What are Cloud Computing Services?

Cloud Computing Services provide information technology (IT) as a service over the Internet or dedicated network, with delivery on demand, and payment based on usage. Cloud computing services range from full applications and development platforms, to servers, storage, and virtual desktops.

Who uses cloud computing services and why?

Corporate and government entities utilise cloud computing services to address a variety of application and infrastructure needs such as CRM, database, compute, and data storage.

Unlike a traditional IT environment, where software and hardware are funded up front by department and implemented over a period of months, cloud computing services deliver IT resources in minutes to hours and align costs to actual usage. As a result, organisations have greater agility and can manage expenses more efficiently. Similarly, consumers utilise cloud computing services to simplify application utilisation, store, share, and protect content, and enable access from any web-connected device.

How cloud computing services work

Cloud computing services have several common attributes:

  • Virtualisation – cloud computing utilises server and storage virtualisation extensively to allocate/reallocate resources rapidly
  • Multi-tenancy – resources are pooled and shared among multiple users to gain economies of scale
  • Network-access – resources are accessed via web-browser or thin client using a variety of networked devices (computer, tablet, smartphone)
  • On demand – resources are self-provisioned from an online catalogue of pre-defined configurations
  • Elastic – resources can scale up or down, automatically
  • Metering/chargeback – resource usage is tracked and billed based on service arrangement.

Among the many types of cloud computing services delivered internally or by third party service providers, the most common are:

Software as a Service (SaaS) – software runs on computers owned and managed by the SaaS provider, versus installed and managed on user computers. The software is accessed over the public Internet and generally offered on a monthly or yearly subscription.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – compute, storage, networking, and other elements (security, tools) are provided by the IaaS provider via public Internet, VPN, or dedicated network connection. Users own and manage operating systems, applications, and information running on the infrastructure and pay by usage.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) – All software and hardware required to build and operate cloud-based applications are provided by the PaaS provider via public Internet, VPN, or dedicated network connection. Users pay by use of the platform and control how applications are utilised throughout their lifecycle.

Cloud computing deployment models

Public cloud
Public clouds are owned and operated by companies that use them to offer rapid access to affordable computing resources to other organisations or individuals. With public cloud services, users don’t need to purchase hardware, software or supporting infrastructure, which is owned and managed by providers.

Private cloud
A private cloud is owned and operated by a single company that controls the way virtualised resources and automated services are customised and used by various lines of business and constituent groups. Private clouds exist to take advantage of many of cloud’s efficiencies, while providing more control of resources and steering clear of multi-tenancy.

Hybrid cloud
A hybrid cloud uses a private cloud foundation combined with the strategic use of public cloud services. The reality is a private cloud can’t exist in isolation from the rest of a company’s IT resources and the public cloud. Most companies with private clouds will evolve to manage workloads across data centres, private clouds and public clouds—thereby creating hybrid clouds.

Benefits of cloud computing services

Cloud computing services offer numerous benefits to include:

  • Faster implementation and time to value
  • Anywhere access to applications and content
  • Rapid scalability to meet demand
  • Higher utilisation of infrastructure investments
  • Lower infrastructure, energy, and facility costs
  • Greater IT staff productivity and across organisation
  • Enhanced security and protection of information assets