As modern technology continues to improve, several acronyms and common phrases are frequently used with Cloud Computing. However, you may not be absolutely certain what cloud technology terminology definitions are in addition to their benefits and intended uses. We have put together some of the more common terms surrounding cloud technology. This list is not an all-encompassing list; just some of the more commons ones that are used today.
The Cloud It’s appropriate to start with “The Cloud” which is simply a metaphor for a network of internet storage devices. Think of the past when you had a Personal Computer (PC) that you were considering to purchase. One of the specifications of your PC was the storage capacity, in addition to its speed, RAM, etc. With these early PCs, you just stored your information on your computer. Nowadays, when every you store anything outside of your computer, chances are it is being stored in a cloud environment. You are therefore transferring your information via the internet to another destination outside of your company to a trusted network. Many companies, such a Microsoft, have a vast network of managed data centers around the world.
Azure: Microsoft’s expansive network of data centers globally are called “Azure”. Azure is a public cloud service offering for multiple capabilities including Software as a Service ( SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS); we will explain these terms further below. Azure’s cloud platform can therefore be used for data storage, networking, analytics, virtual computing, business applications (apps) and more. Microsoft claims more than 99% up-time in addition to having the largest resources dedicated to maintenance ,and importantly, the best internet security protection measures.
SaaS (Software as a Service): SaaS technology platforms have been around for a while, although may people may not be aware or just simply take these offerings for granted. Think about an older computer example in which you had to “dial up” to access the Internet. The mail systems such as AOL, Yahoo, ect. are all example of SaaS technology. Another much more modern example are Microsoft Office products such as Office 365 or even Microsoft CRM system, now called Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) Instead of just applications that are delivered through the cloud, consider entire data centers, including physical servers, storage and traditional software now being part of Cloud Systems: that is what Infrastructure as a Service encompasses. Part of IaaS would also consist of network security and firewalls as cloud service as well.
PaaS (Platform as a Service) PaaS is similar to IaaS in that you have Cloud Infrastructure basics such as Servers, Storage and Networking, but is much more dynamic and complex with a complete development deployment environment. Platform as a Service, therefore, allows you to develop and manage applications with key components such as development tools, business intelligence, middleware and more.
Virtualization Virtualization is the creation of a virtual storage (rather than actual) devices and servers with a goal to share common resources for efficiency. In cloud computing, there are 4 types of Virtualization: Operation Systems, Hardware, Servers and Storage. Virtualization is achieved commonly through Virtualization Software which has the power to replicate technology.
Public Cloud: Public Cloud, is simply, services that are provided to users from an internet connection. Each of these users (called tenets), are together accessing a single data center. Some examples are Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft-any service in which you access a shared type service with many other users. Public Cloud services are shared by many companies and individuals. Some of the benefits of a Public Cloud are lower or no cost, no maintenance, and high reliability.
Private Cloud: Rather than being share by many companies, Private Clouds, therefore are linked to just one Organization: One Company-One Cloud. Private Clouds are more flexible and can be located at a company’s data center or there is an option to have a 3rd party hosting service. In addition a company has more control over security by having designated infrastructure and software tied just to the organization. The benefits, and reason government and businesses use private clouds, is having better security and flexibility; however they are added costs.
Hybrid Cloud: Hybrid Clouds offer even more flexibility and fluidity by having the capabilities of moving between public and private clouds. These applications and data can be transferred depending on a companies needs. For example “low sensitivity” applications can be utilized with Public Clouds while “higher sensitive” business-critical data can used in Private clouds. Additional control and flexibility is available on how you want to use your Clouds; choose how much, or little to use private vs public. In a sense, Hybrid Clouds can give you the “best of both worlds” for cloud computing.