Trends in Cloud Computing and Virtualization Adoption

Over the last 30 years, the landscape of the IT industry has changed dramatically with the adoption of virtualization and cloud computing. Though this trend has become mainstream, implementation has varied among world markets. 

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3 Types of Cloud Service Models

From data released by survey institutions, it is evident that cloud computing has its benefits. According to a 2011 survey conducted by Apptio and Worldwide Executive Council, 80% of IT executives believe metrics related to cloud would grow in importance over the next 12 months. But which cloud service model is right for you? Although the benefits of cloud can prove substantial for your company, there are many factors to take into account when deciding which is right for your business.

There are three basic kinds of cloud service models. Each share similarities but have their own distinct differences as well. These service models are Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service. It helps to think of these services in layers.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure-as-a-Service is the first layer and foundation of cloud computing. Using this service model, you manage your applications, data, operating system, middleware and runtime. The service provider manages your virtualization, servers, networking and storage. This allows you to avoid expenditure on hardware and human capital; reduce your ROI risk; and streamline and automate scaling. According to a 2011 article released by Venture Beat, “Some of the biggest names in IaaS include Amazon, Microsoft, VMWare, Rackspace and Red Hat.”

An example of a typical need for this model is someone who needs extra data space for processing power on occasion. Infrastructure-as-a-Service allows you to easily scale based on your needs and you only pay for the resources used. This means that the extra data processing space is available to you whenever you need it, and when you don’t you’re not paying for it, saving you money and providing your business exactly what it needs.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
This cloud service model could be considered the second layer. You manage your applications and data and the cloud vendor manages everything else. Benefits for using Platform-as-a-Service include streamlined version deployment and the ability to change or upgrade and minimize expenses. One popular Platform-as-a-Service is the Google app engine.

A business with limited resources interested in app testing or development might find Platform-as-a-Service beneficial to eliminate costs of upkeep for hardware. In this model, your business benefits because it is not necessary to hire people to maintain these systems. A scalable processing center is available at your disposal to use as you need (again, you only pay for what you use).

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
This is the final layer of the cloud services model. This allows your business to run programs in the cloud where all portions are managed by the cloud vendor. Your users will have assured compatibility and easier collaboration because all will be using the same software. Your company won’t need to pay extra licensing fees and you can easily add new users. As consumers we interact with Software-as-a-Service based applications everyday without even realizing it. Examples of this are online banking and email such as Gmail and Hotmail.

If you have a team that is able to maintain your hardware, but you want to make it easier to streamline your software programs for ease of use and compatibility, Software-as-a-Service will best suit your needs. Larger companies are a good example to use in this scenario.  Teams of large people need to be able to work collaboratively in order to achieve your company’s goals. By using Software-as-a-Service your team will be able to access the software from a variety of devices, in the office or on the go, which allows easier collaboration among your team.

As you can see, cloud computing isn’t always cut and dry. While there are similarities among the three cloud service models, there are significant differences as well. It is up to the consumer to choose which model is best for their company in order to use this invaluable service to its fullest potential.

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Types of Cloud Computing: Private, Public and Hybrid Clouds

A recent study conducted by KPMG found that 81% of businesses were either evaluating cloud services, planned a cloud implementation or had already implemented a cloud strategy. Fewer than one in 10 said they had no immediate plans to start using the cloud. No matter how businesses decide to move to the cloud, one thing's clear: they are moving to the cloud.

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Cloud Computing vs Virtualization: There Is A Difference

In the many meetings that we have at customer sites, conferences, seminars, and other industry events, one conversation point that we continually come into is the difference between Cloud Computing and Virtualization. The “cloud” has become a term shrouded in confusion.  Many IT organizations position themselves to be “doing cloud” to satisfy the questions from the business and other executives, because they believe virtualization to be synonymous. While virtualization is an integral part of cloud computing, they are not the same thing.

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