Cloud computing holds huge potential for futuristic, dynamic, on-demand IT services. Enterprises looking for a single but complete solution for all their IT requirements are attaching their hopes to cloud. However, cloud is still at the stage of evolution and will take some time to mature. Meanwhile, cloud based service providers are trying hard to keep up with users’ demand for more advance and innovative cloud solutions.
As a result, various new types of as-a-service solutions are offered by them regularly. This article has discussed about the advantages and challenges of different types of cloud services to help readers understand better about cloud computing.
Definition of cloud is surrounded by mysteries. This is probably because cloud is not a single thing but a combination of various, customizable, IT services. Organizations are adopting cloud to create a scalable, flexible, dynamic IT environment that would help in magnifying their IT capacity without upsetting their IT budget.
The three major types of as-a-service solutions offered by cloud are:
Consumption services model: Where data storage, computing and hosting services are offered by the service provider. It is called infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) model. And, it is also the most basic type of cloud services offered.
Infrastructural services model: Where customized cloud platform is offered for development and testing purposes. Also called platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model.
Service model: Where various web-based services and cloud based applications are offered by the provider as hosted services. Known as software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. It is the third layer of cloud computing services.
Cloud models explained
Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS): It is also called hardware-as-a-service model. As the name suggests the infrastructure for storage, computing, networking etc. is offered by a third party service provider. Companies outsource their equipment requirements for data storage space, hardware, servers and networking to a remote, virtualized environment. The service provider is responsible for housing, managing and ensuring continuity of services. The services are offered in easy pay for use model and therefore, help companies reduce IT expenses on infrastructure.
IaaS services may include components like:
- Dynamic scaling for effective distribution of workload
- Desktop virtualization
- Internet connectivity
The essential features of an IaaS model are:
- On-demand scalability: Users can make additional provisioning for storage, server and networking capacities as required. This process can be automated so that extra capacity is allotted without human intervention as and when need arises.
- Wider networking access: It facilitates availability and usage of applications across heterogeneous end users’ devices such as – laptop, smartphones, PDAs and tablets.
- Upgradability: Capacities can be expanded to accommodate increased demand; sometimes even automatically.
- Resource pool: Computing resources are pooled and shared in a common interface from it is accessed by multiple users. The multi-tenant environment ensures availability of upscale technology and hardware to users with no cost of procuring those.
- Upgraded service: The service provider takes the responsibility of upgrading and optimizing resource use in the shared environment. They ensure optimization by leveraging a ceiling for capacity usage by users. The usage is then monitored, measured and reported to maintain transparency in offered services.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS): Saas has made web-based software solutions to be hosted and delivered through cloud platform. The software as a service model has been popularized through hosting enterprise applications on cloud. It has enabled enterprises to shift from traditional, legacy software model to embrace more scalable and flexible cloud computing setup for their enterprise applications. It has also obliterated requirements of hardware and software to support functionalities of legacy applications.
The advantages of using SaaS model are:
- Easy deployment and faster integration with other enterprise applications
- Automatic and regular updates offered by the service provider
- Compatibility as same platform will be available to all the users
- Portability and therefore, mobility
- Data collaboration and sharing
- Global access
- Easy management and monitoring
Platform-as-a-service (PaaS): Platform as a Service (PaaS) allows organizations to outsource their requirements of hardware, OS, data storage and networking capacity requirements to third-party vendors. PaaS allows customers to rent servers and accompanying services in a virtual environment to host existing applications or to develop and test new ones. The infrastructural requirements are managed and maintained by service provider and no longer require the users to pay for managing IT infrastructure.
PaaS services has greatly benefited companies that are into innovations and independent software developing vendors to develop, test, host and offer their products to users at much reduced rates. PaaS induces alacrity, elasticity, and agility to a business environment.
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