Definition of Terms: What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing is a marketing term for hosted services delivered via the Internet. Hosted services are broken down into three categories: SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service).

The defining characteristics of the Cloud can be broken down into three different categories:

1. On Demand

  • Cloud Computing services are sold on demand. Depending on the services, it is sold by the hour or the minute.

2. Scalability

  • The Cloud is highly scalable. Depending on need, the consumer can use as much or as little of the Cloud as he/she wishes. The Cloud allows users to utilize as much or as little of a given hosted service as needed at the time.

3. Full Offsite Management

  • The Cloud is fully hosted. Whether a user utilizes the Public, Private of Hybrid Cloud, the services offered are managed offsite by a provider via the Internet.

As mentioned, there are three different types of Cloud – Public, Private and Hybrid.

1. Public Cloud

  • In the broadest definition of the term, the Public Cloud is the selling of hosted services via the Internet to anyone. The services are stored in a datacenter and are accessible to the public at large. An example of the Public Cloud is Gmail or Netflix.

2. Private Cloud

  • In the broadest definition of the term, the Private Cloud is the selling of hosted services via the Internet to a closed amount of people. The services are stored in a datacenter and are accessible to a limited amount of people – in most cases, individuals or companies who have paid for their own Private Cloud Infrastructure. Unlike the Public Cloud, within the Private Cloud users can access a VPN (Virtual Private Network) which acts as a direct connection point between two different locations (offices) and/or between a single location and the datacenter. 

3. Hybrid Cloud

  • In the the broadest definition of the term, the Hybrid Cloud is an infrastructure in which a company provides and manages some resources in-house and manages other externally. Whatever these resources are, legacy Nortel phone system, a hosted exchange system, an internal APP development system, is up the company. By using a Hybrid Cloud, companies can take advantage of the scalability features of the Public Cloud while at the same time avoiding opening themselves up to third-party security scares. 

The goal of Cloud Computing, be it Public, Private or Hybrid, is to provide hosted IT services via the Internet in a highly scalable and affordable manner.

Coming full circle, the next thing you need to understand is SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. Our next “What is” will explain all three.

To read, “What is SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)?” click here.

To read, “What is PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service)?” click here.

To read, “What is IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)?” click here.

To read, “What is VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure)?” click here.

To read, “What is Colocation?” click here.

To read, “What is Hosted Exchange?” click here.

To read, “What is Hosted Voice?” click here.


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