Cloud Computing Types

There are different types of Cloud Computing. This chapter discusses each of these, splitting them into two main categories: service layers and deployment models.

Service Layers

Similar to an onion, the cloud is made up of layers. There are three major layers that make up the cloud, namely: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).

Infrastructure as a Service, IaaS

Infrastructure as a service entails the provision of virtual computing resources via the Internet whereby the Cloud provider hosts the components that are typically found on on-site IT infrastructure such as storage, servers, and networking hardware (Rouse, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), 2018).

There are a number of other services that the IaaS provider offers including: log access, billing, monitoring, load balancing, security, storage resilience, and clustering. These services are governed by policies, paving the way for users to implement higher levels of automation. For instance, the user may implement policies to take control of load balancing so that application performance and availability is maintained. A Wide Area Network (WAN) is provided and forms the basis through which customers can access IaaS resources (Techopedia, n.d.).

There are a number of things that businesses can do with IaaS:

  • Website hosting: Websites that are run using IaaS are far much cheaper compared to traditional websites
  • Web apps: Infrastructure as a service has the entire infrastructure required for supporting web apps, including application servers, storage, and networking resources. IaaS makes it easier for companies to quickly deploy web apps and scale the infrastructure when apps demand becomes unpredictable.
  • Big data analysis: Big data refers to massive amounts of data whose analysis could reveal trends, patterns, and associations. Mining this data and obtaining the relevant information can be costly in terms of processing power; hence IaaS which is economically friendly is preferred.

Infrastructure as a service has a number advantages including: rapid innovation, aiding with disaster recovery, improving business continuity, elimination of capital expenditure, reduction of ongoing cost, and better security.

However, even though the pay-as-you-go model provides a high level flexibility; many organizations may find IaaS billing to be problematic. IaaS users also have difficulties when it comes to insight. Given that the Cloud is owned by IaaS providers, users do not have outright access to details such as configuration and performance (Wikipedia, n.d.).

Platform as a Service, PaaS

Platform as a Service, PaaS, entails third party providers delivering software and hardware tools through the Internet, in which case the provider hosts this hardware and software in their own infrastructure. Thus, PaaS users do not go through the trouble of installing in-house hardware needed for running or developing new application (Wikipedia, n.d.).

In most cases, Platform as a Service does not bring about total replacement of the organization’s IT infrastructure. Rather, the business depends on PaaS for vital services like Java development or application hosting.

Platform as a Service provider is focused on offering a resilient and highly optimized environment whereby users are free to install applications and data sets. Instead of having to construct and maintain underlying services and infrastructure, users can concentrate on creating and running applications.

Most of the PaaS are oriented towards software development. Storage and compute infrastructure can be sourced from these platforms, in addition to version management, text editing, compiling and testing. With this regard, developers are able to create new software at rapid rates as development teams collaborate on the project at hand (Watts, 2017).

PaaS is mainly advantageous by the fact that users gain simplicity and convenience. Most of infrastructure is supplied by the PaaS provider and users are able to access this through the web browser. The charges for this access are based on per-use case, a model that many enterprises find to be convenient. There are other providers who have a flat rate fee that is charged on a monthly basis.

Despite being such an effective Cloud Computing type, concerns have been raised regarding resilience or availability. If a provider incurs service outage, there could be a great impact on customers, disrupting productivity.

Software as a Service, SaaS

Also referred to as Cloud application services, SaaS is the most common Cloud Computing type among businesses (Vladimirskiy, 2016). Software as a Service makes use of the Internet to deliver its users with applications that third-party vendors manage. Most of the SaaS applications can be run directly through the web browser and may not need the client to perform any downloading and installation.

As a result of its web delivery model, Software as a Service gets rid of any download requirements and installation processes on individual computers. This is something that has always been a nightmare for IT staff. Vendors are in charge of all the likely technical difficulties such as servers, middle ware, storage, and data.

The SaaS delivery model has a close association with the on-demand computing and application service provider delivery models (Wikipedia, n.d.).

Besides just eradicating download and installation requirements, there are other benefits associated with SaaS. Flexible payments are one such advantage. Instead of buying software to install and run applications, SaaS has a subscription offering. Typically, the service is paid for, on a monthly basis following the pay-as-you-go model. Thus, businesses are able to perform better predictive budgeting and may terminate the offering to halt the recurring expenses.

Automatic updates are also a thing to watch out for in SaaS. As opposed to buying new software, users of Software as a Service can simply wait for the provider to handle any relevant updates. The automatic updates are further backed-up by accessibility and persistence of the Cloud Computing type.

Despite the advantages that attract user towards SaaS, the reliance on outside vendors for provision of software to users can be very disturbing. Such dependence exposes the likelihood of security breaches occurring, which disrupts services and loses immense amounts of data.

Deployment models

Cloud deployment model refers to a certain type of Cloud environment differentiated by three key factors, namely: ownership, access, and size. There are four different deployment models, namely: public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, and community cloud.

Public Cloud

Just as the name suggests, Public Cloud is available to the public and data creation and storage happens on third-party servers. Companies are not required to purchase their own server infrastructure and maintain them given. These are provided by the service providers. Resources are offered as services by the providers either on free of charge basis or on a pay-per-use model. Users are allowed to scale as they find it necessary (Rouse, public cloud, 2017).

