Chapter 1. What is “cloud”?


This chapter covers

  • Overview of “the cloud”
  • When and when not to use cloud hosting and what to expect
  • Explanation of cloud pricing principles
  • What it means to build an application for the cloud
  • A walk-through of Google Cloud Platform

The term “cloud” has been used in many different contexts and it has many different definitions, so it makes sense to define the term—at least for this book.

Cloud is a collection of services that helps developers focus on their project rather than on the infrastructure that powers it.

In more concrete terms, cloud services are things like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) or Google Compute Engine (GCE), which provide APIs to provision virtual servers, where customers pay per hour for the use of these servers.

In many ways, cloud is the next layer of abstraction in computer infrastructure, where computing, storage, analytics, networking, and more are all pushed higher up the computing stack. This structure takes the focus of the developer away from CPUs and RAM and toward APIs for higher-level operations such as storing or querying for data. Cloud services aim to solve your problem, not give you low-level tools for you to do so on your own. Further, cloud services are extremely flexible, with most requiring no provisioning or long-term contracts. Due to this, relying on these services allows you to scale up and down with no advanced notice or provisioning, while paying only for the resources you use in a given month.

1.1. What is Google Cloud Platform?

1.2. Why cloud?

1.3. What to expect from cloud services

1.4. Building an application for the cloud

1.5. Getting started with Google Cloud Platform

1.6. Interacting with GCP