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Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is taking over the world of IT, and rightly so. It's a far, far more efficient way of allocating compute resources to those who need them. It's also cheaper than running your own infrastructure not to mention more secure and faster. Back in the day I remember it taking 12-24 hours to provision one or two physical servers for a customer. Now I can write some code and have entire networks setup in minutes, billed by the second, utilised as required and then deleted (stopping the billing process.)

Let's review Wikipedia's definition of cloud computing:

Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage (cloud storage) and computing power, without direct active management by the user. Large clouds often have functions distributed over multiple locations, each location being a data center. Cloud computing relies on sharing of resources to achieve coherence and economies of scale, typically using a "pay-as-you-go" model which can help in reducing capital expenses but may also lead to unexpected operating expenses for unaware users.

In this section we're going to focus on the basics of cloud computing such as the kind services you'll find, billing models, the security model, and APIs for automation. You'll find these topics will give you a good grounding in Cloud computing.

Basic Concepts

Cloud is a massive topic that you could spend and endless amount of time studying. In the interest of staying focused we'll cover the following topics which are mostly in-line with the AWS "Cloud Practitioner" certification:

  • Cloud Computing Basics
  • AWS Services
  • Security Model
  • Global Availability
  • Application Programming Interfaces (Overview)


I'm going to be mostly using AWS based resources on this page as it's the Cloud provider I know best. It's also the largest of all the suppliers and their documentation is mature.

Cloud Computing Basics

Topic Resource Location Link
General Overview AWS What is cloud computing?
IaaS Wikipedia IaaS
PaaS Wikipedia PaaS
SaaS Wikipedia SaaS
MBaaS Wikipedia MBaaS
FaaS Wikipedia FaaS
Billing Model Wikipedia Pay-as-you-use

AWS Services

Topic Resource Location Link
Compute AWS EC2 EC2
Storage AWS Storage (S3, EBS, EFS) AWS Storage
Networking AWS VPC AWS VPC

Security Model

Topic Resource Location Link
Shared Responsibility Model AWS Shared Responsibility Model
Cloud Security Basics NSA Cloud Security Basics
Private vs Public TechTarget (Use Reading Mode) Private vs. public cloud security: Benefits and drawbacks

Global Availability

Topic Resource Location Link
AWS Global Network AWS Global Infrastructure
GCP Global Network GCP Cloud Locations
Azure Global Network Azure Azure Global Network

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs; Overview)

Topic Resource Location Link
What is an API? AWS What is an API?