The term "Cloud Computing" has taken the technology world by storm in the past couple of years. Wikipedia defines cloud computing as "a paradigm of computing in which dynamically scalable and often virtualized resources are provided as a service over the Internet." The cloud is actually a means by which service providers can provide infrastructure components and application platforms to customers cost-efficiently and as required ("on-demand"). But exactly how do we tell hype from reality?
Inside the industry, companies with a cloud-based offering go to market using a suite of services created to fit their target enterprises' and consumers' perceived requirements. From collocation services in premium sites all over the world to Class 4 wholesale and Class 5 retail infrastructure, to platforms and software in several regions around the world, we need to understand the challenges of sourcing the cloud elements of these types of services. There are actually three relevant categories.
Resources that are delivered as a service, including power, hardware, bandwidth and core network components are integral in providing managed services and 'cloud' infrastructure. Items like power, UPS, generator options, network components, CPU, data storage, backup and disaster recovery procedures, etc., must be evaluated. Further, providers may offer their clientele accessibility to a portal to discover the health of the Cloud Network component(s) for more transparency.
Choosing the platform on which you launch your business's services is vital to the reliability and security of the cloud-based offering. An acknowledged best-of-breed manufacturer will deliver a reliable, scalable and redundant platform in conjunction with ongoing engineering and tech support processes and expertise to ensure stability. The strength of known platform vendors is their established record. These relationships allow us and our service providers to score relatively higher in end-user satisfaction.
These kinds of applications are often accessed on the web via browsers. There are generally policies set in place by the operator that provides the necessary reliability, flexibility, and resiliency. For example, the security infrastructure and policies which the SaaS providers have implemented can minimize the vulnerability to fraud. Adequate protection for security such as denial of service (DOS) "attacks", hi-jacked IP addresses or domain addresses, unauthorized traffic, etc. can be another substantial consideration.
In conclusion, it is sensible to partner with an IaaS, PaaS and/or SaaS provider when a service providers has extensively researched their own requirements as well as the capabilities of their network and platforms along with the managed service provider. There are clear benefits to offset not owning and operating your own infrastructure. With a good cloud service, while you can make numerous configuration decisions, those responsibilities will nonetheless require on-going attention along with a full comprehension of all facets of a service offering.