Cloud Solutions

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What is cloud computing?

Simply put, cloud computing is the delivery of computing services – including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and intelligence – over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources and economies of scale. Typically, you only pay for cloud services you use, helping you lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently and scale as your business needs change.

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Top Benefits of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources. Here are seven common reasons why organisations are turning to cloud computing services:

 Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running on-site data centres – the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling and the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. It adds up quickly.


 Most cloud computing services are provided as self service and on demand, so even vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, typically with just a few mouse clicks, giving businesses a lot of flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.


 The benefits of cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. In cloud speak, that means delivering the right amount of IT resources – for example, more or less computing power, storage, bandwidth – right when they’re needed, and from the right geographic location.


 On-site data centres typically require a lot of “racking and stacking” – hardware setup, software patching and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for many of these tasks, so IT teams can spend time on achieving more important business goals.


 The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure data centres, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate data centre, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.


 Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery and business continuity easier and less expensive because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.


 Many cloud providers offer a broad set of policies, technologies and controls that strengthen your security posture overall, helping to protect your data, apps and infrastructure from potential threats.

Types of Cloud Computing

Not all clouds are the same and not one type of cloud computing is right for everyone. Several different models, types and services have evolved to help offer the right solution for your needs.

First, you need to determine the type of cloud deployment, or cloud computing architecture, that your cloud services will be implemented on. There are three different ways to deploy cloud services: on a public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud.

Public Cloud

Public clouds are owned and operated by third-party cloud service providers, who deliver their computing resources such as servers and storage over the Internet. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud are examples of a public cloud. With a public cloud, all hardware, software and other supporting infrastructure are owned and managed by the cloud provider. You access these services and manage your account using a web browser.

  • Shared | Open | Pay-Per-Use
    An easily deployed virtual server on a shared hosting infrastructure.
    Quickly or automatically scale your servers according to workload.
    Per-Per-use for unlimited computing resource, storage and bandwidth.
  • What to Buy
    Guaranteed performance QoS.
    Easy deployment and scaling.
    SSD Storage for faster servers
    Quality cloud engineering
  • Pricing
    Variable Pay-Per-Use bandwidth and scaling mean price varies with traffic.

Private Cloud

A private cloud refers to cloud computing resources used exclusively by a single business or organisation. A private cloud can be physically located on the company’s on-site data centre. Some companies also pay third-party service providers to host their private cloud. A private cloud is one in which the services and infrastructure are maintained on a private network.

  • Dedicated | Secure | Fixed Cost
    A secure virtual data center on your own dedicated infrastructure.
    Servers and storage can be added and scaled according to your needs.
    Planned resource capacity with fixed costs and unmetered bandwidth.
  • What to Buy
    Fast, redundant network.
    Service reliability and support.
    Hardware choice and quality.
    Virtualization software choice.
  • Pricing
    Fixed unmetered bandwidth and fixed hardware means price doesn’t vary with traffic.

Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid clouds combine public and private clouds, bound together by technology that allows data and applications to be shared between them. By allowing data and applications to move between private and public clouds, a hybrid cloud gives your business greater flexibility, more deployment options and helps optimise your existing infrastructure, security and compliance.

  • Pick from the best of both worlds
    A mix of dedicated infrastructure and public cloud infrastructure.
    Cherry-pick the best infrastructure for your different services.
    Keep data secure and control costs and resources with dedicated infrastructure.
  • What to Buy
    Custom solutions and service.
    Service reliability and support.
    Hardware choice and quality.
    Public cloud quality.
  • Pricing
    Fixed + Variable Certain services or traffic spikes are Pay-Per-Use while core services are fixed.

Choice of Cloud Computing

 

The most defining cloud battle of the present time is AWS vs Azure vs Google. Choosing one public cloud from three is considered a challenging task, let’s make it easy.

 

Elastic Compute Cloud: Amazon’s flagship compute service is Elastic Compute Cloud, or EC2. Amazon describes EC2 as “a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud.” EC2 offers a wide variety of options, including a huge assortment of instances, support for both Windows and Linux, bare metal instances, GPU instances, high-performance computing, auto scaling and more.

Age

  • Since 2006

Pros

  • Dominant in many features such as configuring, monitoring, security.
  • Extensive mature offerings.
  • Open and flexible
  • Global reach.

Cons

  • Difficult to use.
  • Overwhelming options.
  • Cost management.

