Types of Cloud Computing

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Today, cloud computing has transitioned to become a mainstream technology, with many different types of cloud computing to choose from. An astonishing 94% of enterprises are estimated to be using at least one cloud service, according to the latest State of Cloud report.

And yet, the capacity for cloud growth remains exponential with an IBM-commissioned study reporting only 20% enterprise workloads currently running in the cloud. Having only migrated the simplest of workloads, enterprises have a long way to go on their cloud journey. With 80% of enterprise workloads still running on-premises, their migration would represent a potential quadrupling of the current cloud market.

Despite the cloud market’s maturity, many organizations are still unaware of the cloud computing services and deployment models available. New cloud products and services arrive almost daily, driven by the constant innovation of tech leaders including Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.

To help you navigate the complexities of cloud computing, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the types of cloud computing available. We’ll also shine a light on some of the most popular cloud services, including some emerging technologies gaining traction.

Cloud Computing Deployment Models

Once you have selected your chosen cloud service(s) you have the option of three main cloud computing deployment models: public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud.

Like cloud service models, each cloud deployment model has its own unique setup with a range of differing requirements and associated benefits. Let’s look closer:

Public Cloud
Private Cloud
Hybrid Cloud
Other Cloud Deployment Models

Public Cloud
Public cloud is the provision of computing services over the public internet by a third-party provider. Public cloud services are available to anyone who wants to use them and can be free or paid to use.

In a public cloud deployment, the responsibility for the management and maintenance of the systems falls directly to the provider. Although public and private cloud architecture can be identical, there may be significant differences in the security requirements of each cloud deployment.

A public cloud deployment model removes the expensive upfront costs of purchasing, managing, and maintaining on-premises hardware and software infrastructure. It also offers rapid deployment and almost infinite scalability thanks to the sheer size of public cloud technology providers Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.

Private Cloud
Private cloud is the provision of computing services for a single organization access over the internet or a private internal network. A private cloud can be managed internally or by a third-party provider.

Private cloud deployment will offer you many of the same benefits of public cloud, including self-service and scalability. When compared to public cloud, you will also have greater control and customization of the services you consume within your private cloud. This means you can implement a higher level of security and privacy – ideal if you’re operating in an industry where compliance is a requirement.

However, these additional benefits come at a cost. With most deployments, the responsibility for cost and accountability of managing the private cloud will remain with your IT department. This means private clouds are slower to deploy and carry the same expenses – staffing, management, maintenance – as traditional data center ownership.

Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud is the provision of computing services through a combination of public cloud and private cloud deployments. This type of deployment allows the sharing of data and applications between both cloud environments.

Hybrid cloud offers you the capability to seamlessly scale resources from on-premises private infrastructure up to the public cloud to meet fluctuations in processing computing demands. This allows you to utilize public cloud resources for non-sensitive computing tasks while keeping sensitive business-critical applications secure within a private cloud deployment.

Used effectively, a hybrid cloud deployment allows you to scale and meet spikes in short term resource demand without the requirement for long term investment. Hybrid computing is a platform that offers the ‘best of both worlds’, giving you access to the full range of cloud computing benefits – flexibility, scalability, and cost efficiencies paired with the lowest possible risk exposure.

What Are the Main Types of Cloud Computing?

At the highest level, cloud computing is delivered through a combination of service and deployment models. Within each of these cloud delivery models there are three types of cloud computing and as a service -aaS offerings to choose from.

Let’s explore them in detail.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Everything as a Service (XaaS)

Cloud Computing Service Models
There are three main cloud computing service models – Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Software as a Service. Each service model represents a different part of the cloud computing stack and comprises its own unique division of responsibility between you and the service provider.

Within each cloud computing service model, there are 100s of different cloud service options to choose from – which we will explore later in the post. For now, let’s take a closer look at the three main service models.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the service model that forms the foundation for your cloud technology deployment. Through an IaaS provider, you gain on-demand access via the internet to core IT resources including computers (virtual or dedicated hardware), networking, and storage.

IaaS provides you with access to a flexible state-of-the-art hardware resource that can be scaled to meet the processing and storage needs of your business. You utilize this infrastructure to provision your organization’s applications, software, and platforms – free from the responsibility of managing and maintaining it.

A typical example of an IaaS deployment will combine virtual machines and storage disks. With each individual element customized to meet the needs of your business whether it’s the Server OS or the size of the capacity of storage.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the cloud service model where you access combined hardware and software tools through a service provider. PaaS is most commonly used for application development.

A PaaS provider gives you access to the combined cloud infrastructure required for application development – databases, middleware, operating systems, servers – without the underlying complexity of managing it. This allows you to become more efficient. Instead of spending time installing and configuring infrastructure, you are instead focussed solely on developing, running, and managing applications.

Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service (SaaS) is the cloud service model that provides you access to a completed software product, run and managed by the service provider. Most SaaS solutions tend to be end-user applications.

Accessing your chosen software using a SaaS model frees you to focus solely on how to best utilize that software. With the SaaS provider responsible for providing, maintaining, and upgrading the software – including the underlying infrastructure.

A common SaaS example is a web-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution. You store and manage all your contacts via CRM without having to upgrade the software to the latest version or maintaining the server and operation system the software is running on.

The traditional cloud service model pillars – IaaS, PaaS, SaaS – have grown over the years to encompass such a vast array of additional offerings that we are now entering an era of ‘Everything as a Service’.

Let’s take a look at it for a moment.

Everything as a Service (XaaS)
Also referred to as Anything as a Service, the XaaS acronym is a general term that encompasses the vast range of products, tools, and technologies which are emerging as new and popular as a Service offerings.

The explosion of these new services – and associated acronyms – has reached such a level that -aas directories now exist simply to keep track. Each of these cloud service model iterations is a potential multi-billion dollar industry in its own right. The most popular services including Desktop as a Service (DaaS), Artificial Intelligence as a Service (AIaaS), and Unified Communications as a Service (UaaS).

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