Everyone is talking about cloud computing today, but not everyone means the same thing when they do. While there is this general idea behind the cloud – that applications or other business functions exist somewhere away from the business itself – there are many iterations that companies look to in order to actually use the technology. Cloud computing offers a variety of ways for businesses to increase their IT capacity or functionality without having to add infrastructure, personnel, and software.
Here are seven different types of cloud computing and a little bit about what they offer to businesses:
- Web-based cloud services. These services let you exploit certain web service functionality, rather than using fully developed applications. For example, it might include an API for Google Maps, or for a service such as one involving payroll or credit card processing.
- SaaS (Software as a Service). This is the idea of providing a given application to multiple tenants, typically using the browser. SaaS solutions are common in sales, HR, and ERP.
- Platform as a Service. This is a variant of SaaS. You run your own applications but you do it on the cloud provider’s infrastructure.
- Utility cloud services. These are virtual storage and server options that organizations can access on demand, even allowing the creation of a virtual data center.
- Managed services. This is perhaps the oldest iteration of cloud solutions. In this scenario, a cloud provider utilizes an application rather than end-users. So, for example, this might include anti-spam services, or even application monitoring services.
- Service commerce. These types of cloud solutions are a mix of SaaS and managed services. They provide a hub of services which the end-user interacts with. Common implmentations include expense tracking, travel ordering, or even virtual assistant services.
These are, of course, just the beginning. There are constantly new ideas and new iterations being brought to the forefront. As cloud computing becomes a viable and even necessary option for many businesses, the types of services that providers can offer to organizations will continue to grow and grow.