Header Ads

Header ADS

Exploring Cloud Computing Models

 Exploring Cloud Computing Models

Cloud computing today offers businesses the ability to offload the cost and complexity of hosting and managing their applications—for example, many providers offer mainstream applications as a complete service that does not require any kind of infrastructure management by the customer. Examples include Microsoft Office 365, which is a suite of desktop productivity applications including email, messaging, and collaboration services offered via the Internet. At the same time, many organizations also need to host bespoke line-of-business (LOB) applications such as those developed in-house. Often, this means that they need access to configure the necessary infrastructure in a manner best suited to the needs of the application.

To that end, companies can enlist the services of cloud providers such as AWS, which offers different cloud models to suit the specific needs of the business. The following are three main cloud models offered by most cloud vendors such as AWS.

Infrastructure as a Service

The Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model offers the greatest flexibility in giving the customer access and the ability to configure the underlying network, storage, and compute services that power their LOB applications. This model is very similar to owning and managing your own physical infrastructure. However, with cloud computing, a clear difference lies in the fact that you work with virtualized infrastructure components rather than having access to the underlying physical components.

The IaaS cloud computing model is ideal if you need greater control over how your infrastructure components need to be configured (usually from the operating system layer up) to support a given application.

Platform as a Service

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is another cloud computing model designed to remove the burden of configuring and managing underlying infrastructure resources such as compute, storage, and network services. PaaS is designed to allow your organization to focus on developing your application code and offers you a platform to deploy and manage your application releases, updates, and upgrades.

As your developers deploy their application code on the PaaS environment, the provider provisions the infrastructure required to support the application. This will include the necessary network architecture, firewall rules, storage, compute services, operating system management, and runtime environments.

Depending on your vendor, the PaaS model may still offer some degree of flexibility in how the underlying infrastructure is configured. AWS, for example, gives you the option to make necessary modifications to the underlying infrastructure, offering an additional level of flexibility. Examples of such services include AWS Elastic Beanstalk, AWS OpsWorks, AWS Lambda, and Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). While the PaaS model offered by AWS removes the need to minutely configure every infrastructure component (something you would have to do with an IaaS model), it still offers the flexibility of deciding just which components are deployed to support your application.


With a SaaS model, the applications are completely hosted and managed by the provider. SaaS services take away any need to set up physical infrastructure to host an application. Instead, you simply connect to those applications via the internet and consume the services offered. A majority of SaaS applications today are fully functional via a standard web browser. This also means that there is no requirement to install any client software.

While the need to set up and configure any infrastructure to host a SaaS application is solely owned and managed by the vendor, many SaaS-based applications still require some form of configuration to meet the specific requirements of your business. You will still need to either have in-house expertise to configure the application to your specification or get support from the provider/third parties. For example, Microsoft Office 365 is a SaaS-based online suite of productivity applications that combines email, file-share, and collaboration services. Although you do not need any physical hardware on premises to host the application since it is accessible as a complete product over the internet, you will have to configure the software elements to meet your business needs. This includes security configurations, configuring your domain name to be associated with the email services offered, or enabling encryption services.

Let's look at some typical examples of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS models, as follows:

Table 1.1 – Cloud computing models

Table 1.1 – Cloud computing models

Understanding Cloud Deployment Models

When it comes to deploying cloud services for your organization, you need to consider which deployment model will suit your business. The decision will be taken based on several factors, such as the industry you are in, compliance and regulatory issues, and also cost management and flexibility of configuration.

There are three primary models of deployment, listed as follows:

  • Public cloud

  • Private cloud

  • Hybrid cloud

Figure 1.3 – Cloud deployment models

Figure 1.3 – Cloud deployment models

Public cloud

A public cloud is a cloud deployment model in which a business consumes IT services from a third-party vendor, such as AWS, over the internet. This is the most popular model of cloud computing due to the vast array of services on offer. Public cloud providers such as AWS are in the business of delivering IT services across all industry verticals and for businesses of all sizes.

Public cloud services are generally paid for on a pay-as-you-go model and can help your organization move away from a CAPEX of mode of investment in IT to an OPEX mode. This frees up precious capital for more important investment opportunities. Services offered by public cloud vendors will include free services, subscription-based, or on-demand pay-as-you-go, where you are charged based on how much you consume. Providers of public cloud services are also able to offer greater scalability and agility that would otherwise have been too expensive to achieve on your own.

With a public cloud model, customers are offered a self-service capability and access to management consoles and command-line interfaces, as well as having API access to configure and consume the services on offer.

Private cloud

By contrast, a private cloud is a cloud deployment model in which your business procures, installs, configures, and manages all the necessary infrastructure and software components in-house. This may sound very similar to traditional on-premises IT. However, the cloud element of it comes from the fact that additional management software is usually deployed to allow different parts of the business to carry out self-service tasks in provisioning compute, storage, network, and software services from an available catalog of services.

While public cloud providers offer their services to all businesses across the globe and the services are therefore publicly available, a private cloud is designed solely for your business, where you will not be sharing underlying compute resources with anyone external to your organization.

A private cloud is highly customizable to suit the needs of your organization, giving maximum control on key areas such as designing security and infrastructure configuration options. This does not necessarily mean that a private cloud provider (for example, Red Hat OpenStack) is more secure than a public cloud provider. Public cloud providers such as AWS invest vast amounts of money to design security features for the services they offer—features that may be cost-prohibitive if an organization tried to implement them on its own.

Hybrid cloud

This is a combination of IT services deployed both on-premises (and managed solely by your business) and integrated with one or more third-party cloud providers.

Many companies that venture into the public cloud generally start with some form of hybrid model. Often, businesses will move/migrate services to the public cloud to reduce CAPEX investment as they opt for a pay-as-you-go model for the consumption of IT services. An example of this is where companies may need to increase the number of servers deployed for their applications, and rather than procuring more expensive physical hardware, they can set up network connectivity between on-premises infrastructure and the public cloud provider, where they would spin up those additional servers as required. Connectivity options between an on-premises environment and a cloud provider can include setting up a secure Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) virtual private network (VPN) tunnel over the public internet, or even establishing a dedicate fiber-based connection, bypassing the public internet altogether and benefiting from greater bandwidth.

A hybrid cloud is generally also used to help start off your disaster recovery (DR) projects, which often need network communication between the private cloud infrastructure and the services offered by public cloud vendors where the DR solution will be hosted. This enables replication of on-premises data and applications to the DR site, hosted with vendors such as AWS.

Hybrid cloud deployments can also help businesses to start testing out new cutting-edge technologies or adopt a phased migration approach to ensure minimum interruption to normal business functions while the migration is underway. In addition, HA solutions can also be implemented. To cite an example, if the on-premises infrastructure is experiencing downtime, consumers of those services can be redirected to replica services hosted with the public cloud provider.

For more details check the AWS documentation, also Take a look at the book below, which I'm reading and recommend.

No comments

Theme images by sandsun. Powered by Blogger.