Cloud computing services

The goal of cloud computing is to make running a business easier and more efficient, whether it's a small start-up or a large enterprise. Every business is unique and has different needs. To meet those needs, cloud computing providers offer a wide range of services.

You need to have a basic understanding of some of the services it provides. Let's briefly discuss the two most common services that all cloud providers offer – compute power and storage.

Compute power

When you send an email, book a reservation on the Internet, pay a bill online, or even take this Microsoft Learn module you're interacting with cloud-based servers that are processing each request and returning a response. As a consumer, we're all dependent on the computing services provided by the various cloud providers that make up the Internet.

When you build solutions using cloud computing, you can choose how you want work to be done based on your resources and needs. For example, if you want to have more control and responsibility over maintenance, you could create a virtual machine (VM). A VM is an emulation of a computer - just like your desktop or laptop you're using now. Each VM includes an operating system and hardware that appears to the user like a physical computer running Windows or Linux. You can then install whatever software you need to do the tasks you want to run in the cloud.

The difference is that you don't have to buy any of the hardware or install the OS. The cloud provider runs your virtual machine on a physical server in one of their datacenters - often sharing that server with other VMs (isolated and secure). With the cloud, you can have a VM ready to go in minutes at less cost than a physical computer.

VMs aren't the only computing choice - there are two other popular options: containers and serverless computing.