Cloud Technologies Services
Cloud computing services are changing how businesses and public institutions use information technology. Today cloud services are available to meet most any IT need. Although there's great variety among cloud computing services, all such services have certain basic features and benefits in common, and all can be categorized into a few basic cloud service types.
Cloud Computing Services Features and Benefits
By now most people have heard about cloud computing services, but what does cloud mean? While cloud services may vary in their particulars, a cloud computing definition identifies the core features and benefits that are common across all clouds.
From the perspective of service users, cloud computing services have these main features:
- Hosted and maintained by the provider. The cloud hosting provider purchases, hosts, and maintains the necessary hardware and software in their own facility. Service users avoid the capital expenditures and maintenance headaches that they would have if they developed the service themselves on-premise.
- Self-service through a web interface. Service users can initiate specific service functions, and increase or decrease their service usage level, though a web interface with little or no interaction with the service provider.
- Pay for use. Service users pay only for the amount of service that they use. This can result in substantial cost savings compared to the traditional approach of developing on-site IT capacities geared toward maximum usage scenarios, and then having that capacity be under-utilized much of the time.
- Near-limitless scalability. Cloud computing services providers typically have the infrastructure to deliver their service at massive scale. For cloud service users, that means that the cloud can easily accommodate business growth or periodic spikes in service usage.
How cloud computing services work
Cloud computing services have several common attributes:
- Virtualization- cloud computing utilizes server and storage virtualization extensively to allocate/reallocate resources rapidly
- Multi-tenancy -resources are pooled and shared among multiple users to gain economies of scale
- Network-access - resources are accessed via web-browser or thin client using a variety of networked devices (computer, tablet, smartphone)
- On demand - resources are self-provisioned from an online catalogue of pre-defined configurations
- Elastic -resources can scale up or down, automatically
- Metering/chargeback -resource usage is tracked and billed based on service arrangement
Among the many types of cloud computing services delivered internally or by third party service providers, the most common are:
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – software runs on computers owned and managed by the SaaS provider, versus installed and managed on user computers. The software is accessed over the public Internet and generally offered on a monthly or yearly subscription.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – compute, storage, networking, and other elements (security, tools) are provided by the IaaS provider via public Internet, VPN, or dedicated network connection. Users own and manage operating systems, applications, and information running on the infrastructure and pay by usage.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) – All software and hardware required to build and operate cloud-based applications are provided by the PaaS provider via public Internet, VPN, or dedicated network connection. Users pay by use of the platform and control how applications are utilized throughout their lifecycle.
Benefits of cloud computing services
Cloud computing services offer numerous benefits to include:
- Faster implementation and time to value
- Anywhere access to applications and content
- Rapid scalability to meet demand
- Higher utilization of infrastructure investments
- Lower infrastructure, energy, and facility costs
- Greater IT staff productivity and across organization
- Enhanced security and protection of information assets