So many different flavors in a cloud. Which one is right for you?

Despite the buzz around cloud computing, there is still a lot of confusion about what the concept really means and the advantages it can bring in a pure IT sense. Is it a better option than buying and maintaining services in premises, virtualization or pure web hosting?

If we recall a pure definition, Cloud Computing is a general expression related to the delivery of hosted services over the Internet. Services that are organized in 3 categories:

– Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
– Platform as a Service (PaaS)
– Software as a Service (SaaS)

But if we go deep, it is more useful to point the main differences between a cloud service and traditional hosting: the “product” is provided on demand, during the period defined by the customer; it is elastic, being able to enlarge or reduce capacity as it is necessary; and it is totally managed by the service provider, meaning that the customer just needs a personal computer and an Internet access to subscribe the service and manage it.

In IaaS, the provider guarantees access to a virtual server and storage that the customer can use for developing and hosting his applications or web services, paying just for the capacity he needs, for the period he wants. The concept behind PaaS is more extensive, and comprises also software and product development tools, hosted in the providers platform. On the other hand, SaaS is becoming one of the most used models in the cloud, as the software developers provide access to applications to end customers without the need to buy a traditional license and install software.

All different “flavors” of cloud computing seem to have more benefits in the form of public clouds, with infrastructure share that can drive down the cost of compute resources and storage. But some (large) companies seem to prefer the private cloud option, building their own cloud within their datacenters and providing access to theirs employees, clients, resellers or providers. The privacy and security of data is one of the main reasons for running a private cloud, but top consultants point a future where the strategy will be built mainly of “hybrid” clouds, mixing the public and private models.

Chocolate or Vanilla? In this case a mix of both.

And for you, which is the best “flavor”?

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