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The idea of delivering information technology through a utility model is very promising. It has also started to become a reality with technology giants such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft providing the infrastructure and the platform to develop cloud-aware applications. Many enterprises have started to look into leveraging cloud computing infrastructure. However, cloud computing is still evolving and IT managers need to be aware of risks and challenges. This article explains the current status of infrastructure and platform from all the three major providers. I will also discuss ways to maximize the benefits of cloud computing while minimizing the risks.

Cloud computing is development and use of computer technology in which real-time scalable resources are provided as a service over the Internet. Typically these resources are provided as a pay-as-you-use model. Consumers do not own the infrastructure, helping them avoid capital expenditure.

Learn everything you need to know about cloud computing here.

Cloud classification

Cloud computing services can be classified as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): IaaS providers make it affordable to provision resources such as servers and storage. They also provide tools to monitor and manage resource usage.

The most important benefit of IaaS is rapid provisioning. You can have a new server up and running in minutes.

Platform as a Service (PaaS): PaaS providers make it easy for application developers to build and deploy their applications. PaaS cloud tries to hide the complexity of underlying IaaS cloud from developers.

The most important benefit of PaaS platform is that you can get started with cloud application development with very small capital investment (sometimes free). Usually the development effort is also less as the plumbing for scalability, storage, etc. is provided by the platform.

Software as a Service(SaaS): SaaS providers make their application hosted as a service provider to their customers on the Internet. Although the term SaaS predates cloud computing, cloud computing is making the SaaS model even stronger. SaaS providers can simply use PaaS and/or IaaS as the underlying technology, thus reducing their internal expenses and development efforts.


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