Cloud Services, What They Are and Why You Might Need One

Cloud services, what are they? Let’s immediately give a definition of Cloud Architecture. Cloud Computing is an architectural model characterized by the dynamic allocation of resources. Cloud Computing infrastructures are large data centers that allow the user to have the resources he needs (storage, applications, programs, services) according to need. In this way the company can considerably reduce the investment in the internal infrastructure to acquire it, externally, according to the needs of the moment.

The resources are not fully configured and implemented by the supplier specifically for the user, but are assigned to him starting from a set of resources shared with other users, leaving part of the configuration burden to the user. When the user releases the resource, it is reconfigured to its initial state and made available again in the shared pool of resources.

Cloud Computing makes resources available to the user as if they were implemented by “standard” systems (servers or personal peripherals). The actual implementation of resources is not defined in detail. Indeed, the idea is precisely that the implementation is a heterogeneous and distributed set – the cloud – of resources whose characteristics are not known to the user.

Cloud Services, Here Are the Main Players And 3 Types of Services Offered

In this definition we can recognize three different actors who interact in the process:

The service provider (cloud provider) that offers the services (virtual servers, storage, complete applications) generally according to a ” pay-per-use ” model;

The administrator customer who chooses and configures the services offered by the supplier, generally offering added value such as software applications, advanced configurations and customizations;

The end customer who uses the services appropriately configured by the administrator customer.

In some situations, the administrator customer and the final customer may coincide.

Within the definition of Cloud architecture, three basic types of services for managed Cloud Computing can be distinguished:

  • infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  • platform as a service (PaaS)
  • software as a service (SaaS)

Service 1: Software as A Service (IaaS)

In this type of service, customers do not pay for owning the software but for using it. Access to the software is possible through APIs or often through Web services or REST. SaaS is a set of means, services and skills that allows companies to completely outsource some aspects of their information system (messaging, security and more) and replace it with an operating cost rather than an actual investment.

Service 2: Platform as A Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS) means the provision of an entire Cloud Platform to the customer, to which the user has access through a specific distributed framework.

It can be used to write applications to be distributed through a Cloud system thanks to which the platform increases or decreases resources based on requests. The elements of PaaS allow you to develop, test, deploy and manage business applications without the costs and complexities associated with purchasing, configuring, optimizing and managing hardware and softwareBasic. Elements of PaaS can be employed for designing, developing applications and application services such as team collaboration, web integration, database integration, security and state management. These services can be used as an integrated solution on the Web.

Service 3: Infrastructure as A Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a cloud computing model where virtualized computing resources are provided over the internet. It allows businesses to scale their infrastructure dynamically, accessing virtual servers, storage, and networking resources on-demand. IaaS eliminates the need for physical infrastructure management, reducing costs and providing flexibility for businesses to focus on their core operations.

Cloud Services, How to Plan the Migration: 2 Approach Strategies and The Benefits of Use

The process of approaching the Cloud depends on many variables, such as the type of provider to contact (public or private Cloud) and the type of service (SaaS, Paas, Iaas). Ultimately, it also depends on how you integrate your internal infrastructure and data management with security and privacy. Despite these variables, two approach strategies can be identified:

  • an internal path, which starts with the creation of a Cloud infrastructure and the transfer of existing applications, to then choose which services to continue to provide internally and for which the Public SaaS model is convenient
  • an external path, which immediately envisages the experimentation of Public SaaS services and then subsequently the adoption of PaaS services as well.

In general, the structural approach is the one undertaken by larger companies, as they have the skills to control resources, more restrictive constraints regarding security and privacy management policies, the financial resources necessary for initial investments, more rigidities, greater architectural complexity and a demand for IT services that requires the exploitation of the economies of scale enabled by the Cloud.

For small companies or in the case of start-ups, the infrastructural path will be more difficult to implement both due to the high initial costs and the lack of adequate architectural skills. These companies will probably be attracted by Public Cloud type services, through which they can access, in pay-per-use mode, solutions that were previously not economically and/or technically accessible. This does not necessarily mean that in the long term the company will have savings, but at least in the short term it will be able to access solutions that in the traditional IT model would have been precluded by very high initial investments and the lack of adequate skills.

What are the benefits that companies expect:

  • Reduction of service activation times
  • Reduction of internal management costs
  • Lower initial investment
  • Scalability and flexibility

The Cloud has a potential that is only fully realized when companies develop a clear vision of the Cloud, both from a technological and business point of view. The keyword is transformation: the Cloud architecture helps the company to keep pace with technological progress and to evolve.

Cloud Services, Critical Aspects and Difficulties. But Often They Don’t Choose Each Other Because They Don’t Know Each Other

The critical aspects essentially concern security and privacy:

  • Where is the data physically stored?
  • Who can access them?
  • With what rules and safeguards?

Although in reality the problems highlighted by IT managers mainly concern the difficulty in defining and maintaining SLAs (service level agreements).

At the business level, the greatest difficulty is linked to cost forecasting, especially for small companies with linear growth.

  • both for performance and reliability of the network and of the ICT providers, as most of the solutions as a Service require the availability of broadband internet connection technologies, which guarantee a high level of service
  • and for the lack of knowledge of the solutions on the part of the user companies: in over half of the cases of companies that do not use Cloud solutions, the non-adoption is linked to the lack of knowledge of the model and the opportunities it offers.
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