From data released by survey institutions, it is evident that cloud computing has its benefits. According to a 2011 survey conducted by Apptio and Worldwide Executive Council, 80% of IT executives believe metrics related to cloud would grow in importance over the next 12 months. But which cloud service model is right for you? Although the benefits of cloud can prove substantial for your company, there are many factors to take into account when deciding which is right for your business.
There are three basic kinds of cloud service models. Each share similarities but have their own distinct differences as well. These service models are Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service. It helps to think of these services in layers.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service is the first layer and foundation of cloud computing. Using this service model, you manage your applications, data, operating system, middleware and runtime. The service provider manages your virtualization, servers, networking and storage. This allows you to avoid expenditure on hardware and human capital; reduce your ROI risk; and streamline and automate scaling. According to a 2011 article released by Venture Beat, Some of the biggest names in IaaS include Amazon, Microsoft, VMWare, Rackspace and Red Hat.
An example of a typical need for this model is someone who needs extra data space for processing power on occasion. Infrastructure-as-a-Service allows you to easily scale based on your needs and you only pay for the resources used. This means that the extra data processing space is available to you whenever you need it, and when you dont youre not paying for it, saving you money and providing your business exactly what it needs.
This cloud service model could be considered the second layer. You manage your applications and data and the cloud vendor manages everything else. Benefits for using Platform-as-a-Service include streamlined version deployment and the ability to change or upgrade and minimize expenses. One popular Platform-as-a-Service is the Google app engine.
A business with limited resources interested in app testing or development might find Platform-as-a-Service beneficial to eliminate costs of upkeep for hardware. In this model, your business benefits because it is not necessary to hire people to maintain these systems. A scalable processing center is available at your disposal to use as you need (again, you only pay for what you use).
This is the final layer of the cloud services model. This allows your business to run programs in the cloud where all portions are managed by the cloud vendor. Your users will have assured compatibility and easier collaboration because all will be using the same software. Your company wont need to pay extra licensing fees and you can easily add new users. As consumers we interact with Software-as-a-Service based applications everyday without even realizing it. Examples of this are online banking and email such as Gmail and Hotmail.
If you have a team that is able to maintain your hardware, but you want to make it easier to streamline your software programs for ease of use and compatibility, Software-as-a-Service will best suit your needs. Larger companies are a good example to use in this scenario. Teams of large people need to be able to work collaboratively in order to achieve your companys goals. By using Software-as-a-Service your team will be able to access the software from a variety of devices, in the office or on the go, which allows easier collaboration among your team.
As you can see, cloud computing isnt always cut and dry. While there are similarities among the three cloud service models, there are significant differences as well. It is up to the consumer to choose which model is best for their company in order to use this invaluable service to its fullest potential.
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