Types of Cloud Computing: While there are many varied types of services available on the cloud there are three main categories that these services can be categorized under Infrastructure as a service, Platform as a service and Software as a service. These models are usually categorized by their complexity and how much service the customer receives, whether it simply be basic infrastructure, an enhanced development environment, or a complete product.
Types of Cloud Computing
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IAAS is a type of cloud computing model that provides most or all of the basic building blocks of software development to a client. Many smaller companies especially newer ones don’t have as much funding for capital expenses as their larger and better-established competitors. As such, they most likely are hard – up for funding, and are often reluctant to spend this on infrastructure, especially as it can be difficult to predict just how much capacity they may end up needing.
The IaaS model enables these companies to rent the basic information technology infrastructure essentials to begin software development, namely services usually covered by a data center, such as data servers, data storage, networking hardware and infrastructure, and sometimes even hypervisor software, which is a type of server that allows developers to create a virtual server.
In addition to these basic information technology requirements, IaaS cloud computing providers may also provide services such as monitoring, billing, log access, clustering, general – monitoring, server -load balancing, and storage backup and recovery.
These are often accessed through a wide-area- network, which in the case of cloud computing services is the internet and uses the services of the service provider in order to assist with building their software: services such as establishing virtual machines on servers, with each defined virtual machine able to load and run its own operating system, or running database software, and running the business work-load or applications on those virtual machines can all be done through IaaS cloud computing service providers.
There are many vendors that provide the IaaS model, but one of the more notable ones is Amazon, through their Amazon Web Service system, though the Amazon Web Service model also has services available to end-users in the other main models and types of cloud computing, which will be discussed later on.
There are numerous benefits from making use of IaaS, especially for smaller and newer businesses, or those businesses that are developing experimental software. Outsourcing information infrastructure needs allows the company to dedicate a lower amount to infrastructure spending in order to develop and test their software, lowering the barrier of entry cost for R & D.
This does not preclude the company from switching to the more conventional system, as if the company sees that the application or program is business – viable, they may decide to host it on their own company servers and in-house data center, or they can decide to continue to use the laaS provider, but negotiate terms in order to get a better price on a more long-term deal.
The idea is that Iaas provides more flexibility in options for the companies that choose to use it, making it lower cost and more convenient for them to begin developing programs, which has a greater overall effect on the software and development industry, or in fact almost any industry that requires information technology infrastructure; by lowering the barrier to entry, it fosters innovation and software development, preventing and reducing the likelihood of stagnation when it comes to software development.
In addition, Iaas is the best model of cloud computing service for any company that aims to maximize the level of supervision and control that they exert over the development environment of their applications and programs.
However, though IaaS can be convenient and beneficial, it is not without negatives. The IaaS model requires that the firm using it will be capable of building and developing their software or application from near-scratch, as IaaS only pro-video the basic building blocks for building and testing software and the backbone of development, but numerous components have to come from the developers themselves, meaning that they will still have to spend a pretty penny on talent and manpower.
Though these IaaS services generally cost lower than if the customer chooses to invest in their own private data center, costs may still go over the predicted budget, as some cloud services and server resources can be billed differently from one provider to another, so there may still be cases of “sticker shock”.
In addition, by the very nature of IaaS being outsourced infrastructure, the configuration or setup of the information technology infrastructure provided may not always be easily workable by the client, which will make it more difficult for clients to manage how their program would deal with differing configurations, whether it be on software or hardware. Furthermore, any unfamiliarity may lead the client to have difficulties as well as system management and monitoring.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
The PAAS model is the next step beyond the initial infrastructure as a service model. The PAAS can be considered as the next step as it is technically an addition to the IAAS: it contains everything that the IAAS usually provides, but contains additional features to make development easier for the customer.
The IaaS cloud computing service generally provides the core building blocks for software and infrastructure development, being the bare – bones provider of services and features that a company would need to begin to develop their own applications. The PaaS model, in contrast, includes all these building blocks, but this also includes middleware, which in the IaaS model would have to be built by the company themselves.
Of course, this added service cost comes with a higher cost and other drawbacks, which will be discussed later on. The PaaS cloud service usually includes hosting systems and often will include multiple operating systems for the end-user in addition to the basic hardware infrastructure that is usually provided.
Some platform as a service providers even include the possibility for run-time monitoring and database monitoring and development services, which makes the entire process much easier for the user, allowing them to devote their energies to the programming aspect, as there will be a significant reduction in the complexity of the tasks that they will need to carry out in order to develop their program.
This hybrid model is undeniably popular with companies around the world, as there are about thirty-two percent of global companies that have chosen to use this platform as a service model in the year 2017, with many tech insiders predicting that the platform as a service model will end up being used by around fifty-six percent of global companies by the year 2020.
However, while there are many benefits to Paas as compared to the more bare-bones IaaS, especially given the additional services that reduce the technical expertise a company needs to hire in order to properly develop and build software, this comes at a higher price for services.
Though some companies choose the perspective that the greater unit cost of these services will be offset by the savings on hiring expensive technical talent and development time for middleware, the PaaS model also grants them less control and supervision over the development of their software from start to finish, as the development environment is part of the PaaS package, rather than created by the company. However, this means that there will be less development time, and software deployment of the finished product will also be made much simpler.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Given that our previous model, the platform as a service model was simply an extension, or an addition to the infrastructure as a service model, the SaaS, or the software as a service type of cloud computing is a higher-level version of the platform as a service model, as this greatly increases the number of services and resources provided, which in turn reduces the complexity of the tasks that a company needs to achieve in order to develop their software.
