What is the cloud? A brief description
February 18th, 2010
“What is the cloud?” is a question that’s thrown around within and outside of the IT field. There are so many arguments on its true definition, and many just won’t agree. You may hear some people dismiss it as hype to suit their own objectives. Or others who will tell you to move everything to the cloud now.
What are the main benefits of the cloud?
No need to buy hardware and software as everything runs on your provider’s hardware.
Security has been a concern in the cloud, however, if the provider understands security and manages it correctly then it’s not an issue. It’s likely to be much more secure than hosting and managing your own systems in-house.
Allows you to ramp your IT environment up and down more or less at will without great expense.
Allows your internal IT team to focus on strategic projects rather than day to day management of your IT environment. For example, server maintenance, backup checking and security updates.
Gain access to high-end IT infrastructure, systems, resilience, software and security but without the large multi-national company price-tag.
Reduced Ongoing Costs
To run servers and other systems, manage them, upgrade them, cool them, provide protected power, multiple resilient network connections, and complex security systems are expensive. The cloud takes care of all this at a fraction of the cost.
Types of Cloud
A cloud your company hosts or, more typically, a managed hosting provider will host for you. Typically the service providers host an individual IT environment for you, i.e. perhaps your critical email server, database systems, etc.
Allow different companies and software developers to connect to a shared computing infrastructure and data storage system hosted by a service provider. Companies such as Amazon and Microsoft provide this type of service.
Such as linking your own private cloud with a third-party public cloud, or linking multiple public clouds.
How is the Cloud delivered?
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Typically delivering a single service or application via a web browser. SalesForce or Hosted Microsoft CRM services is a good example. Another example of SaaS is services such as Hotmail and Google Apps.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Is where key IT infrastructure components, such as servers, firewalls and storage are hosted in a secure data centre and delivered to you or your customers via the Internet or private data connections. QuoStar’s Managed Infrastructure Services, Amazon’s Web Services and QuoStar’s Hosted Desktop service are IaaS.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
This allows software developers to build applications within the cloud without having to have the servers or server applications in-house – with all the associated expense it brings, such as CapEx and management.
Robert Rutherford, CEO of QuoStar
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