Introduction to Cloud Computing

Cloud computing consists of three distinct types of computing services delivered remotely to clients via the internet. Clients typically pay a monthly or annual service fee to providers, to gain access to systems that deliver software as a service, platforms as a service and infrastructure as a service to subscribers. Clients who subscribe to cloud computing services can reap a variety of benefits, depending on their particular business needs at a given point in time. The days of large capital investments in software and IT infrastructure are now a thing of the past for any enterprise that chooses to adopt the cloud computing model for procurement of IT services. The ability to access powerful IT resources on an incremental basis is leveling the playing field for small and medium sized organizations, providing them with the necessary tools and technology to compete in the global marketplace, without the previously requisite investment in on premise IT resources. Clients who subscribe to computing services delivered via the “cloud” are able to greatly reduce the IT service expenditures for their organizations; and gain access to more agile and flexible enterprise level computing services, in the process.

SaaS

Saas (Software as a Service) provides clients with the ability to use software applications on a remote basis via an internet web browser. Software as a service is also referred to as “software on demand”.

Clients can access SaaS applications from anywhere via the web because service providers host applications and their associated data at their location. The primary benefit of SaaS, is a lower cost of use, since subscriber fees require a much smaller investment than what is typically encountered under the traditional model of software delivery. Licensing fees, installation costs, maintenance fees and support fees that are routinely associated with the traditional model of software delivery can be virtually eliminated by subscribing to the SaaS model of software delivery. Examples of SaaS include: Google Applications and internet based email applications like Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail and Gmail.

PaaS

PaaS (Platform as a Service) provides clients with the ability to develop and publish customized applications in a hosted environment via the web. It represents a new model for software development
that is rapidly increasing in its popularity. An example of PaaS is Salesforce.com. PaaS provides a framework for agile software development, testing, deployment and maintenance in an integrated environment. Like SaaS, the primary benefit of PaaS, is a lower cost of use, since subscriber fees require a much smaller investment than what is typically encountered when implementing traditional tools for software development, testing and deployment. PaaS providers handle platform maintenance and system upgrades, resulting in a more efficient and cost effective solution for enterprise software
development.

IaaS

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) allows clients to remotely use IT hardware and resources on a “pay-as-you-go” basis. It is also referred to as HaaS (hardware as a service). Major IaaS players include companies like IBM, Google and Amazon.com. IaaS employs virtualization, a method of creating and managing infrastructure resources in the “cloud”. IaaS provides small start up firms with a major advantage, since it allows them to gradually expand their IT infrastructure without the need for large capital investments in hardware and peripheral systems.