Software as a service type of cloud computing is more focused on end-users, with finished products usually being the subject of Saas packages, which are rented out to clients, as complete software products are simply rented out on a subscription basis.
This greatly differs from the previous two models in that the underlying programs and infrastructure are not needed by the customer of the SaaS model, as it is the complete product itself that is being rented out on a subscription basis, either on an individual user, or group or institution package basis.
The Saas model has been considered to be a type of “on-demand” software, where users are able to access a complete application or even a suite of applications which they can depend on to be consistently updated, but at the cost of being required to pay a regular fee, usually an annual or a monthly fee for access to this software.
This is in contrast to the traditional perpetual license model, which is the model that people are more used to, where the customer makes a one-time purchase and is entitled to use the product for as long as they wish, but at the trade-off of less support, and usually a much greater cost upfront.
SaaS is a type of cloud computing model that has been the most successful form of cloud computing services provided by the industry, as it has consistently had the most amount of clients and subscribers, and the value of the sales of these Saas packages has been valued at ten billion USD back in 2010, and the service has only grown since then, and it has predicted to reach two hundred and thirty-six billion USD by the year 2020, more than a twenty-thousand percent increase from the 2010 figure.
Most people in the modern world who use computers make use of software as a service one way or another during their daily lives, such as through applications like Spotify, Office 365, or other subscription-based types of applications.
Note that the SaaS model is not limited to individual consumers, as there are many businesses and companies that have begun to use software as a service cloud computing services in order to cut costs, as they save a lot if they simply rent software rather than needing to develop and maintain their own in – house software.
The costs of developing software, updating it, and maintaining it are much too high for many companies, especially given the fact that software as a service packages tend to be more economical in nature, and debugging and making sure it is kept up to date is in the software providers hands rather than in the company’s hands. This allows them to better choose where they should invest their funds, rather than having to spend so much on the software that they use daily deployment in the cloud.
What is “Public Cloud?”
When people talk about the public cloud, they are referring to a specific type of cloud computing, where there are companies and businesses referred to as service providers who develop and rent out specific resources and/or services like applications, virtual machines, and even storage functionalities. These resources are then made available to the general public on the internet.
The public cloud is contained in an entirely virtual environment in cyberspace, meaning that it is completely distinct from the hardware that runs it. These programs running on the public cloud have a special architecture allowing multiple users to make use of the necessary computing resources to allow the software to run, which allows these service providers to accommodate multiple users at any one time.
These users, while sharing run – time resources while running programs concurrently are kept in individual instances, keeping their data separate and private, allowing users on the public cloud to maintain a certain level of privacy.
In addition to this specialized data architecture, software on the public cloud usually makes use of multiple redundant data – centers in order to make sure that it has close to a hundred percent uptime, keeping its services running 24 / 7, minimizing the risk of crashes and data loss. These characteristics mean that software on the public cloud usually has a very high level of resiliency and can often be dependent upon.
The public cloud remains a type of cloud computing service, as earlier mentioned, which means that the benefits that were discussed earlier such as the ease and convenience of use, the ability to outsource various needs, and a generally flexible pricing model for most packages remain applicable to most public cloud services.
However, nothing is perfect, and just like anything else, the public cloud has its own issues, with one of those at the forefront being security issues, which is one of the reasons that some companies choose to make use of “private cloud” services instead. Another issue that comes up from time to time is the lack of proper tracking of resources used due to the type of service delivery model that the public cloud uses, which may result in some companies or users paying a higher price than they should have due to this improper tracking.
What is “Private Cloud”?
The counterpart to the “public cloud”, the “private cloud” in contrast is limited in scope, where only certain people are granted access to the programs and software contained within. These “private clouds” are usually employed by companies or businesses making use of proprietary software architecture and programs, keeping used limited to “in -house” assets.
This particular configuration of the cloud sees most use in organizations that have a large need for privacy and security, such as national governments that keep their data private for security reasons, or companies in industries that have high stakes in keeping their business private, as operating within a private cloud makes it much more difficult for an unauthorized third party to even begin to try and break in and access the confidential data contained inside.
Private clouds are more tailor-fit as compared to software designed for use on the public cloud, given their proprietary nature, and though there are many benefits to this, such as increased security and greater functionality due to its specialized nature, there are also some negatives.
One of the more significant negatives of private cloud software is the cost involved, as the company organizations making use of it usually has to develop this software from the ground up, and they have to maintain and implement the private cloud software themselves, which would make it near impossible to outsource work.
This means that the company has to invest in their information technology division, as they need in-house resources and talent to build, operate, and maintain the data centers and software needed to establish a private cloud. Totally private clouds that are built and maintained by a single organization for their own private use actually does not conform to the usual understanding of cloud computing, as they are not sourcing services from outsiders, but they still make use of the cloud using the tools that they themselves developed.
What is the “Hybrid Cloud”?
We have just delineated two theoretical concepts of the cloud, the public cloud, and private cloud, but in the practical sense, it is almost impossible for some organizations to have a cloud solution that is totally public or totally private, and these cases are referred to as “hybrid clouds”, as they employ elements from both concepts.
The “hybrid cloud” often refers to a setup where organizations or businesses make use of some software systems that are on-premises, and developed and maintained in-house, but also make use of third-party developed cloud systems, with a software architecture built to orchestrate and coordinate between both systems, which allows these organizations to make use of the advantages of both types of cloud, though admittedly to a lesser degree of each.
This “hybrid cloud” concept often benefits from increased convenience and lower cost due to the use of third – party software, but also helps address security risks and issues by making use of proprietary in-house “private cloud” software when it comes to dealing with data that is sensitive or important, which makes it easier for them to maintain their security.