What is Cloud Computing?

By Richard May, Managing Director of Virtual DCS

The ‘Cloud’ does not exist.

It is simply a metaphor for the internet and within this metaphor there are a number of services that are placed under the Cloud Computing label. The most popular currently include Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Recovery as a Service (RaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS). The number of ‘as a service’ products that can be included within the Cloud umbrella are limited only to the imagination of the business and the technology available to them, with more Cloud services being created on a daily basis.

Infrastructure as a Service is perhaps the basis for many of the other Cloud services. IaaS is where a company splits a server’s resources into smaller partitions, which after this process, are then known as ‘Virtual Machines’, or ‘Virtual Private Servers’, depending on how the server is partitioned. For a technical comparison of Virtual Private Servers and VMware virtual Machines, click here.

The Cloud provider would then sell these individual partitions to the user who can gain access to this, typically via the internet. By using virtualisation technology, the user can pay for their partition on a monthly or quarterly basis while avoiding purchasing and maintaining redundant hardware, as upgrades and patches are typically maintained by the provider. The user also has the ability to expand their partition size whenever their resources require it, only paying for the facilities that the business uses.

Within IaaS, the user can also choose from either a ‘Public’ or ‘Private Cloud’ solution, a ‘Public Cloud’, as described above, is where the server would be divided into several secure partitions, each partition housing a different business. A ‘Private Cloud’ is where the user would have use of the entire server, either offsite and maintained by the Cloud provider or onsite and maintained by the business. The decision to use a ‘Private Cloud’ over a ‘Public Cloud’ is often dependent on the legal requirements and legislation of the business.

Recovery as a Service (RaaS) is a Cloud based method of disaster recovery, however unlike traditional solutions, the user does not have to purchase a duplicate set of hardware in case of a disaster. RaaS, like all Cloud technology, is flexible to the needs of a business, with options for real time replication, or bulk backup schedules. Furthermore, (depending on the level of service that the Cloud provider offers) a Cloud based solution would typically restore data within a matter of minutes, whereas a traditional tape based solution could take days.

Platform as a Service is a solution that enables the user to develop, and launch, custom applications from their environment. Most commonly used by software developers, this method enables the user to remain in control of their environment, while still receiving the full benefits of virtualisation while only paying for the resources that they use.

Finally, Software as a Service (SaaS) enables software developers to securely release their software via the internet, enabling them to charge for their software on a monthly or quarterly subscription service. SaaS offers an additional layer of control and security for the software developer, while giving them access to an international revenue stream that would have been previously unavailable.

For more information on Cloud Computing and our services, please visit www.virtualdcs.co.uk/ or call a Cloud expert on 08453 888 327.

About virtualDCS:

Yorkshire Cloud Computing company Virtual Data Centre services (virtualDCS) were established in 2008 by Richard May and John Murray and have since had a 100% growth rate each financial year.

Since January 2011 virtualDCS has employed 6 new staff members.

Using the latest Cloud Computing technology from VMware, their solution delivers significant cost savings, improved availability and reduced carbon emissions.

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