What are the types of cloud computing options?

Using cloud computing can transform operations and provide any individual or organisation with a wealth of options when it comes to expansion and growth. At its heart, cloud computing is simply the delivery of computing services over the internet, whether that’s servers, storage or something else. There are two key ways to look at the options that are available when it comes to cloud computing – by classifying these based on either location or the service that is on offer.

Cloud computing – classification by location

There are four classification options to be aware of here: public, private, hybrid and community.

The public cloud is an infrastructure that is entirely located on the premises of the service provider that is offering the public cloud.

The private cloud means that this infrastructure is on the servers of the business using it and it is not shared with other organisations. This can provide more in the way of enhanced security options.

The hybrid cloud allows for a combination of these two – so, the more business-critical applications may be hosted on a private cloud that is exclusive to an organisation while others are in the public cloud.

A community cloud is one that is shared but only between organisations that are part of the same community or share a common organisational goal.

Cloud computing – classification by service

There are four types of cloud computing service classifications and when they all appear together they are often described as a stack because they tend to layer one on top of the other. The base layer is Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), which provides the opportunity to lease certain elements of infrastructure and pay for it on an on-demand basis. The next level up from this is Platform as a service (PaaS), which is essentially an online environment that can be used to create web or mobile apps without the need to establish the underlying development infrastructure (storage, databases etc). Software as a service (SaaS) may be the service we are most familiar with, as it allows for software applications to be accessed over the internet as and when required. Any upgrades, maintenance etc fall to the service provider and not to the business buying the software as a service. Functions as a service (FaaS) is aimed at developers, providing a layer of insulation against everything in the stack below that is triggered when a specific event occurs.

Everything, from sending emails to editing documents, streaming audio and video and engaging with analytics could be the result of cloud services today – many of us are engaging with cloud computing on a daily basis without even realising it. Convenience, scalability, accessibility and the huge cost benefits of services and infrastructure that are available as a pay-as-you-go option have made cloud computing an obvious first choice for many. From reducing operational costs to increasing capacity and response times, there are some very good reasons to integrate cloud computing into business approach.

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