You don’t have to be a certified cloud expert, but given its rapid growth and staying power, you might want to brush up on a few bits of cloud jargon for your own edification.
Don’t you hate that feeling of being at a party or in a meeting when the conversation turns to a topic you know next to nothing about? If it’s a party, you might be able to politely excuse yourself and go grab another drink, but in a business setting, that’s not really an advisable exit strategy.
Sure, you can just smile and nod along, but wouldn’t it be better to understand the back and forth and actually add your own insight? Of course it would be. And when it comes to cloud computing, those conversations about it are only going to increase. The cloud is being utilized in more and more applications every day, and analysts expect cloud spending by businesses to increase 21% in 2016 to a whopping $106 billion in 2016.
Here are some of the most common cloud-related bits of jargon that you’ll be likely to hear thrown around, along with some layman-style definitions.
We’ll start off with the basics here, just in case you’re a total Luddite and are starting from square one. Defined loosely, cloud computing is eschewing utilizing the hardware and software on your local computer in your home or office, and instead utilizing it from a different computer(s) via the Internet. So despite what commercials and advertisements convey, there’s no magical computer-less “cloud” out there – it’s just using somebody else’s equipment.
Example: Total Server Solutions
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS essentially comprises the three main models of cloud computing, along with SaaS and PaaS (which we’ll be getting into here in just a moment). Infrastructure as a Service can be seen as the most fundamental type of cloud computing service offered. The basics of virtualized servers, hard drives, networking and other services are provided to the user, but the user is free to do with them what they choose. That can be great and will serve a lot of basic needs, but you as the end user are still responsible for managing applications, middleware, operating systems, and everything else.
Software as a Service (Saas)
This is the practice of using a company’s software as a web-based service as opposed to installing it manually on each and every computer’s local hard drive. Obviously this saves time as each computer or smartphone with an Internet connection can use the full capabilities of a robust suite of software without going through the installation process, but it can save a considerable amount of money as well. Licensing big applications for business-level use can be expensive, so opting to pay a monthly fee to use SaaS is often far cheaper.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS provides a full platform for not only delivering applications over the Internet, but also for users to run, manage, and develop their own applications. For application developers, this can be a godsend – the complexity involved with creating and managing the resources and infrastructure for an application creation environment can be daunting. The PaaS model instead allows developers to existing toolkits and hardware/software for a monthly fee or as a pay-as-you-go model (the more you use, the more you pay).
As the name might suggest, a private cloud is one that is available only to a certain company or enterprise. To the employee or user of a private cloud, it operates in the exact same way a public cloud system would work, with the lone exception being access is only granted toward employees and users granted specific access. This can be advantageous for operations with concerns about security and/or privacy (such as a medical billing company looking to adhere to HIPAA regulations).
As you might expect, the hybrid in the term Hybrid Cloud refers to using a mixture of both on-site storage (or Private Cloud, as we just learned) as well as public cloud systems. This is an attractive option for many companies who have a small set of critical, sensitive data they either prefer or are perhaps obligated to keep on-site, but don’t want to invest in a fully private cloud capable of hosting all of their non-critical data. Hybrid Clouds offer a good deal of flexibility as well, making them a popular choice.
Although this article just touches the surface of the sheer amount of cloud definitions, it provides a good start with some of the most basic concepts and cloud service offerings. We’ll look to do an update to this in the near future with some more advanced terminology. In the meantime, be sure to look at the wide variety of cloud packages we offer here at Total Server Solutions. We’re more than happy to work with you to find a service that meets the needs of your business.