Posts Tagged ‘definition’

How to Pick the Right Cloud Model for Your Company in 2013

February 22nd, 2013 Comments off

How to Pick the Right Cloud Model for Your Company in 2013

With the new year well and truly underway and companies planning expeditions to the proverbial seventh cloud, it is imperative that they earmark the right cloud model for themselves. Cloud computing has different impacts, which vary according to the person one talks to and their experience with the cloud thus far. I believe there is more or less a general consensus on the importance of cloud computing and its continuing positive impact, especially within the realm of communications industry. How cloud computing is fast growing is vindicated by stats and prognostications of Altman Vilandre & Company that has forecasted cloud service revenues the world over to reach over $30 billion, with the revenue predicted to exceed the $10 billion mark in the U.S. by the next year.

Know Your Cloud

Cloud_computing_svgThorough understanding of what is available and of cloud model fluctuations would help you and your firm, formulate the IT environment optimally and cash in on benefits. It’s a crucial part of planning for future growth. In case you’re an IT pro who is managing data resources and network in an environment that is data centered, you’d in all likelihood have access to various tool and resources that’d aid you in leveraging your company’s cloud. Hence, through proper understanding of the multitudinous models of multi-tenant resources being hosted, whether they’re platform configuration, software or infrastructure, you can conjure a solution that best fits the business requirements of your firm, fulfill your technical objectives and in turn maximize the ROI.

Models of Cloud

To give a better picture of what’s being discusses, it’s time we reviewed the cloud models:

SaaS: ‘Software as a Service’ or SaaS is a quite tempting cloud model, which supports particular business applications covering a wide gamut from email, collaboration to enterprise services like for instance enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). SaaS provides the customers merely those functions that are performed courtesy of the applications, which can be accessed through client infrastructure – thick or thin.

PaaS:  ‘Platform as a Service’ or PaaS allows the creation and configuration of host environments to construct applications and deploy them. PaaS gives developers the needed support, but essentially gives very little control with regards to the used infrastructure.

IaaS: ‘Infrastructure as a Service’ or IaaS provides on-demand, storage, processing and also network services which help in the deployment of any software. While the customers do not control infrastructure that might be underlying, they do control the operational software, apps, storage and networking components. Infrastructure, being a service as well, provides affordable scalability to businesses. IaaS coule be used by enterprises for particular, extremely variable or fast-growing needs of computing. Infrastructure also provides foundational flexibility.

IaaS’s Growth

When one talks of mature cloud models SaaS clearly tops the charts, but if one were to earmark the segment that is the fastest growing, it’d have to be IaaS. It helps firms of every size leverage benefits like accessing enterprise-class solutions with affordability, having rapid scalability and cost structures that are predictable. Small and medium sized businesses seek additional flexibility and ways for cost reductions, especially CAPEX, and all this while keeping an eye on the demands of the customers. Massive applications need capacity and more crucially, throughput – something that many a company fails to manage itself and deploy on its site. For these very reasons, infrastructure is a more cost effective method of scaling quickly and accommodating the ensuing growth, without upping the IT expenditure. Another reason why IaaS is growing rapidly is the stability factor

Since both Saas and Paas put attractive services on the table, a slight managerial change or summoning new features from a service with which they compete can result in a massive change. IaaS leverage gives increased stability and ascertains the fact that the environment is used to similar changes.

Picking the Provider

So when you choose a cloud option for the IT environment, a data center provider needs to be looked at, one that is going to offer a cloud service model with immediate access to storage, processing, resources of networking as well as infrastructure. Cloud infrastructure integrates meticulously with the rest of the components that creates a solution that is both feasible and flexible. Through the amalgamation of cloud services with the existing services of data center, one benefits from data center provider’s familiarity that it has with the infrastructure and that needs of the business. Furthermore, through leveraging the increasingly available, safe environment of the data centre of the provider, you’d only be dealing with a solitary vendor and hence you’d be receiving the service more consistently. Whichever option you set your heart on, rest assured cloud computing is here to stay and would continue evolving as the users better utilize and understand the technology, with the passing time.


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Defining Cloud Computing: Part 6 – IaaS

February 23rd, 2009 3 comments

Infrastructure as a Service

Amazon AWS is the largest of all the IaaS providers. Where SaaS offers a complete application as service and PaaS offers the ability to develop an application, IaaS doesn’t care about the application at all. IaaS provides the underlying hardware and operating system resources to do anything you want. IaaS has also been referred to as Everything as a Service.

IaaS offers CPU, memory, storage, networking and security as a package. IaaS is the virtual machine in the sky. In general, with IaaS, you choose from a range of operating systems (usually some flavor of open source), a size for your hardware (number of CPUs and CPU power) and an amount of storage.

There are a number of successful IaaS providers: Amazon, Joyent, GoGrid and FlexiScale. While Amazon is the best known of the providers, Joyent is also huge. Joyent hosts many Facebook applications and they host the social network LinkedIn, among others. In addition to proving that Amazon is not the only game in town, this also proves that real businesses (although without much of a business plan) are running in the cloud. It also shows that businesses with a need to scale are doing so.

