The cloud is often suggested as another name for the Internet itself and is not actually a new notion. However, the impact of emerging cloud technology in IT, business, education and healthcare is certainly a trend to watch. Cloud computing refers to technology that delivers computing power from large server farms via the Internet and that consists of three layers: Software as a service (SaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
While consumer market is generally turned to using SaaS platform – separate software applications streamed via the web – companies are usually interested in the other two forms.
As opposed to PaaS, which is an all-encompassing platform where provider is in charge of deploying and testing of applications, as well as providing operating systems, middleware tools and databases, IaaS includes less services. IaaS providers offer hardware infrastructure but the client’s developers remain responsible for configuration and management of different computing components. This means that a company may outsource servers and pay on a per-use basis.
Usually, this platform is appealing to small to medium sized businesses where the IT is not the major focus because it provides them with affordable IT resources and frees them from worries about server maintenance.
Providers that offer this kind of service are: Amazon EC2, Rackspace, Windows Azure, BlueLock and CA Technologies.
So what is it exactly that makes the IaaS model so appealing to companies? There are several answers to this question but probably the most popular one is – cost-efficiency. Since the company doesn’t have to invest in hardware equipment and large IT management teams, this enables them to save significant deal of money.
Apart from this, as the IaaS services are available on pay-per-use basis, companies can better distribute their budget resources and, more importantly, they don’t have to pay for resources they don’t actually need. IaaS is fast to deploy and very easy to scale, which comes as an additional benefit. Also, as opposed to PaaS, with Iaas platform, company managers retain more control over their applications.
For those to whom these things make sense, outsourcing infrastructure can help implement state-of-the-art tech solutions at low costs and provide a faster growth for their business.
One of the recent studies into the state of the IaaS revealed that an increasing number of company managers is getting ready to move their applications to the cloud. According to TechRepublic’s IaaS survey, 96% of current IaaS users say it meets their initial expectations. Considering this feedback, the Gartner’s report that regards IaaS is the fastest-growing market should not come as a surprise. Namely, the IaaS market grew by 42.4 percent in 2012 and is expected to reach $9 billion in 2013 (47.3% growth). With these numbers in mind, it is reasonable to expect that IaaS vendors are to achieve significant profit in the following years, while the client companies would get more opportunities to expand their businesses.
All in all, there is much more in cloud than digits and predictions. The best practices related to implementing these solutions can only be seen in a long run and, until then, we should probably trust the experts and existing users, which unanimously agree that the cloud is probably the best form of innovation in all industries.
Leana Thorne is a passionate blogger and a regular contributor to several tech blogs. She enjoys sharing content – information is power. Her specialty is cloud computing, web hosting and new internet technologies. Currently is writing for Crucial Web Hosting.