Market Share

  • 62% as of 2018.

Pricing

  • Per Hour.


 

Virtual Machines: Microsoft’s primary compute service is known simply as Virtual Machines. It boasts support for Linux, Windows, SQL Server, as well as enhanced security, hybrid cloud capabilities and integrated support for Microsoft software. It has an extremely large catalog of available instances, including GPU and high-performance computing options, optimized for artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Age

  • Since 2011.

Pros

  • Integration with Microsoft tools.
  • Broad feature set.
  • Ranks first in development and testing tools.
  • Open source support.
  • Hybrid cloud.

Cons

  • Less efficient management tooling.
  • Less “enterprise-ready”

Market Share

  • 20% as of 2018

Pricing

  • Per Minute


 

Google’s catalog of compute services is somewhat shorter than its competitors’. Its primary service is called Compute Engine, which boasts both custom and predefined machine types, per-second billing, Linux and Windows support, automatic discounts and carbon-neutral infrastructure that uses half the energy of typical data centers.

Age

  • Since 2012.

Pros

  • Open source support and portability.
  • Discount & flexible contracts.
  • Designed for cloud-based businesses.
  • DevOps expertise.

Cons

  • Lately entered in IaaS market.
  • Less data centers over the world.
  • Fewer services and features.

Market Share

  • 12% as of 2018

Pricing

  • Per Minute

Types of Cloud Services

Most cloud computing services fall into four broad categories: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), serverless and software as a service (SaaS). These are sometimes called the cloud computing stack because they build on top of one another. Knowing what they are and how they’re different makes accomplishing your business goals easier.

The most basic category of cloud computing services. With IaaS, you rent IT infrastructure – servers and virtual machines (VMs), storage, networks, operating systems – from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is an instant computing infrastructure, provisioned and managed over the internet. It’s one of the four types of cloud services, along with software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and serverless.

IaaS quickly scales up and down with demand, letting you pay only for what you use. It helps you avoid the expense and complexity of buying and managing your own physical servers and other datacenter infrastructure. Each resource is offered as a separate service component, and you only need to rent a particular one for as long as you need it. A cloud computing service provider, such as AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, manages the infrastructure, while you purchase, install, configure, and manage your own software—operating systems, middleware, and applications.

Common IaaS business scenarios

Typical things businesses do with IaaS include:

Test and development. Teams can quickly set up and dismantle test and development environments, bringing new applications to market faster. IaaS makes scaling dev-test environments up and down quick and economical.

Website hosting. Running websites using IaaS can be less expensive than traditional web hosting.

Storage, backup and recovery. Organisations avoid the capital outlay for storage and complexity of storage management, which typically requires skilled staff to manage data and meet legal and compliance requirements. IaaS is useful for handling unpredictable demand and steadily growing storage needs. It can also simplify the planning and management of backup and recovery systems.

Web apps. IaaS provides all the infrastructure to support web apps, including storage, web and application servers, and networking resources. Organisations can quickly deploy web apps on IaaS and easily scale infrastructure up and down when demand for the apps is unpredictable.

High-performance computing. High-performance computing (HPC) on supercomputers, computer grids or computer clusters helps solve complex problems involving millions of variables or calculations. Examples include earthquake and protein folding simulations, climate and weather predictions, financial modelling and evaluating product designs.

Big data analysis. Big data is a popular term for massive data sets that contain potentially valuable patterns, trends and associations. Mining data sets to locate or tease out these hidden patterns requires a huge amount of processing power, which IaaS provides economically.

Advantages of IaaS

Eliminates capital expense and reduces ongoing cost. IaaS sidesteps the upfront expense of setting up and managing an on-site data centre, making it an economical option for start-ups and businesses testing new ideas.

Improves business continuity and disaster recovery. Achieving high availability, business continuity and disaster recovery is expensive, as it requires a significant amount of technology and staff. But with the right service level agreement (SLA) in place, IaaS can reduce this cost, meaning you can access applications and data as usual during a disaster or outage.

Innovate rapidly. As soon as you’ve decided to launch a new product or initiative, the necessary computing infrastructure can be ready in minutes or hours, rather than the days or weeks (and sometimes months) it could take to set up internally.

Respond more quickly to shifting business conditions. IaaS enables you to quickly scale up resources to accommodate spikes in demand for your application – during the holidays, for example – then scale resources back down again when activity decreases to save money.

Focus on your core business. IaaS frees up your team to focus on your organisation’s core business rather than on IT infrastructure.

