Business applications are moving to the cloud. It’s not just a fad—the shift from traditional software models to the Internet has steadily gained momentum over the last 10 years. Looking ahead, the next decade of cloud computing promises new ways to collaborate everywhere, through mobile devices.
Life before cloud computing
Traditional business applications have always been very complicated and expensive. The amount and variety of hardware and software required to run them are daunting. You need a whole team of experts to install, configure, test, run, secure, and update them.
When you multiply this effort across dozens or hundreds of apps, it’s easy to see why the biggest companies with the best IT departments aren’t getting the apps they need. Small and mid-sized businesses don’t stand a chance.
Cloud computing: a better way
With cloud computing, you eliminate those headaches because you’re not managing hardware and software—that’s the responsibility of an experienced vendor like salesforce.com. The shared infrastructure means it works like a utility: You only pay for what you need, upgrades are automatic, and scaling up or down is easy.
Cloud-based apps can be up and running in days or weeks, and they cost less. With a cloud app, you just open a browser, log in, customize the app, and start using it.
Businesses are running all kinds of apps in the cloud, like customer relationship management (CRM), HR, accounting, and much more. Some of the world’s largest companies moved their applications to the cloud with salesforce.com after rigorously testing the security and reliability of our infrastructure.
As cloud computing grows in popularity, thousands of companies are simply rebranding their non-cloud products and services as “cloud computing.” Always dig deeper when evaluating cloud offerings and keep in mind that if you have to buy and manage hardware and software, what you’re looking at isn’t really cloud computing but a false cloud.
Cloud 2: Mobility and collaboration
The latest innovations in cloud computing are making our business applications even more mobile and collaborative, similar to popular consumer apps like Facebook and Twitter. As consumers, we now expect that the information we care about will be pushed to us in real time, and business applications in the cloud are heading in that direction as well. With Cloud 2, keeping up with your work is as easy as keeping up with your personal life on Facebook.
Cloud computing is the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the Internet). The name comes from the use of a cloud-shaped symbol as an abstraction for the complex infrastructure it contains in system diagrams. Cloud computing entrusts remote services with a user’s data, software and computation.
There are many types of public cloud computing:
- Infrastructure as service (IaaS)
- Platform as a service (PaaS)
- Software as a service (SaaS)
- Network as a service (NaaS)
- Storage as a service (STaaS)
- Security as a service (SECaaS)
- Data as a service (DaaS)
- Desktop as a service (DaaS – see above)
- Database as a service (DBaaS)
- Test environment as a service (TEaaS)
- API as a service (APIaaS)
- Backend as a service (BaaS)
- Integrated development environment as a service (IDEaaS)
- Integrated platform as a service (IPaaS), see Cloud-based integration
In the business model using software as a service, users are provided access to application software and databases. The cloud providers manage the infrastructure and platforms on which the applications run. SaaS is sometimes referred to as “on-demand software” and is usually priced on a pay-per-use basis. SaaS providers generally price applications using a subscription fee.
Proponents claim that the SaaS allows a business the potential to reduce IT operational costs by outsourcing hardware and software maintenance and support to the cloud provider. This enables the business to reallocate IT operations costs away from hardware/software spending and personnel expenses, towards meeting other IT goals. In addition, with applications hosted centrally, updates can be released without the need for users to install new software. One drawback of SaaS is that the users’ data are stored on the cloud provider’s server. As a result, there could be unauthorized access to the data.
End users access cloud-based applications through a web browser or a light-weight desktop or mobile app while the business software and user’s data are stored on servers at a remote location. Proponents claim that cloud computing allows enterprises to get their applications up and running faster, with improved manageability and less maintenance, and enables IT to more rapidly adjust resources to meet fluctuating and unpredictable business demand.
Cloud computing relies on sharing of resources to achieve coherence and economies of scale similar to a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network. At the foundation of cloud computing is the broader concept of converged infrastructure and shared services