If you’ve spent more than five seconds on any tech website recently, you’ve seen mention of the cloud before. With the amount of praise that gets lavished upon it, you might assume it’s some mystical creature that cures all of your IT ills. In a way, this is completely accurate, as Gartner predicts that 60 percent of the current workforce will be in the cloud within the next year, due to the advantages offered, according to OpenLogic.com. Cloud computing technology goes far behind cloud file storage. Learning the ins and outs of each type of cloud computing allows you to create the perfect mix for your situation.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS cloud services are those you are most likely familiar with. Gmail, Basecamp and Dropbox are all examples of an SaaS cloud model. The application provider handles everything involved with a single, cloud-based application. TechTarget points out a few of the many advantages SaaS has for a small business owner. You have a fully developed and supported application that is available from any device that has access to the Internet. You don’t have to buy the servers, the network operators, or anyone else to maintain the script. The most complicated thing you have to do is remember to save your password on the service’s web page or app. You’ll find cloud-based apps in many industries, such as the financial field, evidenced by Brian Ferdinand Liquid Holdings, which uses the cloud in its asset management product.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS takes cloud computing to a completely different level. Instead of only accessing applications that are cloud-based, you can outsource part of your own computing platform to the cloud. This type of cloud service allows you to set up development frameworks, operating systems and other essential tools for your needs, according to Salesforce. This type of cloud computing environment is excellent for application development, since you have a range of operating systems to choose from, and you can create OS instances without having to requisition a completely new server box. It also cuts down on the amount of equipment you need to create your own applications and software.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
When you end up really liking what the cloud can do for you, you can choose to offload your entire IT infrastructure to the cloud. This type of set-up uses the cloud-based resources as you would your own local network. If you’re working with a limited budget, and you want a scalable cloud solution, IaaS gives you a great deal of room for flexibility and growth. The saving of costs is also significant, as you need less network professionals to look over your shoulder since many of their normal tasks are getting off-loaded to the cloud. You can go through a public cloud provider, or opt to build your own hybrid or private cloud for your business. Public cloud offerings are completely provided by the cloud service, as you use their on-site equipment for your servers. Private cloud consolidates and virtualizes resources you’re already using, making it convenient if you have a lot of equipment laying around, and you don’t know what to do with all of it.
Tracey is a blogger who covers the tech industry.