Increase stability, reliability and supportability. With IaaS, there’s no need to maintain and upgrade software and hardware or troubleshoot equipment problems. With the appropriate agreement in place, the service provider ensures that your infrastructure is reliable and meets SLAs.

Better security. With the appropriate service agreement, a cloud service provider can provide security for your applications and data that may be better than what you can attain in-house.

Gets new apps to users faster. Because you don’t need to first set up the infrastructure before you can develop and deliver apps, you can get them to users faster with IaaS.


Platform as a service refers to cloud computing services that supply an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering and managing software applications. PaaS is designed to make it easier for developers to quickly create web or mobile apps, without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network and databases needed for development.

Platform as a service (PaaS) is a complete development and deployment environment in the cloud, with resources that enable you to deliver everything from simple cloud-based apps to sophisticated, cloud-enabled enterprise applications. You purchase the resources you need from a cloud service provider on a pay-as-you-go basis and access them over a secure Internet connection.

Like IaaS, PaaS includes infrastructure – servers, storage and networking – but also middleware, development tools, business intelligence (BI) services, database management systems and more. PaaS is designed to support the complete web application life cycle: building, testing, deploying, managing, and updating.

PaaS allows you to avoid the expense and complexity of buying and managing software licences, the underlying application infrastructure and middleware, container orchestrators such as Kubernetes or the development tools and other resources. You manage the applications and services that you develop, and the cloud service provider typically manages everything else.

Common PaaS scenarios

Organisations typically use PaaS for these scenarios:

Development framework. PaaS provides a framework that developers can build upon to develop or customise cloud-based applications. Similar to the way you create an Excel macro, PaaS lets developers create applications using built-in software components. Cloud features such as scalability, high-availability and multi-tenant capability are included, reducing the amount of coding that developers must do.

Analytics or business intelligence. Tools provided as a service with PaaS allow organisations to analyse and mine their data, finding insights and patterns and predicting outcomes to improve forecasting, product design decisions, investment returns and other business decisions.

Additional services. PaaS providers may offer other services that enhance applications, such as workflow, directory, security and scheduling.

Advantages of PaaS

By delivering infrastructure as a service, PaaS offers the same advantages as IaaS. But its additional features (middleware, development tools and other business tools) give you more advantages:

Cut coding time. PaaS development tools can cut the time it takes to code new apps with pre-coded application components built into the platform, such as workflow, directory services, security features, search and so on.

Add development capabilities without adding staff. Platform as a Service components can give your development team new capabilities without your needing to add staff with the required skills.

Develop for multiple platforms – including mobile – more easily. Some service providers give you development options for multiple platforms, such as computers, mobile devices and browsers, making cross-platform apps quicker and easier to develop.

Use sophisticated tools affordably. A pay-as-you-go model makes it possible for individuals or organisations to use sophisticated development software and business intelligence and analytics tools that they could not afford to purchase outright.

Support geographically distributed development teams. Because the development environment is accessed over the Internet, development teams can work together on projects, even when team members are in remote locations.

Efficiently manage the application life cycle. PaaS provides all of the capabilities that you need to support the complete web application life cycle: building, testing, deploying, managing and updating within the same integrated environment.


Overlapping with PaaS, serverless computing focuses on building app functionality without spending time continually managing the servers and infrastructure required to do so. The cloud provider handles the setup, capacity planning, and server management for you. Serverless architectures are highly scalable and event-driven, only using resources when a specific function or trigger occurs.

Serverless computing enables developers to build applications faster by eliminating the need for them to manage infrastructure. With serverless applications, the cloud service provider automatically provisions, scales and manages the infrastructure required to run the code.

In understanding the definition of serverless computing, it’s important to note that servers are still running the code. The serverless name comes from the fact that the tasks associated with infrastructure provisioning and management are invisible to the developer. This approach enables developers to increase their focus on the business logic and deliver more value to the core of the business. Serverless computing helps teams increase their productivity and bring products to market faster, and it allows organisations to better optimise resources and stay focused on innovation.

Top benefits of serverless computing

  • No infrastructure management
    Using fully managed services enables developers to avoid administrative tasks and focus on core business logic. With a serverless platform, you simply deploy your code, and it runs with high availability.
  • Dynamic scalability
    With serverless computing, the infrastructure dynamically scales up and down within seconds to match the demands of any workload.
  • Faster time to market
    Serverless applications reduce the operations dependencies on each development cycle, increasing development teams’ agility to deliver more functionality in less time.
  • More efficient use of resources
    Shifting to serverless technologies helps organisations reduce TCO and reallocate resources to accelerate the pace of innovation.

