Cloud Computing – The Real Meaning: More Than Just a Buzzword
Posted on March 13th, 2012
Cloud computing has been used as a buzzword for quite some time now. It has not lost any momentum, in fact it continues to trend more and more as the number of individuals and corporations that are looking to make the switch to cloud hosting have inevitably fell in the “cloud computing” frenzy . Cloud computing is easily the most recognizable and largest trend the global IT market has seen since the launch of services like Napster. With all this use of the terms Cloud Computing, Cloud Hosting, and Cloud Services, we concern ourselves with what that actually means to businesses, other than being the buzzword of the century. The terminologies are used in various, different contexts and often simply as just another trendy term.
What is the real meaning of cloud computing beyond being just a buzzword? To make it simple and clear, all you need to do is think about a common issue in IT: The ongoing need for more capacity, more space and additional processing capabilities without having to invest in expensive infrastructure and services. Cloud computing offers a solution to this problem by including any pay-per-use or subscription-based service that extends existing IT capacity online.
Nowadays, the hybrid computing market is booming and there is a wide range of cloud-based services available. Three of the most important hybrid computing services include, and are of course not limited to:
SaaS (Software as a Service) implies that one single application serves multiple (thousands) of businesses using an architecture designed for multiple tenants. In favor of the customer, SaaS has no upfront investment in server or software licensing. In favor of the hosting provider or data center, this type of cloud computing means having just one application to maintain, thus being relatively cheap compared to conventional server hosting. One prominent example of an SaaS desktop application is Google Apps.
Utility computing basically means storage and virtual server capacity that can be accessed on demand. So far, utility computing has widely been adopted for minor or supplemental services instead of mission critical needs. Experts, however, project an aspiring rise of utility computing services in the ongoing decade and expect them to replace some of the traditional parts of internal corporate data centers in the future. Outsourcing IT services to a utility computing provider frees the company of the need of building a data center and still provides the level of control they require to secure their assets.
Platform as a service
Closely related to SaaS, service providers of Platform as a Service offer development environments on which clients can run their own apps. These can then be delivered to users through the Internet directly from the hosting provider’s servers. This implies that the design and capabilities of the vendor determines the service.
The future of cloud computing is evolving rapidly. With that being said, many still believe the inevitable need for dedicated hardware resources in association with idle computing power so that the businesses can have the best of both worlds of security and expandability. 7L Networks, for example, has taken this approach with cloud enhanced dedicated servers. Businesses have the security of dedicated resources and the benefits of cloud computing wrapped into a single hosting solution.