As more and more people around the world transition to working from home, staying connected and informed is more important than ever. Companies that depend on in-office or local services may find themselves struggling to continue old processes. By embracing new technology, businesses of any size can modernize and find new ways of completing tasks. Cloud and data services can greatly help companies solve new problems by providing a wide array of services. From data storage to cloud computing and collections of related software like PI system connections, there is a data or cloud service that can help with your business’s unique situation. Unfortunately, cloud and data services are technically dense subjects that are often not explained well, making the topics difficult for a new user to understand. However, cloud and data services do not require an advanced degree to understand and anyone can comprehend these powerful services with the help of this guide.
What is Cloud Computing
The term “cloud services” covers multiple different services delivered through or using the power of the cloud. One of the most popular uses of cloud technology is cloud computing, but that is another vague term with no obvious definition. Within cloud services, there is cloud computing, but what is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is generally defined as on-demand and often pay-as-you-go computing services that take place in the cloud. Instead of owning your own IT infrastructure or data center, you can use cloud computing to complete a task and only pay for what you use. Cloud computing is essentially a powerful computer you pay to use through the Internet and from processing power to storage, cloud computing can handle a variety of tasks.
Chances are, you have been using cloud computing in your everyday life and don’t know it. Services like Gmail or photo backup services use the cloud to store data that you can easily access at any time. The speed of cloud storage lets users forget that they are using the cloud because there is such little delay before items are pulled from the cloud and displayed for the user. Netflix relies on cloud computing to run its video streaming service which further underscores the impressive speed of cloud computing.
The 3 Different Cloud Service Models
If your business is interested in adopting cloud computing, there are a few ways you can access the technology. Cloud computing services follow one of three models: Infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and software as a service. With each of these models, you pay for something different or additional services on top of the base service. Thankfully, these terms are reasonably self-explanatory and each option suits different situations ensuring anyone can access cloud services.
Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas)
This model of cloud computing is considered the most basic, but technically complicated option. Using infrastructure as a service lets a business rent the fundamental building blocks of computing with physical or virtual servers, storage, and networking. This option is appealing for businesses that want to build programs from scratch while maintaining complete control over almost every element of cloud computing. The freedom, flexibility, and control infrastructure as a service provides is enticing but requires significant technical ability to make full use of the service. Research by Oracle found that nearly two-thirds of Iaas users found the online infrastructure made it easier to innovate, cut down the time it takes to deploy new products and reduced on-going maintenance costs. The pay-for-what-you-use model Iaas normally employs also lets businesses of any size access cloud computing with the option of scaling up or down to suit any situation.
Platform as a Service (Paas)
Platform as a service offers capabilities similar to Iaas but includes tools and software developers can use to create applications to improve their cloud capabilities. Paas is the difference between hiring an event space to hold a party and building your own event space to hold a party. You will still need to bring your own decorations to make the venue unique, but you have a starting place. Iaas lets developers build whatever they want from scratch while Paas gives developers a starting point and the necessary tools to start building. Paas takes some of the control away from developers so they can focus entirely on creating something new while menial tasks are managed for them.
Software as a Service (Saas)
Software as a service is different from the other two options because the Saas model does not involve downloading, installing, and running programs on a physical computer. You can access every element within Saas over the Internet. Instead of a pay-as-you-use structure, most Saas models charge a fixed monthly fee with no hidden surprises. The monthly fee includes maintenance and security services that would be costly and time-consuming for a business to supply themselves. Saas packages are known for their easy set up where accounts and software can be up and running in a few hours. Should you run into problems, Saas packages typically come with customer service and support to assist with any issues. Just like the other two models, Saas is scalable to fit any business’s budget.
Cloud computing was considered future-tech not long ago, but now cloud and data services are common tools businesses of any size can use effectively. Instead of buying and maintaining your own servers or data centers, use cloud services. Consider the different cloud service models to determine which fits your needs.