Datacneter & Cloud Services

A range of IT applications and resources hosted by third-party providers and delivered on-demand to organizations and individual customers through the internet.

Wht are Cloud Services?

Cloud services are a range of IT applications and resources that include software, infrastructure, and platforms hosted by third-party providers and delivered on-demand to organizations and individual customers through the internet. They can also be referred to as cloud computing; hence the words can be used interchangeably.

Cloud services rely on sharing of resources through the internet to achieve economies of scale. Linux is the most widely used cloud computing operating system as it runs about 90% of the public cloud workload and is also used by nine of the top ten cloud service providers.

How Cloud Services Function

Cloud services facilitate the flow of data to and from the servers of cloud service providers/vendors and user/customer servers and gadgets. Users can access cloud services through a computer with an internet connection or a virtual private network. They allow customers to forgo investment into the payment of software licenses and the acquisition of supporting network infrastructure and servers.

The use of cloud services allows customers to access software, cloud storage, computing power, IT infrastructure, and other services without the need for incurring maintenance costs or carrying out software and hardware updates. Cloud service providers use various billing models to charge customers, which is dependent on the resources consumed. They are usually pay-as-you-go plans on a monthly or annual subscription.

Types of Cloud Services

Software as a Service (Saas)

Software as a Service (Saas) is a model for distributing on-demand software applications to consumers through a cloud service. It is offered through a monthly or yearly subscription that is scalable if extra resources are needed, or additional users are added. It is the most recognized cloud service model where vendor applications run on a cloud infrastructure.

The Saas model offers a variety of services such as file storage, backup data system, web-based email, and project management tools. Cloud software is distributed using a cloud-native application architecture. Users do not need to manage and maintain the underlying cloud infrastructure, which consists of an operating system, network, servers, storage, and other applications.

Cloud applications allow for data access, storage, sharing, and all types of collaborations through a web browser. Hence, SaaS cloud services are available on multiple devices, which means access can occur on-premises or anywhere else. SaaS cloud service providers include Microsoft Office 365, Google Workspaces, Dropbox, Salesforce, Square Veeva, ServiceNow, Twillo, among others.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the basic foundation of cloud infrastructure and involves the offer of virtual and physical IT infrastructure and networking features to customers. IaaS is the basic platform to build new technologies and host cloud-based services, including SaaS services.

Unlike IaaS, SaaS customers choose not to maintain the infrastructure for cloud services. IaaS provides infrastructure which includes a data center framework, thereby doing away with software infrastructure investments and onsite installations.

IaaS services include raw block storage, file and object storage, load balancing, application firewalls, virtual machine disk image library, software bundles, virtual local area networks (VLANs), and IP addresses. Cloud users install their operating system software on cloud infrastructure platforms and are responsible for its maintenance and control. IaaS providers are responsible for the maintenance of all storage servers and networking infrastructure. IaaS is billed on a utility computing basis which measures allocated and consumed resources. Examples of IaaS vendors include:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) – Amazon Elastic Computer Cloud (EC2)
  • Microsoft Azure – Azure Virtual Machines
  • Google Cloud Platform (GCP) – Compute Engine
  • IBM Cloud
  • Alibaba Cloud – Alibaba Elastic Compute Service
  • Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the provision of on-demand tools for developing software applications through a web-based online environment. The PaaS package is a computing platform that includes a database, operating system, web servers, network, and programming language execution environment that users can use to develop cloud-based software and mobile applications. PaaS requires sophisticated development to support technologies such as application programming interface (APIs), automation, routing, orchestration, and containerization.

PaaS providers make available a development environment to application developers to develop, test, deliver and manage software applications. The vendors conventionally incorporate standards for development, channels for distribution, and payment mechanisms.

PaaS services scale automatically to keep up with application demand. They are also shareable through the internet. Using a PaaS service allows customers to forgo investment into the underlying software and hardware layers essential for application development. Examples of PaaS vendors include the following:

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Amazon Web Service (AWS) Elastic Beanstalk
  • Google App Engine
  • Salesforce aPaaS
  • Red Hat OpenShift PaaS
  • IBM Cloud Platform
  • Oracle Cloud Platform

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