Understanding Common Cloud Terminology

According to recent studies, most managers in small and medium-sized business organizations are now expressing strong interest in ‘the cloud’. When surveyed, however, many of these individuals have an incomplete understanding of common terms used by IT companies such as managed service providers.

Common Sectors of Cloud Services 

Phrases such as Infrastructure as a Service, Software as a Service, and Platform as a Service may appear to all describe the same thing, when in fact they refer to different, yet sometimes overlapping, domains of cloud services.

Infrastructure as a Service

 IaaS refers to a computing environment that is provisioned in the cloud for the implementation of one or more applications.  IaaS approaches can include network assets, storage assets, and servers.  A common delivery model for IaaS is known as metered service in which companies pay according to their usage of the cloud infrastructure.

Software as a Service

SaaS refers to applications that reside in the cloud, and are used inside of it.  Users' computers connect to the applications to use them, but do not have the software installed at the local level.  Google Docs is an example of SaaS.

Platform as a Service

This cloud services model, known as PaaS, involves delivering server assets that have already been organized in order to host an application stack.  PaaS is an integrated approach in which servers, networks, and storages assets work together to host an application from the cloud.

Any of these cloud services can be hosted on a private basis, on a public basis in which many businesses share a cloud, or on a hybrid basis that combines both approaches.

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