How would you differentiate Cloud computing vs distributed computing?

How would you differentiate Cloud computing vs distributed computing?
Published By - Kelsey Taylor

Computer network technologies have seen tremendous enhancements. Cloud computing and Distributed Computing are two of the newer technologies that are disrupting the IT industry. Both the computing frameworks have referred to different things. But the basic idea between them is the same. Here we can learn more about cloud computing and distributed computing.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing refers to providing on-demand IT resources. Resources like servers, storage, database, networking, etc. over the internet. It is a technique that delivers hosted services over the internet to its customers.

Cloud computing helps IT infrastructure to be used as utilities on a pay-as-per-need basis. This will help businesses to use computing resources without installing and maintaining them on-premises.

According to Open Cirrus, Distributed computing is the use of distributed systems to solve single large problems by distributing tasks to single computers in the distributing systems. On the other hand, cloud computing is the use of network-hosted servers to do several tasks like storage, process, and management of data. Here we will give an in-depth analysis of the two.

Benefits of cloud computing

Compared to traditional on-premises IT, Cloud computing has the following benefits:

Lower IT costs:

Cloud computing allows you to offload a majority of the expense of buying, introducing, and many more.

Improve agility and time-to-value:

Cloud computing helps organizations to start using enterprise applications in minutes. In addition, it helps to sell and configure supporting hardware by empowering certain users, developers and data scientists.

Scale more and cost-effectively:

Cloud computing gives flexibility to the IT organizations. They can opt to subscribe to just as many resources as are required by them. This also helps keep the operating costs to an optimum level. It can scale capacity up and down in response to spikes and dips in traffic. Your IT service provider can help you to deliver your applications near to customers throughout the world with the help of cloud computing.

What is distributed computing?

Distributed computing refers to the computing methodology wherein multiple devices are used for running different modules of the same software in coordination with one another.

Even though the components are spread out across various computers, they are run as one system. This is done to improve efficiency and performance.
These systems need more synchronizing due to the lack of a global clock. However, the failure of one module does not lead to the failure of the entire system.

Benefits of Distributed Computing

The benefits of distributed computing are as follow:


Distributed computing is flexible. In short, it completes tasks using computers in different geographical areas.


A single server can be rocked by glitches which can lead to complete systems malfunctions. Distributed computing model ensures that the system remains functional even in case of failure in any component.

Improved performance

Single computers can only perform to their best ability. But with distributed computing, you get the best from across the whole system.

Need for Distributed Computing

The rise of cloud computing options has made distributed computing even more accessible. Cloud computing might not implicitly implement distributed computing. Nonetheless, distributed computing systems can be run on the cloud.

What is Distributed cloud computing?

Distributed cloud computing is a combination of cloud and distributed computing. It uses numerous computers to work on data and applications. It takes from distributed sites to meet requirements for performance, redundancy, and regulations.

Distributed computing spreads computation workload across many, interconnected servers. And distributed cloud computing generalizes this to the cloud infrastructure itself. Here, application components are dispersed at different places to meet the needs of the application in the most efficient way possible. This computing occurs at apropriate geographically-dispersed locations.

Such requirements include:


To enable more responsive and performant service delivery for certain types of applications. However, this applies where latency is critical and bulk data transfer to and from a central cloud is expensive.

Regulations: This may need that data never leaves the user’s country.


It helps to ensure that certain data and processes remain within an enterprise’s private cloud or data center.

The service provider ensures the end-to-end management for the optimal placement of data. Also computing processes, network interconnections. And it appears as a single solution from the cloud user’s point of view.

How Distributed Cloud Computing Works?

The key advantage of using cloud services is the ability of service users to not maintain and operate their own IT infrastructure. And shift CAPEX to OPEX by using the utility-like model of purchasing computing and storage on demand.

Distributed cloud computing provides some extra features that are open for buy. Also, users can ask that certain data remain within specific regions. In other words, we can say it as Service Level Agreements (SLA) between the user and the cloud provider.

Finally, the job of the cloud provider is to hide the meeting of SLA complexities.

How is cloud computing different from distributed computing?

1) Goals

The goal of Distributed Computing is to provide collaborative resources. Also, by sharing connecting users and resources.

Cloud Computing is all about delivering services in a demanding environment with targeted goals. By achieving increased scalability and transparency, security, monitoring, and management. Lastly, the services are provided with transparency. And not considering the physical implementation within the Cloud.

2) Types

Distributed Computing is classified into three types as mentioned below:

Distributed Information Systems:

The main goal of these systems is to distribute information across different servers. Similarly, through various communication models like RMI and RPC.

Distributed Pervasive Systems:

It consists of embedded computing devices such as portable ECG monitors, wireless cameras, PDA’s, sensors, and mobile devices. The identification of distributed pervasive systems is by their instability when compared to more “traditional” distributed systems.

Distributed Computing Systems:

Firstly, in this kind of system, the computers connected within a network communicate through message passing to keep a track of their actions.

Therefore, Cloud Computing has four different types of cloud:

Private Cloud

This type of Cloud infrastructure is for a particular IT organization. For example, it hosts applications so that it can have complete control over the data without any fear of security breaches.

Public Cloud

A cloud infrastructure hosted by service providers and made available to the public. But, customers have no control or visibility about the infrastructure. For instant, Google and Microsoft own and operate their own public cloud infrastructure. Hence, they provide access to the public through the Internet.

Community Cloud

With community cloud, numerous organizations can utilize the cloud space at the same time.

Hybrid Cloud

A combination of 2 or more different types of the above-mentioned clouds forms the Hybrid cloud infrastructure. In addition, each cloud remains as a single entity but, the combination of all the clouds provides the advantage of many deployment models.

Difference between distributed computing and cloud computing in tabular form


Is cloud computing centralized or distributed?

Cloud computing provides organizations access to multiple services which otherwise would have been tedious to set up.

Moreover, the services can implement in centralized or distributed computing environments.

Further, this allows the users to exploit the processing power and operating capacity at their optimum level.


In conclusion, Distributed Systems and Cloud Computing Systems relate to distinct entities. Although the principle behind both is the same. A strong understanding of the distributed systems helps to better grasp the ideas for each of them. And knowledge of how they vary from the centralized computer.

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