For decades companies have struggled to keep costs reasonable when it comes to IT infrastructure. Between the complexities of running internal servers, paying hefty licensing fees for vital software, and ensuring all end-user systems functioned properly made provisioning and developing software a painful experience for any firm.
Fortunately, today cloud computing technologies have emerged as a way for companies of all sizes to slash information technology overhead costs while allowing companies to prototype code rapidly and provision software with ease. Overall the cloud is a vast field. However, there are three key areas that encompass the majority of the cloud.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Summed up as “on-demand” software, this is commonly associated with applications that are accessed via the internet and are commonly referred to as cloud applications. The most common usages of this software are contact relationship management, invoicing, human resource management, and much more.
The key benefit of using cloud applications is that they are often priced on affordable monthly subscriptions while not requiring long-term commitments. As cloud applications are hosted by the provider, customers do not have to worry about maintenance as updates are applied in real-time.
One of the biggest benefits of SaaS technology, however, is data portability. In the cloud software industry, mobility is the norm meaning that users of such systems can be productive whether they are on a workstation, tablet, or smartphone.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
This form of cloud computing technology primarily relates to companies that often need to develop software. PaaS involves providing a software solution stack on which applications can be rapidly developed and prototyped.
In this model, different providers offer developers different libraries and frameworks geared towards specific tasks, which help to reduce the need for development teams to reinvent the wheel. Additionally, many systems allow teams of developers to work in sync by providing security, scalability, fall-over, and concurrency management.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Unlike the previous two layers of cloud computing technology, IaaS is different because it is the backbone that powers virtually every other layer of the cloud. IaaS is commonly defined as server resources that can be scaled as needed. Typically this layer of the cloud is used to host company websites, web applications, and virtually anything else which can be powered by a server.
Many hosting companies offer IaaS solutions as “cloud hosting” which often can be purchased in flexible increments ranging from minutes, hours, days, or months. Additionally, many companies do not require long-term commitments from customers meaning that IaaS solutions can be purchased and disposed of as needed.
One of the biggest benefits of IaaS systems is that they can easily be combined with traditional hosting solutions to provide a fallback for periods of high traffic while not having to pay significant bills.
Regardless of which layer of the cloud is utilized by a company, it is crucial that proper cloud monitoring tools be implemented to ensure resources are being allocated effectively and that all systems are functioning as they can be.
By utilizing cloud monitoring tools, IT staff can take proactive action to prevent downtime and also track usage trends to better allocate funds for information technology infrastructure.