Who uses cloud computing, and why?
Businesses and government entities of all sizes utilize cloud computing for two principle reasons - increase agility and improve efficiency.
Cloud computing changes viewing IT as a cost center and IT delivery to a more business-centric model, IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS). By embracing cloud computing, the role of IT also changes from exclusive provider to “broker” of IT services – some internal and some from external service providers – transforms from reactive to innovative, and elevates across business lines to strategic partner.
In turn, cloud computing enables software vendors to capture and expand markets faster, accelerate advancements, and lower cost of sales. And it opens new revenue streams for businesses with compute, storage, network and development expertise, physical capacity, and capabilities surrounding Big Data.
How cloud computing works
Leveraging virtualization technologies that uncouple resources from physical devices and location, cloud computing has two principle deployment models—public and private—and a combination of each termed hybrid, with these characteristics:
- Public Cloud - IT resources are owned and managed by a third party service provider, shared across customers, and accessed via the Internet or dedicated network connection. A variation is the community cloud, a multi-company, members-only version of the public cloud centered on a common interest.
- Private Cloud - IT resources are owned and dedicated to a single organization, shared across it, and accessed via the Internet or LAN. Resources are generally located and managed within the organization, but can also be hosted or managed by a third party.
- Hybrid Cloud - a combination of both public and private clouds. Some applications will reside in one environment, some will reside in the other, and some in both with the public cloud serving as an on-demand extension of the private cloud.
Among the many types of Cloud-based IT services, the three most common are:
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – Software runs on computers owned and managed by the SaaS provider, accessed by users over the public Internet, and generally offered on a monthly or yearly subscription basis.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Compute (generally virtual machines), storage, networking, and other elements (security, tools) are provided by the IaaS provider via public Internet, VPN, or dedicated network connection. Users own and manage operating systems, applications, and information running on the infrastructure and pay by usage.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) – All software and hardware required to build and operate Cloud-based applications are provided by the PaaS provider via public Internet, VPN, or dedicated network connection. Users pay by use of the platform and control how applications are utilized throughout their lifecycle.
Built, run, consumed and governed differently, cloud computing helps organizations:
- Increase agility. Capitalize on new capabilities and revenue opportunities quickly, scale rapidly, and respond nimbly to market changes.
- Improve efficiency. Maximize technology investments, reduce infrastructure, space and energy costs, and increase productivity throughout the organization.