The world of cloud computing, in all its various guises, can be confusing. Do you ever get your PaaS and your IaaS mixed up? Wonder what the difference between public cloud and private cloud is? And what the heck are edge computing and serverless computing?
Wonder no more… here’s our cloud computing jargon buster to put you straight.
The cloud is a network of multiple internet-connected computers spread around the world. To quote Microsoft…”The cloud is not a physical entity, but instead is a vast network of remote servers around the globe which are linked together and meant to operate as a single ecosystem.”
This is the general term used to describe any computing services which utilise the cloud. So, services that are hosted off-site, and delivered over the internet. This could be databases, servers, applications, software, networking… anything that’s hosted away from your business premises or home, and accessed online. Typically cloud computing is consumed on-demand, and uses a “pay-as-you-go” costing model.
Cloud hosting is when websites, applications or services are hosted in the cloud, rather than being deployed on a single server. A network of connected virtual and physical cloud servers will host the website, application or service bringing increased flexibility and scalability compared to a single physical server hosting solution.
With cloud solutions, none of the infrastructure is owned by you. With colocation however, you’re using your own servers, but putting them in somebody else’s premises. You put your own equipment - servers, storage, switches, software - into somebody else’s data centre. You provide the kit, they provide the space, power, rack and connectivity. Upgrades, monitoring and backups will be the responsibility of your IT team. Basically, you rent space in a data centre, but the services are still delivered over the internet.
Dedicated server hosting
Dedicated server hosting is a cloud hosting model, but instead of your data sitting on a network of shared servers that make up the cloud, it sits on a dedicated server with dedicated resources. It’s essentially a private cloud setup. Dedicated server hosting gives you more control over your cloud environment.
With edge computing, data is processed at the source, where it is created. Data is analysed in real time, as it’s collected, at the edge of the network. Think of IoT devices, for example. This technology reduces latency for time-sensitive applications and provides support for IoT performance in low bandwidth environments.
Hybrid cloud uses a mesh of public and private cloud infrastructures as part of a bespoke overall platform or solution. These are often complex environments utilising multiple vendors/suppliers.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) is the term used to define any infrastructure that is delivered to the end user via the cloud. For example, servers, storage and networks. This typically involves virtual appliances running on shared hardware. An IaaS environment is dedicated to the end user, but the hardware delivering the environment is usually owned and supported by the provider.
Managed cloud hosting
Managed cloud hosting is when the hosting company handles the setup, administration, management, and support of the server/s or application/s. Unlike colocation, you don’t have to worry about maintaining IT hardware, managing on-site data or monitoring applications. This is all done for you by your provider.
Similar to hybrid cloud, multi-cloud is the term used when an organisation uses two or more cloud platforms, depending on their particular needs. For example, a company could be using Microsoft Azure and AWS to deliver different elements of a solution.
PaaS (Platform as a Service)
PaaS, or Platform as a Service is the term used to describe a solution where the whole ‘Platform’ is delivered from the cloud - servers, networking, storage, operating systems, and often database management and development tools or custom content management solutions. This is different to IaaS, where only the servers, networking and storage would be delivered from the cloud.
Private cloud gives organisations a dedicated cloud environment, on hardware specifically built for that organisation’s requirements - with no shared resources. Essentially, an organisation has the cloud to themselves, which can bring the additional levels of security and data privacy which are required by some governing bodies.
With public cloud, compute services and infrastructures are shared between a number of organisations. Each customer’s data and applications remain hidden and segregated from other customers. Overall network resource is shared, but again customer data is completely segregated for security.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
SaaS is a means of delivering software on-demand, over the internet, usually on a subscription basis. Think Sage Cloud for accounting, many CRM systems, or Microsoft Office 365.
Serverless computing eliminates the need for organisations to manage infrastructure, giving them no access or control over the server, while the provider automatically provisions, scales, and manages the infrastructure required to run the code.
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) (also known as hosted desktop, or DaaS - Desktop as a Service)
Virtual or hosted desktop solutions allow a business’s employees to access their desktops remotely. The operating system and data is stored in a cloud environment, instead of locally on the PC itself, meaning that users can access their usual work desktop from anywhere with an internet connection.