Although the word cloud may give cloud computing a mysterious mystical connotation. In fact, it is not all that much different than traditional desktop computing. Cloud computing involves the same basic physical hardware that forms the foundation of any modern computer network.
The only difference is that it doesn’t use a central server to store data or provide services but instead distributes the work across multiple servers.
This is similar to how a utility company provides electricity to your home; it just doesn’t come from the centralized grid.
Types of Cloud Providers
There are two basic types of cloud providers. The first type of cloud provider offers applications on demand through a website while the other operates as a service provider that offers specific customized services from a data center.
Obviously, with the former, customers only pay for what they need, while with the latter. There is no limit as to the particular services that you can access. However, with either model, users have access to applications and data stored on a specific server that is geographically distributed.
Types of Cloud Computing Services
Both types of cloud computing services have different pros and cons. With an on demand service, customers have immediate access to the applications that they want. But this is usually at the expense of system resources.
With a service based on a data center, on-demand access is unlimited, but this also means increased costs for storage space, server equipment, electricity, and cooling. In this environment, storage costs could be very high as well.
However, with the infrastructure provided by a data center, the costs are spread over a larger number of servers so there is usually more efficient operation and lower overall costs.
Other types of cloud computing include software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS). With SaaS, providers rent out servers, hardware, software, and other components, while PaaS requires a company to own its own infrastructure but is less expensive.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
It is the most flexible among these providers. Common examples of SaaS programs are accounting software, web services, customer relationship management, consulting tools, desktop software, email, and other connectivity solutions.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
It is different from SaaS because it is an open-source software platform. Examples of platforms used in this type of computing are Apple’s iOS and Linux operating systems. Read about cloud deployment models in detail here.
Platform as a Service providers purchase their own infrastructure to run their software. Some of the benefits of platform based computing are faster speeds, lower costs, easy accessibility of documentation, and constant integration with other companies’ software.
One of the least common types of cloud computing arrangements is the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). IaaS is similar to PaaS in that it requires a provider to own the infrastructure. But it differs primarily in the extent of customization a provider can provide.
Unlike PaaS, IaaS requires a company to rent or lease its own servers, storage, bandwidth, and other hardware. While most businesses will find it easier to integrate with an IaaS than with any of the other types of platforms. It may be more difficult to modify or expand the functionality of the server software.
Some of the advantages of IaaS include the fact that it reduces IT expenses by moving services into the virtual space. It eliminates the need for purchasing servers, and it allows users to rapidly grow their business without adding hardware.
Cloud CRM provides on-demand access to a particular customer’s CRM data, which is commonly known as hosted CRM. Most businesses that use cloud computing CRM are those that don’t require full deployment of the system but rather have IT staff that accesses the system from time to time.
Some benefits of using a CRM solution that is include the ability to save money by avoiding capital expenses such as leasing servers, purchasing software, and purchasing hardware; there are no software license fees to factor in; users can gain direct access to the CRM data; and users can gain access to the entire system at any time from any location.
Cloud computing has an impact on the way IT administrators approach the day-to-day management of an enterprise’s computing environment. Typically, an IT administrator will manage the day-to-day software configuration, security, bandwidth, memory, and hard drive utilization of the organization’s servers.
With cloud provider servers, these administrators will need to spend more time managing the specifics of the IT infrastructure. As opposed to on-premises infrastructure management, where a single point of contact exists for updates, SaaS provides a much more seamless interface for IT administrators.
Because cloud providers typically host the infrastructure in a data center, remote management is always possible, and administrators can easily identify performance issues and fix them as needed.
The benefits of multi-cloud services are fairly well understood. The most significant benefit of multi-cloud services is that they can be scaled up and down as required. With this capability, organizations can rapidly adjust their computing infrastructure, as bandwidth requirements change or new applications are develope.
Importance of Cloud Computing
Because these services are flexible, organizations can quickly adapt to increased loads without affecting existing applications. This also enables organizations to make changes to their infrastructure without having to completely replace and recreate the applications.
Perhaps the largest drawback of using private cloud services is the high costs involve. In some instances, the costs of using cloud infrastructure can be up to three times higher than what businesses would pay in the traditional data center model.
Types of Model
Since most cloud providers offer a variety of different services. Such as software as a service, self-service, or a hybrid model. The initial outlay for cloud infrastructure can be significantly higher than what is require by an enterprise.
However, this cost savings can quickly be recouped as demand increases and the provider utilizes its ability to offer more services at lower costs. Additionally, cloud providers often provide guarantee service level agreements that require businesses to pay only for services that are used.
Cloud Platforms vary greatly in terms of the functionality that they allow their users and how much they cost.
Public cloud providers offer software solutions that are generally free to use. That include basic functions such as email, collaboration tools, calendar, contacts, and data integration. The most popular public platforms are Salesforce, Compiere, and NetSuite.
Private cloud providers offer more functionality, software, and greater control. Some of the most popular private platforms are Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft SharePoint, and IBM Business Server.