Cloud computing has become increasingly important over recent years both for individuals and organisations. Although opinions may be divided on the future routes that it might take, there is a general consensus that it will become even more important in the future,.
Essentially cloud computing means using services that are hosted by third parties over the internet, but there are several different models. The most important ones are SaaS, (software as a service), PaaS (platform as a service) and IaaS (infrastructure as a service), and while SaaS has been the most important driver to date, the latter two seem set to be the main drivers in the future. Here we will look at each of these and what they have to offer.
SaaS provides users with on demand software. The software is hosted on the cloud and it is accessed by the client through a browser interface. It is used by organisations and businesses for such applications as email management, customer relationship management, accounting with the use of a free invoice template for easy organization, management information systems, and HR. It is estimated that by 2015 the SaaS market will be worth around $21 million, having doubled its value in just five years.
There are many reasons why organisations are looking for their own low cost cloud server hosting provider and migrating to the cloud. The amount of data that needs to be managed along with regulatory requirements such as e-discovery makes on-premises solutions almost impossible for many IT departments to cope with. Although concerns over data security have made many organisations resultant to migrate to the cloud, these are becoming increasingly less relevant; today the cloud when properly managed is considered to be secure.
For individuals the SaaS cloud computing model is the dominant one. The most important consumer cloud applications are data storage, services such as iCloud, web mail and social networks such as Facebook. These applications are accessible on all platforms and as long as they continue to be affordable their growth is guaranteed.
IaaS allows clients to access physical hardware or virtual recourses such as servers and computers, and clients are able to scale their needs up and down in real time to cope with changing demand patterns, and the costs reflect the resources actually used.
This is a highly efficient cost model and very much cheaper investing in and maintaining hardware on premises.Â It is the ideal solution for small and rapidly growing enterprises. Typical uses are web hosting and services such as Amazon Web Services and Rackspace.
PaaS is oriented on the rapid development of web applications and circumvents the need to invest in software and the underlying infrastructure.Â It provides the necessary platform to achieve this.
It is the ideal solution for situations in which projects have many collaborators in different locations. The Google App Engine is a typical example of PaaS as is Force and Microsoft Azure.
An Unstoppable Force
Cloud Computing has many elements and provides solutions for many different and diverse requirements. We have looked at SaaS, the original driver, along with IaaS and PaaS and, although the edges of the latter elements are becoming increasingly blurred, it is clear that these will become increasingly important in the future.
Cloud computing has accelerated at a rapid rate and the rate of that acceleration is showing no signs of slowing. There is no going back. It is almost impossible to conceive that then cloud computing revolution will go into reverse gear and organisations will decide that their needs are best served by on-premises solutions; it simply can’t happen.
Today over half of small, medium and large enterprises in Europe and the US are involved in some manner with the cloud and that is just the beginning. Cloud computing in all its manifestations is undoubtedly the future.
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