What is the Cloud?

OK, I know most of you know what the cloud is but do know the difference of a Public Cloud vs Private Cloud vs Hybrid Cloud? How about SaaS vs IaaS vs PaaS? These are acronyms and terms that we hear every day and I am going to attempt to provide some non-technical descriptions to make sure we all understand these terms.

Simply put, the cloud refers to software and services that run on the Internet. This contrasts with the software and services that run locally, on your computer. The cloud is also used to store data. When you store data, or use a cloud service, you can access the data from anywhere, using any device that connects to the Internet—not just from your computer’s hard drive or your company’s network server.

The cloud is not a single entity, it is in fact made up of massive datacenters all over the world. These centers store the programs and services that people access online, in addition to any data that users upload to the cloud. So, there are several different types of cloud and I have outlined some below:

  • Private cloud – This may also be known as an internal or enterprise cloud, and resides on company’s intranet or hosted data center where all their data is protected behind a firewall. This can be a great option for companies who already have expensive data centers because they can use their current infrastructure. However, the main drawback people see with a private cloud is that all management, maintenance and updating of data centers is the responsibility of the company.
  • Public cloud – Technically, in terms of architecture, there is little difference between a private cloud and a public cloud. But a public cloud is accessible by anyone who wants to use it. The main differentiator between public and private clouds is that you aren’t responsible for any of the management of a public cloud hosting solution. Your data is stored in the provider’s data center and the provider is responsible for the management and maintenance of the data center. This type of cloud environment is appealing to many companies because it reduces lead times in testing and deploying new products. However, the drawback is that many companies feel security could be lacking with a public cloud. Even though you don’t control the security of a public cloud,all of your data remains separate from others and security breaches of public clouds are rare.
  • Hybrid cloud – A hybrid cloud is what you might expect—a combination of a private cloud and a public cloud. An organization might take the hybrid cloud approach if, for example, it wanted to store sensitive data on a private cloud, but be able to access that data by using a program on a public cloud.
  • Community cloud – In this model, a group of organizations with similar needs, interests, or concerns might share a private cloud to share resources.

Companies of all sizes are expanding their use of Cloud Platforms with Public cloud services growing the fastest. Cloud services are divided into three main categories:

  • Software as a service (SaaS) – SaaS describes a way of licensing and delivering software by using a subscription model. Subscriptions are typically paid on a monthly or yearly basis and your software is in the cloud and you access it through the internet.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – With IaaS, users can rent servers, computers, storage, and networking resources by using 3rd party datacenter hardware to deploy virtual machines. What is a virtual machine – Is a virtual computer within a physical computer, implemented in software. It emulates a complete hardware system, from processor to network card. With IaaS users only pay for the actual amount of resources consumed.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) – With PaaS, users can develop, run, and manage web apps in a ready-made, cloud-based environment.

Cloud platforms and services can help businesses in many ways. Three key benefits:

  1. Saves you money – you avoid purchasing expensive servers and IT infrastructure and with less IT infrastructure you need less IT support staff.
  2. Work from anywhere – you can literally work on any device (Laptop, phone, tablet) and not be limited to working at your office.
  3. Scalable & flexible – You can scale up or down as the demands of your business change and you only pay for what you consume.

At KTL Solutions we are working with clients everyday to select the right Cloud platform or service for their business. If you want to begin the discussion on how the cloud can benefit your business please contact me sreid@ktlsolutions.com

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