. And if something goes wrong, it can be very detrimental to your business.
7m read | Advanced

Serverless Platform Comparison: Google Cloud Function vs. AWS Lambda
8m read | Advanced

What is Kubernetes?

Containers have been helping teams of all sizes to solve issues with consistency, scalability, and security. Using containers, such as Docker, allow you to separate the application from the underlying infrastructure. Gaining that separation requires some new tools in order to get the most value out of containers, and one of the most popular tools used for container management and orchestration is Kubernetes. It’s is an open-source container orchestration tool designed to automate deploying, scaling, and operating containerized applications.
11 items | 140m read
5m read | Expert

Questions to Ask Your Cloud Service Provider

A cloud service provider (CSP) is a company that offers one or more pieces of cloud computing functionality including SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.

Likely, the first thing you’ll discover when looking for a cloud service provider is that there’s a very large number to choose from. How do you know which provider is the right one for your small business? The key to success lies in the answers to these questions.
9m read | Expert

Criteria to Ensure You Select the Right Cloud Service Provider

The available market is vast, with a myriad of providers offering an even larger number of services. From market giants like Microsoft, Amazon and Google through to smaller niche players offering bespoke services.

So how do you select the right cloud provider from so many? The answer is a defined selection and procurement process appropriately weighted towards your unique set of needs.

We’ve distilled the key factors into a definitive list of 8 consideration areas.
18m read | Expert

Methodology for Selecting the Cloud Computing Service Model

Cloud computing is a new technology that has great potential for the business world. Many business firms have implemented, are implementing, or planning to implement cloud computing technology. The cloud computing resources are delivered in various forms of service models which make it challenging for business customers to select the model that suits their business needs. This paper proposes a novel group-based decision-making method where a group of decision makers is involved in the decision process.

Each decision maker provides weights for the cloud selection criteria. Based on weight aggregations and deviations, decision makers would select the alternative which has the highest ratio of deviation to mean is selected. The method is illustrated with an example on the selection of cloud service models. This method is useful for IT managers in selecting the appropriate cloud service model for their organizations.
9m read | Expert

Preparing to Adopt the Cloud: A Cloud Migration Checklist

If your organization is looking to modernize mission-critical applications and you’re planning a cloud migration as part of this process, you don’t want to repeat others’ mistakes. So this post leverages those learnings to build a 10-step checklist of the major areas you need to consider and address to maximize your chances of a successful cloud migration.
19m read | Expert

Planning the Migration of Enterprise Applications to the Cloud

Application migration is the process of redeploying an application, typically on newer platforms and infrastructure. The process involves the staging of the new environment before the actual cutover and requires coordination of IT teams at the time of cutover. If the migration is on a compatible platform, the application does not need to be recompiled.
6m read | Expert

Cloud Management: Best Practices Enabling Cloud Success

A well-managed cloud can help you reach the highest level of cloud maturity, reduce risks, and drive down costs significantly. A sure-fire way to achieve a well-managed cloud is to follow best practices throughout your cloud lifecycle. This article guides you with five cloud management best practices that are crucial to enable your cloud success.
24m read | Expert

Cloud Computing: Case Studies and Total Cost of Ownership

Shifting web applications to the cloud provides several technical advantages over locally managed servers. High availability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness are some of the most important benefits. However, the locally managed storage is still an attractive solution in a typical case of 10TB storage. Since Amazon offers lower storage pricing for huge amounts of data, readers are recommended to do their own analysis on the TCOs.
6m read | Expert

The Future of Cloud Services

The SaaS market is by far the largest market, according to a Gartner study that reported that enterprises spent $182B+ on cloud services, with SaaS services making up 43% of that spend.

While SaaS is currently the largest cloud service in terms of spend, IaaS is currently projected to be the fastest-growing market with a CAGR of 20% plus over the next 3 to 4 years. This bodes very well for the “big three” providers, AWS, Azure and GCP.
24m read | Expert

Making the Business Case for Cloud Computing

With typical IT organizations spending over 30% of their budget on infrastructure (primarily data centers and data networks), shifting some or all of this work to the cloud can save organizations anywhere from 10-20% of their annual IT budget, savings that can either be returned to the firm or reinvested in growth and innovation.

This cloud run-rate economic advantage comes from two primary cost drivers: higher utilization rates as a result of a significant drop in “capacity hoarding” and lower unit costs from the increased scale, newer technologies, best practices, and improved operational efficiency of the cloud providers.
10m read | Expert

Further Reading: Best Cloud Computing Books

Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions: Build cloud strategies that align technology and economics while effectively managing risk. Scaling the IT environment, making it resilient, and reducing costs are what organizations want. Architecting Cloud Computing Solutions presents and explains critical Cloud solution design considerations and technology decisions required to choose and deploy the right Cloud service and deployment models, based on your business and technology service requirements.

Cloud Computing: From Beginning To End. This book covers not only the technical details of how public and private cloud technology works but also the strategy, technical design, and in-depth implementation details required to migrate existing applications to the cloud. After reading this book, you will have a much better understanding of cloud technology and the steps required to quickly reap its benefits while at the same time lowering your IT implementation risk.

Ahead in the Cloud: Best Practices for Navigating the Future of Enterprise IT. Stephen Orban led Dow Jones’s journey toward digital agility as their CIO and now leads AWS’s Enterprise Strategy function, where he helps leaders from the largest companies in the world transform their businesses. As he demonstrates in this book, enterprises must re-train their people, evolve their processes, and transform their cultures as they move to the cloud.

The Cloud Adoption Playbook: Proven Strategies for Transforming Your Organization with the Cloud. This book helps business and technology leaders in enterprise organizations sort through the options and make the best choices for accelerating cloud adoption and digital transformation. Written by a team of IBM technical executives with a wealth of real-world client experience, this book cuts through the hype, answers your questions, and helps you tailor your cloud adoption and digital transformation journey to the needs of your organization.

10m read | Expert

Further Learning: Best Cloud Computing Courses

Cloud Computing by the University of Illinois. This course starts in the middle layer with Cloud Computing Concepts covering core distributed systems concepts used inside clouds, move to the upper layer of Cloud Applications and finally to the lower layer of Cloud Networking. We conclude with a project that allows you to apply the skills you’ve learned throughout the courses.

Amazon AWS Fundamentals: Going Cloud-Native. This course will introduce you to Amazon Web Services (AWS) core services and infrastructure. Through demonstrations, you’ll learn how to use and configure AWS services to deploy and host a cloud-native application.

Cloud Architecture with Google Cloud Partner Professional Certificate. This program provides the skills you need to advance your career in cloud architecture and provides a pathway to earn the industry-recognized Google Cloud Professional Cloud Architect certification. You’ll deploy solution elements, including infrastructure components such as networks, systems and applications services, and you’ll gain real world experience through a number of hands-on Qwiklabs projects that you can share with potential employers.

Getting Started with Cloud Computing. This is the first course in a larger training program dedicated to the important subject of cloud computing. The training program is divided into several levels enabling students to start from scratch and grow their knowledge step by step or maybe select a specific level according to their knowledge and experience.

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