Introduction to Different Types of Cloud Computing

By | July 9, 2012

Cloud computing is based around three different principles primarily, with all of them delivered in the context of a shared core environment. If you choose your own private cloud solution then IaaS, PaaS and SaaS won’t apply because you will control over the entire cloud, but if you opt for any other cloud solution offered by Bodhost then one of the following will come into play at some point.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

The fundamental idea of IaaS-based cloud computing services is that the consumer will have access to the resources that form the virtual machine, along with some of the external resources that can affect the operation of virtual machines externally. For larger businesses having this level of control will put them in a position where they can develop complex infrastructures from within the cloud to support their web applications; the benefit of this is that they can reduce costs because achieving such infrastructures using physical networking hardware and dedicated servers can be an expensive business.

As a user of an IaaS cloud computing, such as eNlight enterprise cloud hosting offered by Bodhost, you can expect to have control of features such as:

  • Control over the operating system that your virtual machines are running; with eNlight, Bodhost offers a range of Linux distributions as well as the Windows OS for your use.
  • System resources such as RAM, disk space and CPU power can be controlled on the fly so that you can increase and decrease the power of your virtual machines as demand dictates.
  • Access may be available to external influences such as firewalls and routers so that you can create a more custom experience; access may not be direct, but you may be offered access to interfaces where you can configure options such as vLANs between your virtual machines.

Developing your own network of virtual machines gives you a chance to implement advanced features such as load balancing to distribute the load of your website across several virtual machines for improved performance. Server mirroring can also be setup using virtual machines in an IaaS cloud.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS services offer a little less control than IaaS services. Although the consumer will have no control over the hosting environment, they will have control over the applications that the environment hosts. The best example of PaaS is application frameworks where developers use a set of functions and features that have been compiled into a framework to develop their own web applications around this. The following benefits are available to businesses using PaaS:

  • Similar to other cloud hosting solutions, you will be using this on a pay-per-use basis so that you are only ever billed for the resources or features from the application environment that you are using, therefore delivering good value for money.
  • Security and reliability are offered as per standard cloud practices because there will be a cluster of servers available to take the load placed upon the environment; the latest techniques will be used to make sure that any data you hosted in this environment is stored securely.
  • Scalability is available on tap so that you can purchase additional capacity to power your applications in the PaaS environment is necessary because estimating demand when you first start using a service isn’t going to be the simplest of tasks.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

There are many ways in which consumers are using SaaS these days without actually realizing it. SaaS applications provide the consumer with no control over the hosting environment in any way, or the application itself to any great extent; this allows the provider of the software to keep control over how the application is used and managed. Many small and medium sized businesses use SaaS-based applications as part of their day to day business activities, including to manage staff through HR systems and company finances through financial management applications; this allows them to streamline their workstreams and to simplify what would otherwise be complex processes.

Benefits offered by SaaS include:

  • Reduced costs for consumers because there are no infrastructure or management costs involved in the provisioning of the service.
  • The developer of the application can deliver updates to one platform rather than having to develop a solution that can be delivered to a desktop application; however, this doesn’t necessarily mean that consumers won’t experience downtime at this point.
  • Multiple users can access the application at once using a familiar interface available on most computers, which in most cases will be a web browser.

All of these forms of cloud computing can be delivered by Bodhost using one of our web hosting platforms. We offer IaaS in the form of our eNlight enterprise cloud hosting products; if you wish to offer your own PaaS or SaaS services then a dedicated server cluster or private cloud solution will assist you with meeting these needs.

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