Cloud computing is the common term used to describe anything that involves delivering hosted services via the internet. The most popular forms of these hosted services are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). To understand which cloud computing services (or combination thereof) make the most sense for your organization, it is important to understand the purpose of each major hosted service in the “stack”:

  • SaaS applications are designed for end-users, delivered over the web.
  • PaaS is the set of tools and services designed to make coding and deploying the end-user applications efficient.
  • IaaS in the underlying hardware and software components that power it all, including servers, storage, network and operating systems.

SaaS is the most familiar form of cloud services for most small businesses and consumers. Simply put, SaaS moves the task of managing and running software to a third-party service. Common examples of SaaS applications include Salesforce (CRM software), Google Docs (productivity software) and DropBox (storage software).

PaaS is less familiar, but provides a platform on which software (including SaaS) can be developed and deployed. Like most cloud-based serviced, PaaS requires virtualization technology. With this service, businesses have the ability to scale resources as they are needed and as demand grows or shrinks rather than needing to invest in costly hardware and redundant resources up front. More popular PaaS platforms include, but are not limited to, Red Hat’s OpenShift, Heroku and Google App Engine.

Cloud computingPerhaps most fundamental to cloud computing is IaaS, which is comprised of highly automated and scalable computing resources. It is the most flexible cloud computing model and allows for automated deployment of everything from servers and storage to processing power and networking. IaaS is not particularly useful on its own and is mainly used to develop and deploy PaaS, SaaS and web-scale applications.

Cloud computing is typically delivered by one of two methods: public cloud or private cloud. Public cloud offerings are services rendered over a network that is open for public use while a private cloud operates solely for a single business or organization. Public cloud options often provide the most functionality for the cost; however, as with any “one-size-fits-all” model, security, customizability and control are limited. While this public option is great for many businesses, it’s important to weigh the savings against the limitations before your organization makes its final cloud computing decision.

ATB Technologies is here to assist you. Together we will perform a systems and cost analysis to help you determine which option(s) are best for your business. Most of our clients have adopted a mixed hybrid solution whereby their network is designed with an array of services balanced between public and private cloud configurations. Contact us today to learn more about how cloud computing can work for you, 314-878-4166.

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