What is the Cloud?
Blog Article Published: 02/06/2014
The cloud, aka cloud computing, has many different colloquial definitions, all of which seem to be somewhat different depending on who you are talking to. A few of the different terms you may hear are Software as a Service (SaaS), virtual enterprise, carrier (or service provider) cloud, and I am sure many others. Here is a quick list of some of the main types of solutions in the cloud with a couple providers for each: SaaS
- Office 365
- Google Apps
- Amazon’s AWS
- Microsoft Azure
- Alcatel-Lucent’s Cloudband
- VMware’s vCloud
- Verizon Terremark’s Enterprise Cloud Services
SaaSSolutions such as Office 365 and Google Apps provide enterprise software (Microsoft Office and Google Drive, respectively) for companies to use through the cloud. This helps small to medium size companies who may not be able to afford dedicated IT staff to run a full blown mail, calendar, storage and chat solution in-house. However large companies may run this same solution to help when it comes time to upgrade these solutions as well as server space. Storage and server hardware would no longer be up to you to maintain.
Virtual EnterpriseEnvironments like Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure provide a much larger scale solution for businesses and even personal use. With Amazons EC2, you can setup a virtual instance running nearly any OS out there and can use S3 to scale a storage solution for that machine, or even others to share. Azure also has competing solutions. The possibilities are truly endless with these types of cloud infrastructure. Many companies run their entire website from this type of cloud infrastructure. Others use it as a Content Delivery Network (CDN) for web and mobile applications. There are many other ways you and your company can benefit from utilizing virtual machines, storage, backup, database and all the other cloud solutions AWS and Azure offer.
Carrier/Service Provider CloudInfrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) are a couple of terms that are used when it comes to the carrier or service provider cloud. A great description of this type of cloud solution comes from Wikipedia: “Carrier Cloud is a class of cloud that integrates wide area networks (WAN) and other attributes of communications service providers’ carrier grade networks to enable the deployment of highly demanding applications in the cloud. In contrast, classical cloud computing solutions focus on the data center and do not address the network connecting data centers and cloud users. This may result in unpredictable response times and security issues when business critical data are transferred over the Internet.” Per this definition, the cloud has focused on data centers and applications up until just recently. We were still limited by WAN connectivity, performance, availability, security and SLAs. Until the carrier cloud started to make its push over the last few years, some companies would not put critical applications into any cloud environment. Now with carrier clouds we have a greater ability to load balance across multiple data centers and resources based on WAN connectivity as well as system utilization. We gain a higher level of SLAs, governance and risk compliance (GRC) and security. This part of the cloud is the infant of the group, so it will be fun watching how carrier clouds will grow with the wide adoption of software-defined networking (SDN) and the evolution of networking. Considering a move to the cloud? Top Security Questions to Ask Your Provider - See more at: http://www.fishnetsecurity.com/6labs/blog/what-cloud#sthash.eFmg8UAM.dpuf
AuthorBart Stump Security Consultant
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