There are a number of benefits accrued as a result of using Public Cloud services. These include:

  • Scalability is possible to meet user demands and workloads
  • Given that customers only pay for what they need, resource wastage is kept at bay
  • The organization avoids the need to set up its own on-premises IT infrastructure

Public Cloud is wholly virtual. The architecture is multi-tenant, making it possible for users to share resources. However, the data of individual tenants does not combine with that of other tenants. The Cloud depends on high-speed network connectivity for rapid transmission of data (Sam Solutions, n.d.).

In most cases, Public Cloud storage is redundant whereby file versions are carefully replicated in the multiple data centers. Due to this feature, this type of Cloud is known to be resilient.

Depending on third party implies that users are denied certain privileges. For instance, they may not be aware of the storage location for information and the people who can access it. Malfunctioning and outage is a common issue that affects Public Clouds that may play to the disadvantage of users of this service.

Private Cloud

From a technical perspective, private Cloud and Public Cloud have little to no difference given that they have very similar designs. However, as opposed to the Public Cloud, only a single company owns the Private Cloud (Techopedia, n.d.). This kind of ownership explains why it is sometimes referred to as corporate or internal cloud. The data center architectures are enclosed in the firewall hence better security is realized.

An important fact to note is that in as much as a single organization is involved in running its workloads privately, the Private Cloud may have third parties managing it while the servers could be hosted externally or within the company’s walls (Techopedia, n.d.).

Access to information is restricted only to certain people. The use of specific credentials ensures that the public cannot get into the private repository. As security threats continue to increase in the information era, most organizations seem to be moving towards closed private type as this is seen to be less risky.

The services of a Private Cloud can vary greatly, making it difficult to pinpoint what makes up a Private Cloud from a technical point of view. Rather, such services are highlighted based on the features that the clients receive.

Ring-fencing is a common trait of Private Cloud. In this case, multiple clients could access virtual services, whereby they individually draw resources from distinguished physical computing pool (Butler & Greebe, 2018). The hosting of these could be done internally or externally. Similarly, access may be in various ways, mostly through:

  • Secure encrypted connections
  • Private leased lines

There are number advantages associated with Private Cloud. These include:

  • Improved security, reliability and privacy
  • Can be deployed from an individual perspective
  • Highly customizable, especially the network components and storage space
  • Corporation has increased control of its information

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid Cloud attempts to bring about the best Cloud service possible. The design of this Cloud is in such manners that impressive features from Public Cloud and Private Cloud are merged to provide clients with the most useful Cloud alternative. Organizations are provided with the option of mixing various facets of the two types of in order to come up with a Cloud solution that best meets their requirements (Interoute, n.d.).

There are different approaches that can be adopted when creating hybrid cloud.

  1. Vendor-native hybrid Cloud: In this approach, the on-site footprint is extended to the Cloud and vice versa. The Public Cloud is then connected to a given data center. Rapid growth of IaaS Cloud vendors have made it possible to take this approach.
  2. Hybrid cloud management software: Advances in technology have seen the introduction of a series of software programs which helps in the management of on-site and Public Cloud applications. Just from one platform, users are able to spin up and down virtual machines, databases, storage, and relevant resources without regard to whether a company is based on a Public Cloud or data center.

Hybrid Cloud makes it possible for enterprises to use on-site Private Cloud when dealing with sensitive facets of the business that require the highest levels of security. Third party Public Cloud could then be used for less-critical resources. From a practical perspective, enterprises normally take advantage of Hybrid Cloud hosting when they want to host their e-commerce websites in a Private Cloud. Such a website is kept safe and can be scaled as demands shift. As that happens, the brochure website is left in the Public Cloud to save on costs. Security is not a major issue here (Rouse, Hybrid cloud, 2019).

Community Cloud

The structure of Community Cloud has a close semblance with Private Cloud. The two are only differentiated by the number of users. Whereas only a single company is deemed to own the private type, Community Cloud comprises of several organization with same background sharing the infrastructure and associated resources (Gartner, n.d.). Given that the security, performance, and privacy requirements for the organizations are the same, the multi-tenant architecture makes it possible for these organizations to realize their business-specific objectives (Techopedia, n.d.). Therefore, the community model is a viable choice for organizations which are working on a joint project. Under such circumstances, the centrally available Cloud aids in project development, implementation, and management. Furthermore, the users get to share costs.

A major example is the Salesforce Community Cloud. It makes use of Salesforce’s social CRM platform for screen sharing and chatting. This makes it possible for users to perform operations in real-time like exchanging data and images. The conversation progresses without any kind of hindrances, and with little regard to the companies involved. There is also a Buy button in the console which users can use for e-commerce needs. Employees are free to use Salesforce Community Cloud for different types of interactions at the workplace such as human resource management, trouble-shooting, and help desk communications. The executive may exploit it for effective management and communication with channel partners as well as other third parties (Wikipedia, n.d.).

Community Cloud has a number of strengths which involved stakeholders are eager to exploit. Key among these are:

  • Reduction of cost
  • Makes it easy to share data and collaborate on projects
  • Better security and privacy
  • Guaranteed reliability

Even though collaborating organizations may want to exploit these strengths, there are some shortcomings. For instance, the costs involved are higher compared to the public one. It is also limited with regard to its reach. That is, Cloud Computing is not yet far spread as the other Cloud deployment models.

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