Serverless application patterns
Developers build serverless applications using a variety of application patterns – many of which align with approaches that are already familiar – to meet specific requirements and business needs.

  • Serverless functions
    Serverless functions accelerate development by using an event-driven model, with triggers that automatically execute code to respond to events and bindings to seamlessly integrate additional services. A pay-per-execution model with sub-second billing charges only for the time and resources it takes to execute the code.
  • Serverless Kubernetes
    Developers bring their own containers to fully managed, Kubernetes-orchestrated clusters that can automatically scale up and down with sudden changes in traffic on spiky workloads.
  • Serverless workflows
    Serverless workflows take a low-code/no-code approach to simplify orchestration of combined tasks. Developers can integrate different services (either cloud or on-premises) without coding those interactions, having to maintain glue code or learning new APIs or specifications.
  • Serverless application environments
    With a serverless application environment, both the back end and front end are hosted on fully managed services that handle scaling, security and compliance requirements.
  • Serverless API gateway
    A serverless API gateway is a centralised, fully managed entry point for serverless backend services. It enables developers to publish, manage, secure and analyse APIs at global scale.

Why an end-to-end serverless platform is important

A serverless approach offers developers, teams and organisations a level of abstraction that enables them to minimise the time and resources invested in infrastructure management. Every component of an application benefits from this approach, from computing and the database engine to messaging, analytics and AI. Using an end-to-end serverless platform that provides a comprehensive set of serverless technologies is the best way to ensure that the organisation gains the maximum benefit from going serverless.


Software as a service is a method for delivering software applications over the Internet, on demand and typically on a subscription basis. With SaaS, cloud providers host and manage the software application and underlying infrastructure, and handle any maintenance, such as software upgrades and security patching. Users connect to the application over the Internet, usually with a web browser on their phone, tablet or PC.

Software as a service (SaaS) allows users to connect to and use cloud-based apps over the Internet. Common examples are email, calendaring and office tools (such as Microsoft Office 365).

SaaS provides a complete software solution that you purchase on a pay-as-you-go basis from a cloud service provider. You rent the use of an app for your organisation, and your users connect to it over the Internet, usually with a web browser. All of the underlying infrastructure, middleware, app software and app data are located in the service provider’s data centre. The service provider manages the hardware and software, and with the appropriate service agreement, will ensure the availability and the security of the app and your data as well. SaaS allows your organisation to get up and running quickly with an app, at minimal upfront cost.

Common SaaS scenarios

If you’ve used a web-based email service such as Outlook, Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail, then you’ve already used a form of SaaS. With these services, you log in to your account over the Internet, often from a web browser. The email software is located on the service provider’s network, and your messages are stored there as well. You can access your emails and stored messages from a web browser on any computer or Internet-connected device.

The previous examples are free services for personal use. For organisational use, you can rent productivity apps, such as email, collaboration and calendaring apps; and sophisticated business applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and document management applications. You pay for the use of these apps by subscription or according to the level of use.

Advantages of SaaS

Gain access to sophisticated applications. To provide SaaS apps to users, you don’t need to purchase, install, update or maintain any hardware, middleware or software. SaaS makes even sophisticated enterprise applications, such as ERP and CRM, affordable for organisations that lack the resources to buy, deploy and manage the required infrastructure and software themselves.

Only pay for what you use.

You also save money because the SaaS service automatically scales up and down according to the level of usage.

Use free client software.

Users can run most SaaS apps directly from their web browser without needing to download and install any software, although some apps require plug-ins. This means that you don’t need to purchase and install special software for your users.

Mobilize your workforce easily.

SaaS makes it easy to “mobilise” your workforce because users can access SaaS apps and data from any Internet-connected computer or mobile device. You don’t need to worry about developing apps to run on different types of computers and devices because the service provider has already done so. In addition, you don’t need to bring special expertise onboard to manage the security issues inherent in mobile computing. A carefully chosen service provider will ensure the security of your data, regardless of the type of device consuming it.

Access app data from anywhere.

With data stored in the cloud, users can access their information from any Internet-connected computer or mobile device. And when app data is stored in the cloud, no data is lost if a user’s computer or device fails.



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