WrightRobbins Insights

Cloud Platforms & Technologies: How To Become A Market Leader

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As you might know, Cloud computing has the IT industry all abuzz, and companies like Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, Google and others are investing billions of dollars in their cloud platforms and technologies in a bid to position themselves as the market leader in this arena.

So, what is Cloud Computing? Cloud computing is based on a set of technologies and infrastructure that provides computing, data access, software and storage services to computers and other devices on a utility basis over a network, most typically the internet. Cloud computing allows IT an easy way to add capabilities, services, and capacity “on the fly” without investing in new infrastructure and traditional on-premises software licensing. This might explain why there is so much interest in the Cloud of late…

Cloud computing can be broken down into three tiers, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). The three tiers can be segmented as follows:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides the infrastructure as a fully outsourced service. IaaS providers manage the physical servers, disk storage, networking, and they provision virtualized instances to the cloud consumer. The cloud consumer in turn owns, and can configure, the virtual image as they see fit. IaaS providers allow business to purchase capacity on a “pay as you go” model allowing them to defer costly capital expenses.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the delivery of a cloud-based computing platform. Consumers can design, build, and deploy cloud applications with the tools supported by the provider without having to manage the underlying infrastructure (OS, Servers, Storage, Network). PaaS also provides application infrastructure services, including computation, structured data persistence, and connectivity as part of the overall platform.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS) is a model by which software applications, hosted by a vendor, are delivered over the internet to a consumer’s desktop or a variety of other devices. The customer doesn’t have to manage any of the underlying cloud infrastructure, they just attend to the application configuration settings.

Which flavor you choose depends on the specifics of your business case, but for building and scaling cloud-based applications, the right choice is PaaS. Microsoft’s PaaS offering, the Windows Azure platform, provides developers with tools to build and deploy applications on a pay-per-use basis. The platform can be used to build new cloud based applications or enhance existing applications with cloud based components, and it is relevant across a variety of scenarios. The platform is supported at its core by geographically distributed datacenters, hardware nodes, and the azure fabric.

Next up, Windows Azure and the competition….

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