Cloud is the architecture and a set of services that enable access resources on demand. It is a dynamically scalable, on-demand, multi-tenant and often virtualized resources which are provided as a self-service over the Internet/Intranet; Public, Private and Hybrid Models. Cloud gives you the flexibility to handle fast paced customer requirements and also provide a reliable solution for your applications, which can have an option to scale incrementally without having a downtime. However, one needs to have a clear understanding on what specific outcomes are desired before considering the cloud platform.
There are many vendors who provide Cloud Services in the market today; the big ones in the league being Amazon, Google, Rackspace and Microsoft. Services are offered in any of these models, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. There are some companies who also provide other services like DaaS (Desktop as a Service), Backup as a Service etc. we will talk about these models sometime later.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – Typically, this is case of platform virtualization environment which is offered as a service to you, along with raw storage and networking. Rather than purchasing servers, software, data-center space or network equipment, in your environment, you can instead buy those resources as a fully outsourced service. Suppliers typically bill such services on a utility computing basis; the amount of resources consumed (and therefore the cost) will typically reflect the level of your activity.
Platform as a service (PaaS) – This delivers a computing platform and/or solution stack as a service. This often consumes the cloud infrastructure and sustaining cloud applications. This model facilitates you to deploy applications without the cost and complexity of buying and managing the underlying hardware and software layers. As the OS is managed by the Supplier, the underlying patches and updates are taken care by the vendor itself. You don’t need to worry about it.
Software as a Service (SaaS) – This is the most simplest looking cloud offering. Most of us have been using services without realising it to be a cloud platform. This model delivers software as a service over the Internet, eliminating the need to install and run the application on the customer’s own computers and simplifying maintenance and support. The best example could be Gmail, Office 365 or even Hotmail.
Desktop as a Service (DaaS) – This is a cloud service, where the back-end of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is hosted by a cloud service provider. In the DaaS model, the service provider manages the back-end responsibilities of storage, backup, security, upgrades and monitoring. Similar to other cloud platforms, The VDI service is also available on subscription model. If hosting VDIs in your data-center is a challenge, then DaaS as a model works the best for you.
We will add more to this list, as the types of offerings grow in the market.