Cloud computing is a selection of services provided to businesses that provide a cost-effective solution to grow and manage their IT capacity and functionality.
Depending on their particular needs, businesses can select when, where and how they wish to deploy cloud computing to ensure a reliable and efficient IT solution.
Before we dive into the different types of cloud computing, let’s look at the three main deployment models of cloud computing and the services that can be hosted within them
Cloud Deployment Models
Basically, there are three main types of cloud environment, also commonly referred to as cloud deployment models:
A public cloud environment is owned by an outsourced cloud provider and provides access to several businesses using the internet on a pay-per-use model. This deployment model offers services and infrastructure to businesses with the intention of decreasing costs within IT operations. The cloud provider in this situation is solely responsible for the creation and maintenance of all resources on the cloud network.
Public cloud environments are perfect for small and medium-sized businesses with a small budget that needs an easy and quick platform to deploy their IT resources.
Pros of a public cloud
- Easy scalability
- No geographical restrictions
- Highly reliable
- Easy to manage
Cons of a public cloud
- Not considered the safest option for sensitive data
This cloud deployment model customized infrastructure owned by a single business. It allows businesses to have greater control over their environment in which access to IT resources is more centralized within the business. This model can be managed in-house or even be externally hosted. Private cloud hosting tends to be expensive but for larger businesses, it offers a greater level of security and more autonomy when it comes to storage, networking and computer components that are ideal for their IT requirements.
Pros of a private cloud
- Improved level of security
- Greater control over the server
Cons of a private cloud
- Harder to access data from remote locations
- Requires IT expertise
Businesses looking to leverage the benefits of both private and public cloud deployment models can opt for a hybrid cloud environment. The combination of the two models creates a hybrid solution that offers more customizable IT solutions that meet the specific requirements of a business.
Pros of a hybrid cloud
- Highly flexible and scalable
- Enhanced security
Cons of a hybrid cloud
- Network-level communication might be conflicted as it is used in both public and private clouds.
Cloud computing service models can be further categorized into three distinct service models – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). There are distinct differences between the three models in terms of what they offer to a business regarding storage and resource pooling options. They can also communicate with one another to create a more comprehensive model of cloud computing.
IaaS (Infrastructure as Service)
IaaS is the most commonly used service model of cloud computing as it provides that fundamental infrastructure of virtual servers, networks, operating systems and data storage drives. It facilitates flexibility, reliability and scalability that most businesses seek and eliminates the need for hardware on-premises. This makes it a perfect option for small and medium-sized businesses that are seeking a cost-effective IT solution that supports business growth. IaaS is a totally outsourced pay-for-use service and is obtainable on all three cloud deployment models.
In this type of cloud computing service, providers deploy their own infrastructure and software framework but businesses have the option to create and run their own applications. Web applications can be developed easily and rapidly using PaaS, and the service offers flexibility and is robust enough to support them. PaaS solutions also offer scalability and are ideal for business environments in which several developers are executing a single project. It is also useful in situations that require an existing data source (for eg: CRM) needs to be leveraged.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
This cloud computing service deals with the deployment of software over the internet to businesses that pay a subscription or a pay-per-use model. It is a beneficial tool for CRM and for applications that require constant web or mobile access, for example in mobile sales management software. SaaS is managed from a centralized location allowing businesses to be free of maintaining it and is a perfect solution for short-term projects.