A cloud service is any service made available to users on demand via the Internet from a cloud computing provider's servers as opposed to being provided from a company's own on-premises servers. Cloud services are designed to provide easy, scalable access to applications, resources and services, and are fully managed by a cloud services provider.
On the other hand, Cloud computing is a type of computing that relies on shared computing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications.
In its most simple description, cloud computing is taking services ("cloud services") and moving them outside an organization's firewall. Applications, storage and other services are accessed via the Web. The services are delivered and used over the Internet and are paid for by the cloud customer on and as-needed or pay-per-use business model.
Cloud Delivery Models
Cloud computing can be divided into several sub-categories depending on the physical location of the computing resources and who can access those resources.
Public cloud vendors offer their computing services to anyone in the general public. They maintain large data centers full of computing hardware, and their customers share access to that hardware.
By contrast, a private cloud is a cloud environment set aside for the exclusive use of one organization. Some large enterprises choose to keep some data and applications in a private cloud for security reasons, and some are required to use private clouds in order to comply with various regulations.
A hybrid cloud is a combination of both a public and private cloud with some level of integration between the two. For example, in a practice called “cloud bursting " a company may run Web servers in its own private cloud most of the time and use a public cloud service for additional capacity during times of peak use.
Characteristics of Cloud Environments
1. On-demand self-service: This means that cloud customers can sign up for, pay for and start using cloud resources very quickly on their own without help from a sales agent.
2. Broad network access: Customers access cloud services via the Internet.
3. Resource pooling: Many different customers (individuals, organizations or different departments within an organization) all use the same servers, storage or other computing resources.
4. Rapid elasticity or expansion: Cloud customers can easily scale their use of resources up or down as their needs change.
5. Measured service: Customers pay for the amount of resources they use in a given period of time rather than paying for hardware or software upfront. (Note that in a private cloud, this measured service usually involves some form of chargeback where IT keeps track of how many resources different departments within an organization are using.)
Benefits of Cloud Computing
Consumers and organizations have many different reasons for choosing to use cloud computing services. They might include the following:
v Low costs
v Anytime, anywhere access
v High availability
Different types of cloud computing?
- Based on a service that the cloud is offering, we are speaking of either:
- IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)
- PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service)
- SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) or, Storage, Database, Information, Process, Application, Integration, Security, Management, Testing-as-a-service.
Since cloud computing can fulfill virtually any IT need imaginable (and often in many different ways), these classifications are necessary to indicate the role that a particular cloud service fulfills, and how that service accomplishes its role. In other words, SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS are the three main paradigms of cloud computing.
1. Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS is a software delivery method that provides access to software and its functions remotely as a Web-based service. Instead of paying an upfront fee to purchase and/or license software, SaaS customers pay a recurring (often monthly or annual) fee to subscribe to the service. In general, they can access the SaaS from any Internet-connected device, any time day or night. Well-known examples of SaaS include Salesforce.com, Microsoft Office 365, Google G Suite, Dropbox, Adobe Creative Cloud and others.
2. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS is a computing platform being delivered as a service. Here the platform is outsourced in place of a company or data center purchasing and managing its own hardware and software layers. Most PaaSes are designed for developers and aim to simplify the process of creating and deploying software. For example, a Web developer might use a PaaS that includes operating system software, Web server software, a database and related Web development tools. The leading PaaS vendors include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM and Google Cloud Platform.
3. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Computer infrastructure, such as servers, storage and networking delivered as a service. IaaS is popular with enterprises that appreciate the convenience of having the cloud vendor manage their IT infrastructure. They also sometimes see cost savings as a result of paying only for the computing resources they use. The leading IaaS vendors include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM and Google Cloud Platform.
As companies rush to join the cloud revolution it has become vital to exchange older practices with further comprehensive solutions. Cloud computing is proving to be an asset that not only an organization, but the entire industry can safely bank on. Most of all, cloud allows companies to focus on what their core business model and leave the management of the environment to the provider to a greater extent.