When deciding to install cloud computing in your company, it’s often difficult to make heads or tails of the different types and models out there. It can be overwhelming to look at and most of the time there’s a lot of jargon involved. We’ve been there ourselves and we know that it’s no picnic.
To help you make an informed decision, we’ve laid out here the different types of cloud computing so you can find the one right for you.
Understanding the Terminology of Cloud Computing
For starters, you’ll notice that most of the words relating to cloud computing end with aaS, such as XaaS, PaaS, or SaaS. Quite simply, “aaS” stands for “as a Service”, which means that the letter right before it is what this type of cloud computing offers. What we will break down now are essentially those first letters.
1. IaaS - Infrastructure as a Service
The I in IaaS stands for “Infrastructure”. Sometimes this is referred to as “Hardware as a Service” or HaaS. This means that the service provider owns, houses, runs, and maintains all the equipment used to support operations. This includes storage centers, hardware, data servers, and networking components.
The benefits of IaaS include:
- Flexibility: the model grows as your needs grow. There is no limit to how much infrastructure you can use,
- Internet connectivity: the service provider will set up the internet connection for you;
- On-demand billing: pay only for what you need.
- Automation of administrative tasks
2. SaaS - Software as a Service
The S in SaaS stands for “Software”. In this type, servers providers host applications which customers can access over a network (usually the Internet). This is one of the most widely used models as more companies are relying on software services for their business. There are two slightly different SaaS models.
The first one is the hosted application management in which the provider hosts commercially available software and delivers it over the Internet. For example, email providers like Google or Yahoo use this model to host their email services and distribute them over the Internet to all web browsers.
The second one is software on demand in which the provider hosts unique software and delivers it to a particular network. For example, a design firm might use this model to host the latest Adobe Suite and make it available to all the designers linked to their network.
The benefits of SaaS include:
- Easier administration: you don’t have to worry about installing a copy onto each computer,
- Automatic updates: the software will be up-to-date at all times,
- Compatibility and easier collaboration: all users will have the same version of the software,
- Global accessibility: it can be accessed from anywhere in the world as long as you have the right user interface.
3. PaaS - Platform as a Service
The P in PaaS stands for “Platform”. This means that you will be able to rent hardware, operating systems, storage, and network capacity over the Internet.
This kind of model is most commonly used with programmers and developers as it allows developing and testing new software easily.
This is why:
- The operating system features can be changed and upgraded frequently, which means they’re never limited to one operating system or the other,
- Developers from all over the world can work together on the same project. Since they’re running their own OS, there will never be compatibility or updating issues. This allows them to benefit from the different resources they can obtain from virtually anywhere.
- Common infrastructure means less cost. They don’t need to own individual storage centers, servers, or other hardware. They can consolidate the infrastructure and decrease their expenses.
4. CaaS - Communication as a Service
The C in CaaS stands for “Communications”. This means that you can outsource all your communication needs to a single vendor. This includes voice over IP, instant messaging, collaboration and video conferencing, among others.
In this case, the provider is responsible for all the hardware and software management. They usually charge on an on-demand basis so you’ll always only pay for what you need. This means that this model is flexible and will grow as your need for communication grows.
5. DaaS - Desktop as a Service
The D in DaaS stands for “Desktop”. It is basically outsourcing a virtual desktop infrastructure to a third party service provider.
DaaS has a multi-tenancy architecture and the service is purchased on a subscription basis. In the DaaS delivery model, the service provider manages the back-end responsibilities of data storage, backup, security and upgrades. Typically, the customer's personal data is copied to and from the virtual desktop during logon/logoff and access to the desktop is device, location and network independent.
Desktop as a service is a good alternative for a small or mid-size businesses (SMBs) that want to provide their end users with the advantages a virtual desktop infrastructure offers, but find that deploying a VDI in-house to be cost-prohibitive in terms of budget and staffing.
The X in Xaas is used in the same way that it’s commonly used in Mathematics, as a variable. So this term can be interpreted as “Anything as a Service” or “Everything as a Service”. This means that XaaS is a bundle of any or all of the services listed above.
7. Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting is also referred to as a private cloud. This is when you have a server solely for your needs. Most uses of this case is for hosting a website. Dedicated hosting is a bit on the expensive side but has a lot of benefits:
- Speed: your data will run faster, since there are no other websites running simultaneously on your server,
- Security: no one else will have access to this server,
- Email stability: the only person sending out emails from the server is you. You don’t need to worry about spammers who result in the whole server getting blacklisted,
- Control: you can configure your own settings the way you want them.
8. Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is also referred to as a public cloud. This is when you share a server with other people. While it doesn’t enjoy the features of dedicated hosting, this type is much cheaper and more suitable for small businesses and personal websites. They offer a great amount of disk space, data transfer, and email accounts.
9. Hybrid Hosting
Hybrid hosting is also referred to as a hybrid cloud. This is when you have both a dedicated and shared cloud. The dedicated cloud is usually kept for integral data that is security-sensitive so it can be kept from third-party access, while the shared cloud is used for all other data.
This allows companies to reduce cost. Rather than getting a big, dedicated cloud, which is very expensive, they can opt for smaller capacity and use only what they need. Everything else they would store on the shared cloud.
Now you understand the different types of cloud computing
We hope this clears up the picture for you a bit. If you’re confused about which type best suits your needs, leave a comment below.
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