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Want Cloud? Do you know what you’re asking for? Part 2 August 12, 2010

Posted by templeofthecloud in Application Hosting, Business Continuity, Business Continuity Best Practices, Carrier Neutral Datacenter, Cloud Computing, Colocation, Compliance Assistance, Data Center, Data Center Migration, Data Center Relocation, Datacenter, Datacenter commissioning, Datacenter solutions, Government Cloud Computing, Green datacenter, Hosting, IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service, PaaS, Platform as a Service, SaaS, Software as a Service, Uncategorized.
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So I am back to talk about “the cloud” again. It has been a busy couple of weeks so I’ve taken longer than I would have liked to get to part two of this tirade. Frankly, the extra time has been good because after days full of talking business continuity, cloud computing, data center migration, carrier neutrality, compliance; my assertions that few in the industry really grasp cloud is growing stronger.

Frankly, this will probably be one of the more “dry” blogs that I post on this subject. But no discussion about “cloud” is complete without an understanding of how cloud computing may be delivered. Your flavors are: SaaS (like Diet Coke), PaaS (Dr. Pepper), IaaS (Makers Mark with Red Bull).

Without further hesitation, lets get this over with:

Here are the “flavors” cloud computing:
Software as a Service, aka SaaS: This is what most people think of when they think of “the cloud”. Books have been written about the “cloud” that are hoisted up by cloud interlopers looking to make a buck off the cloud computing phenomenon. SaaS is a great option in many ways, but there is so much more. If you need to host application, and nothing else, SaaS is a good option. Think apps like SalesForce.com when you ponder the meaning of what a SaaS app is. Google is a huge provider of SaaS, and frankly, I’d argue that Amazon is little more than a SaaS purveyor. Good stuff, but only for high level cloud implementations.

Platform as a Service, aka PaaS: Now we’re getting to where the cool kids play. PaaS is probably the least paid attention to cloud paradigm. PaaS facilitates hard core application design and development, testing, deployment hosting, web service integration. It is a cloud model and solution that allows organizations to have a safe, secure, persistent cloud platform without the cost and complexity of buying and managing hardware and software. PaaS cloud can give developers, or organizations a place to use any programming language, database, operating system or server they desire.

I believe that PaaS is a great fit for more solutions than the typical mighty market sages recognize. PaaS is great because it provides much in the way of business continuity, development of best practices, compliance policy creation, etc. PaaS cloud is a an environment that creates a “target” delivery platform, that allows code control, multiple users, roll out roll back, auditing and compliance testing.

Platform as a Service is also a multi-tenant architecture. It provides the best of Infrastructure and Software as a Service via concurrency of management, scalability, fail-over and security. A great option for data center migration, or data migration, disaster recovery, not to mention application hosting.

Team Collaboration is an excellent reason for investigating PaaS style cloud computing. PaaS facilitates productivity on ad-hoc or defined teams because it provides an application environment where schedules, objectives, roles and access rights can be defined to name but a few.

Infrastructure as a Service, aka IaaS: Aahhh, Infrastructure as a Service, my favorite flavor of cloud. The is the mother ship, the data center in the cloud, the alpha and omega of what cloud computing is.  IaaS is the ultimate in dynamic, scalable, virtualized computing. IaaS provides the foundation for PaaS and SaaS. It is the big change that is going to define how well data center providers can solution their environments for the best use in the market. IaaS is a phenomenal way to digitize and optimize business continuity best practices and disaster recovery architectures.

IaaS is the epitome of having a high powered computing environment, but without having to own the physical hardware. A user consumes computing resources as a service, and only pay for resources used. A “real” IaaS implementation with employ a “utility” model where a user(s) will pay a flat monthly fee, much like paying an electrical bill. Computing power utilization can be shared across an IaaS instance, which can prevent having to engineer an architecture from peak load limits. Combine a high powered, highly available IaaS cloud instance with massive bandwidth, and you have a flexible, scalable, highly available, fault tolerant computing environment that is hard to beat.

It is important to understand that not all cloud providers can provide all three flavors of cloud. But it is a safe bet that if a provider (strangely enough, like Horizon Data Center Solutions) can provide Infrastructure as a Service, they can provide a Platform, and/or Software as a Service. But SaaS providers cannot necessarily provide Infrastructure as a Service.

So there you have it, a scratched service of the versions of cloud computing that out there on the market.

Next, we will cover the deployment models. This one will be a bit more fun because it is here that the know it all’s, the busy bodies, the geek snipers tend to get wrapped around their monitors in a lather on what ” true cloud” really is.

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