Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing Services Features and Benefits

By now most people have heard about cloud computing services, but what does cloud mean? While cloud services may vary in their particulars, a cloud computing definition identifies the core features and benefits that are common across all clouds:

  • Hosted and maintained by the provider. The cloud hosting provider purchases, hosts, and maintains the necessary hardware and software in their own facility. Service users avoid the capital expenditures and maintenance headaches that they would have if they developed the service themselves on-premise.
  • Self-service through a web interface. Service users can initiate specific service functions, and increase or decrease their service usage level, though a web interface with little or no interaction with the service provider.
  • Pay for use. Service users pay only for the amount of service that they use. This can result in substantial cost savings compared to the traditional approach of developing on-site IT capacities geared toward maximum usage scenarios, and then having that capacity be under-utilized much of the time.

Cloud Computing Services Types

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). IaaS provides users access to raw computing resources such processing power, data storage capacity, and networking, in the context of a secure data center.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS). Geared toward software development teams, PaaS offerings provide computing and storage infrastructure and also a development platform layer, with components such as web servers, database management systems, and software development kits (SDKs) for various programming languages.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS). SaaS providers offer application-level services tailored to a wide variety of business needs, such as customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation, or business analytics.