What is Cloud Computing?

The first time you come across the term Cloud Computing it may bring to mind an association with popular Cloud Storage (services like DropBox, Google Drive and so on), Cloud Apps (such as Google Docs, Amazon Workdocs and so on) and popular products which run within and rely upon Cloud Computing (such as Netflix, Spotify and so on).

Cloud Computing services fall into four main categories: SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and FaaS (Function as a Service).  All four rely on the basic premise that a level of the service being provided is hidden from the end-user, and your service is run by a “pool” of resources which is, for all intents and purposes, infinite.

Software as a Service is a method whereby a piece of software is provided from the cloud through the browser, and hosted and managed by the service provider. The chief benefits of this form of cloud computing are:

  • Automatically scalable
  • Security, Updates and Upgrades
  • Transparent Backup and Recovery
  • Available anywhere

Platform as a Service is most often used to describe a service which will provide a pay-as-you-go scalable infrastructure that is maintained transparently to your code running on top of it.  Examples include RedHats OpenShift, Google’s App Engine, Heroku as well as some elements of Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Infrastructure as a Service abstracts the hardware and facilities provision and allows you to create cloud servers, or instances, and related networking, security and other infrastructure resources on the fly. You’re relying on the service provider to deal with power, hardware, provisioning, storage and so on and provided in essence with Virtual Servers and the tools to connect them with the right storage, networking, security devices and so on.

Function as a Service, sometimes referred to as “Serverless”, is a platform on which you can have your code run without having to maintain or care about any of the maintenance of the systems or infrastructure on which is is executed.  You have the ability to deploy code that will act in response to events – these might be triggered by a user action from a rich web application or web site, data being added to a queue or uploaded to a cloud storage system or even on a schedule.

If you are considering Cloud Computing as an option in your business, tell us about your project and find out if we can help you successfully reach your goals.

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