The basic concept of the cloud was mocked by reducing it to the idea of ”someone else’s computer,” they saying that adorns the coffee mugs of quite the few IT professionals. Oracle CTO Larry Ellison was equally the skeptical, complaining that we are “redefining cloud computing to include everything we already do.”
However, the definition of cloud computing in the simplest terms is:
A distributed digital infrastructure resource that provides services hosted via the Internet.
And while there are the several different ways to define the cloud computing, it all comes back to these five key aspects:
- data management
Types of cloud services
The cloud computing services sector has become a rapidly growing multibillion-dollar industry. To put this into perspective, Gartner estimates that spending on cloud will reach $260 billion by the end of 2018. And Gartner isn’t alone in highlighting the growing prevalence of cloud computing in the market.
In the 2017 Cloud Vendor Revenue Project, Wikibon estimates that all categories that make up enterprise cloud will expand at the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19 percent from 2016 to 2026. While traditional infrastructure, on-premises software, and legacy will see outsourcing methods, Business operations have a negative compound annual growth rate of 3%.
The dynamic effects of the cloud adoption are already evident. They are most apparent in the three large-scale and popular models of cloud computing services: Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
Another distinguishing feature of the cloud is that the compute, storage, networking, and integration capabilities of a per-view SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS are virtually owned by the supplier and offered as a service on a subscription-on-demand basis to the customer.
These three classes are designed to be stacked on top of each other, which means they can operate independently or in a group. Imagine a three-tiered pyramid with SaaS sitting at the front for the benefit of end users, PaaS in the middle helping developers and serving integration requirements, and IaaS at the base helping system administrators.
1: Software as a Service (SaaS)
Commonly referred to as “Software on Demand,” SaaS is the most widely used cloud computing service for business customers. With a wide range of application types and services, SaaS is replacing or augmenting traditional enterprise systems, including enterprise resource planning (ERP), accounting, human resource management, content management systems, supply chain, inventory management, and customer relationship management (CRM) software, among others. In addition, since SaaS does not require purchasing expensive licensed software, users can access as many cloud applications as needed. According to the 2017 SaaS Powered Business State Report, 16 SaaS applications were deployed, a 33 percent increase over the previous year.
2: Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Consider PaaS as the intermediary of cloud services because it is centralized, connecting SaaS and IaaS. That cloud service provides users with all the tools needed to create the digital platform. It primarily features storage, networking, and virtual servers with the necessary software and hardware to design, develop, test, implement, manage and operate the applications while integrating, analyzing, and sharing data.
3: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
The IaaS layer provides the building blocks, database storage, and a virtual platform. By building cost-effective and scalable IT solutions, complex and expensive hardware is outsourced to an external cloud service provider. In addition, these IT components are automated for customers who can self-provision storage or processing capacity for IaaS platforms. Vendors are also responsible for the ongoing maintenance, including system maintenance, data backup, and business stability.
Types of cloud deployments
How an organization handles and secures the business assets, and needs can be reflected in how it deploys the cloud. But cloud deployment is more than a “private versus public cloud” debate. The advent of hybrid cloud deployments added a whole different flavor.
A third-party IaaS cloud service provider maintains the public cloud. Servers, storage, and other digital resources are delivered over the Internet. Since the provider absorbs all the infrastructure and bandwidth costs, the customer only needs a web browser to access the service and manage accounts.
Pros: Reliable service, Cost-effective through economies of scale, No maintenance, Flexible scalability
Cons: Often considered unsafe to handle highly private and sensitive data; you must comply with strict security regulations
In a private cloud, cloud computing, infrastructure, and networking services are operated solely by an organization independent of other organizations or public platforms. The cloud can be maintained private in one of two ways: a corporate data center is physically located on-site, or a third-party resource is paid to host everything on a remote instance.
- Pros: Greater control, customizable, scalable, flexible, secure
- Cons: More expensive and upkeep (if kept on site)
Presumably, a hybrid cloud deployment combines private and public clouds. This infrastructure allows data, information, and applications to be shared and transferred interchangeably. The personal side can be used for sensitive operations like finances and data recovery, while the public side can run high-volume applications
- Pros: Improved agility, accessibility, and security
- Cons: More maintenance, complicated compatibility