There are multiple providers offering cloud services and solutions in different industries.
Leading cloud computing vendors include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, the Google Cloud Platform, Alibaba, IBM Cloud, DigitalOcean, Packet, and the Oracle Cloud. These providers offer a wide range of computing, storage, messaging, processing, and other cloud services, all consumed on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Types of Cloud Platforms
Cloud computing refers to services run and accessed over the internet. There are different types of cloud platforms, created with a mix of technologies that enable cloud computing. These offerings might differ in terms of location, ownership, and use, among many other factors.
Here are the four different types of clouds:
These are clouds created from infrastructure that is not owned by the end-user. Traditionally, public clouds ran off-premises, but recent public clouds offer cloud services on clients’ premises.
These cloud environments are created for a given group of users, usually running within the users’ firewall.
This cloud combines public and private clouds connected through a specified network.
This is a cloud approach that includes multiple cloud vendors and services. While all hybrid clouds are multiclouds, not all multiclouds are hybrid clouds.
What Are Cloud Services?
Cloud services are web-based services that allow organizations to control and monitor their data by using scalable, reliable, virtual resources. Cloud services have been divided into three major categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
Are Cloud-Native and Cloud-Based Software the Same?
Although both have many similarities, cloud-native and cloud-based software are different.
Cloud-native software is architected in the cloud and built to run in public clouds like Azure, AWS, and other cloud technologies. Cloud-native applications are flexible and backed by microservices architecture, enabling parts of an app to be upgraded without total disruption.
Cloud-based software is architected in traditional servers but is moved to a cloud provider so that its local components can work with cloud structures. Cloud-based software leverages the scalability and availability of cloud-native applications. When applications are transferred to a cloud provider, organizations are no longer responsible for managing the resources needed to run the application. This feature eliminates the need to maintain servers and manage backups.
Cloud Service Types
Cloud services are generally divided into three categories:
IaaS is one of the first cloud computing services that comprise security tools, networking, storage, and computing. IaaS tools allow organizations to manage and configure software while maintaining maximum hardware and software stack control.
IaaS providers create the infrastructure, and companies provide the remaining tools needed for their internal networks. With these infrastructure services, organizations can reduce the cost of capital needed to create their internal infrastructure. Infrastructure-as-a-service examples include Rackspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Compute Engine (GCE).
PaaS is a development environment in the cloud that provides resources for delivering operating systems through the web without requiring installation or constant downloads.
Platforms-as-a-service solutions maintain the basic infrastructure of many IaaS tools. It also has development tools, database management systems, middleware, and operating systems needed to build software applications. PaaS is best suited for companies that develop software and web applications, as it allows developers to access development tools when needed without buying them directly. PaaS solutions include Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine, and Apache Stratos.
SaaS is an advanced software solution that comes in web-based software applications. The cloud provider maintains the operating system, middleware, data, and infrastructure needed to run the software in specific SaaS solutions. The provider also ensures that the software application is available when needed.
Software-as-a-service solutions are best suited to users who want to avoid overhead costs as there is no significant capital required for use. Many SaaS offerings come in the form of subscriptions or installment payments. Some SaaS examples are LaunchDarkly, Mirantis, Aqua Security, and Salesforce.
Benefits of Cloud Technologies
Cloud technology, also known as cloud computing, uses networks to access digital resources stored on the cloud. Cloud technologies allow organizations to scale up and down when needed.
Here are some benefits of cloud technologies:
Storage. Cloud storage is not limited in capacity like some physical devices may be. Cloud storage is unlimited and accessible to everyone who can afford it.
Collaboration. Cloud computing enhances communication and resource sharing between team members in remote locations. This capability has been invaluable since remote and hybrid work became prominent.
Affordability. Many cloud technologies allow organizations that cannot afford the overhead costs — or initial capital required to build internal technologies — to access vital technologies on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Recovery. Cloud technologies allow organizations to develop disaster recovery solutions and implement backups swiftly.
Challenges Surrounding Cloud Solution Services
Cloud-based services are applications or software that provide information technology (IT) as-a-service over a specified network or the internet. Delivery of cloud-based services is on-demand, and users make payments based on usage.
Cloud services have numerous capabilities that have improved software development, deployment, and service delivery, to name a few. But they have drawbacks, too.
Here are some challenges associated with cloud-based platforms:
Lock-in. An organization may get too dependent on a set of services from a single provider, making it challenging to move operations to another cloud if they find the current provider no longer suitable.
Cost. Cloud computing often saves businesses money. Still, the scalable features and on-demand use of cloud-based platforms make it difficult to anticipate cloud software costs, which may be very expensive.
Compliance. As industry standards and policies are updated, organizations that use cloud storage and backups often face compliance issues whenever they want to move data from their internal storage to the cloud.
Find the Latest News on Cloud Computing at The New Stack
At The New Stack, we keep track of the wealth of technologies, tools, and services that will help organizations make the most of their cloud services. Here is also the place to find out the best practices on setting up hybrid clouds, resilient and secure multicloud systems, and other cloud platforms.
Specifically, we explore issues such as costing, cloud migration, cross-cloud Kubernetes support, application deployment, cloud application performance, and monitoring. Learn more about these concepts in the cloud services category.