The benefits of IaaS, in addition to the ability to scale, are the costs to get started and the ability to pay only for what you use. For a startup or small business, one of the most difficult things to do is keep capital expenditures under control. By moving your infrastructure to the cloud, you have the ability to scale as if you owned your own hardware and data center (which is not realistic with a traditional hosting provider) but you keep the upfront costs to a minimum.

What does Cloud Computing change?


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Defining Cloud Computing – Part 5: Desktops as a Service

February 20th, 2009 Comments off

Desktops as a Service

Falling some somewhere between software and a platform are Cloud Desktops (also called a Cloud OS). These desktops run inside a browser and are accessible from any desktop with an internet connection.

A cloud desktop offers word processing, spreadsheets, development tools, networking tools and more. While relatively immature at this time, we can expect this market to grow significantly in the coming years, especially as more and more smart phones and ultraportables hit the real world.

Microsoft LiveMesh offers free storage, machine synchronization and a cloud based desktop. iCloud and both offer complete, robust desktops (including browsers, applications and storage) completely in the cloud. The greatest benefit to a cloud desktop is that all of your applications and data is accessible from any computer. The downside is that with no internet access, you have access to none of your data or applications.

EyeOS is a completely open source cloud OS that you can download and install in your own data center. It offers all of the expected functionality and installs as a simple PHP application on your Apache web server.

The nice part about these platforms at the moment is that most are completely free. Sign up, login and you have a virtual desktop off in the clouds. The business model of most of these (such as iCloud or are subscriptions for enhanced services and extra capabilities (such as bandwidth or disk space).

The other significant aspect of these cloud desktops is the ability to run desktop quality applications, such as word processors and spreadsheets, from a phone. Business at internet speeds and internet availability.

It remains to be seen whether cloud desktop catch on but SaaS in general is here to stay. It’s easy to use, cheap and covers just about any category of software that you might use.

Throw in a pair of virtual world gloves and goggles and it’s almost like science fiction.


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Defining Cloud Computing – Part 4: PaaS

February 18th, 2009 Comments off

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

The next step up into the cloud from SaaS is the Platform as a Service. While SaaS offers applications for end users, PaaS offers a development platform for developers. Developers do not need to worry about the operating system, storage or hosting. Developers write the code and the PaaS provider provides a very simple method to upload that code and present it on the internet.

The PaaS provider gives provides the hardware, operating system, software upgrades, security and everything else related to the day to day hosting of an application. Most PaaS providers are limited to specific languages and IDEs. In some cases, the IDE is web based and in others, the IDE provides features for uploading code.

In most cases, developers do not have any access to the underlying operating system. Applications that run on PaaS platforms have to conform to some limitations that protect the provider from abuse (such as malicious software or run away resource usage).

Google App Engine (GAE) was one of the first PaaS offerings. GAE only supports python (Google promises additional languages in the future) and comes with an IDE. A developer writes an application and tests it locally. When ready to deploy the application to the world, the developer presses a button and it is automagically hosted on the Google infrastructure.

All developers get to use a common domain ( but can use a custom domain if also signed up for Google Apps. Google also gives developers, for free, 500MB of storage and up to 5 million page views per month. Google expects to start charging for feature upgrades (such as storage and extra CPU) in the future.

Other PaaS providers are (which builds on top of the engine – which in itself is SaaS), Engine Yard (Ruby on Rails), Coghead (GUI drag and drop), and Aptana Cloud (PHP, Ruby and JavaScript). The Aptana Could is a bit different in that it is built on top of the Joyent IaaS but provides PaaS features through its Aptana Studio IDE.


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Defining Cloud Computing – Part 3: SaaS

February 11th, 2009 Comments off

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is currently the most popular type of cloud computing. Yahoo email, Google apps, zoho, and various other packages like CRM are all instances of SaaS. Application Service Providers (ASP) were the first SaaS providers. ASP was its own buzzword back in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

One of the aspects of SaaS is multi-tenancy or the ability for many customers to share the same service but maintain their own data securely. CRM is the predominant paid SaaS offering but email is, by far, the predominant free SaaS offering.

Any software that is offered over the internet, that runs remotely (where the location is unimportant and unrelated to the user), is a SaaS offering. With SaaS, a user has no need to worry about installation or upgrades. Of course, that also means the user has no control over versioning (or bug fixes).

The majority of SaaS offering are either free (think web mail) or per seat subscriptions (like online collaboration and CRM). SaaS may also be offered as a subscription for access and then charge fees for extras like additional storage.

SaaS vendors typically offer multiple levels of access (usually as subscriptions) and functionality. Many offer free trials or a free tier for trying out the software. If you are going to buy into a SaaS offering, first verify that the vendor actually does have paying customers and is stable (relatively to the rest of the internet companies).

It is not unknown that a SaaS vendor will go out of business, sometimes with little or no advance notice, and cause businesses a significant customer impact and/or data loss.

That’s not to scare you away from SaaS. The benefits far out weigh the downsides as long you perform due diligence when selecting your provider. In today’s market, for example, there is really no reason for an SMB to host their own CRM or email. You can outsource that to a SaaS provider for far less (when you subtract out the administrative overhead) of hosting it yourself.