Cloud computing refers to the use of networked infrastructure software and the capacity to provide resources to users in an on-demand environment. Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet. These services are broadly divided into three categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). With cloud computing, information is permanently stored in servers on the Internet and cached temporarily on desktop computers, notebooks, handhelds, or other client devices. In this model, often referred to as “utility computing,” users can access common business applications online from virtually any end user device, on a pay-per-use basis.

By design, cloud computing is scalable and elastic, offering IT departments a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on demand, without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software.

Public cloud

Naturally, a public cloud is a service that anyone can tap into with a network connection and a credit card. "Public clouds are shared infrastructures with pay-as-you-go economics," explains Forrester analyst James Staten in an April report. "Public clouds are easily accessible, multi-tenant virtualized infrastructures that are managed via a self-service portal."

Private cloud

A private cloud attempts to mimic the delivery models of public cloud vendors but does so entirely within the firewall for the benefit of an enterprise's users. A private cloud would be highly virtualized, stringing together mass quantities of IT infrastructure into one or a few easily managed logical resource pools. Like public clouds, delivery of private cloud services would typically be done through a Web interface with self-service and chargeback attributes.

Categories

There are some different categories we can split cloud computing services, some of them well known (like Salesforce, GoogleApps):

Software as a Service/ Web services in the cloud

This type of cloud computing delivers a single application through the browser to thousands of customers using a multitenant architecture. On the customer side, it means no upfront investment in servers or software licensing; on the provider side, with just one app to maintain, costs are low compared to conventional hosting:

  • Oracle CRM On Demand
  • Salesforce.com
  • Bloomberg
  • Google Apps
  • Zoho Office
  • Box.net
  • Google Maps

Utility computing

This type of cloud computing delivers storage and virtual servers that IT can access on demand. Early enterprise adopters mainly use utility computing for supplemental, non-mission-critical needs, but one day, they may replace parts of the datacenter. Other providers offer solutions that help IT create virtual datacenters from commodity servers:

  • 3Tera's AppLogic
  • Cohesive Flexible Technologies' Elastic Server on Demand
  • Liquid Computing's LiquidQ

Platform as a service

Another SaaS variation, this form of cloud computing delivers development environments as a service. You build your own applications that run on the provider's infrastructure and are delivered to your users via the Internet from the provider's servers:

  • Salesforce.com's Force.com
  • Google App Engine
  • Yahoo Pipes
  • Engineyard.com
  • Dapper.net
  • Heroku.com
  • Informatica
  • Cloud Services Depot

Managed services

One of the oldest forms of cloud computing, a managed service (MS) is basically an application exposed to IT rather than to end-users, such as a virus scanning service for e-mail or an application monitoring service:

  • Managed security services delivered by SecureWorks, IBM, and Verizon
  • Anti-spam services as Postini, recently acquired by Google
  • Desktop management services, such as those offered by CenterBeam or Everdream

Service commerce platforms

A hybrid of SaaS and MS, this cloud computing service offers a service hub that users interact with. They're most common in trading environments, such as expense management systems that allow users to order travel or secretarial services from a common platform that then coordinates the service delivery and pricing within the specifications set by the user:

  • Rearden Commerce
  • Ariba

Database as a Service

The centralization in the cloud of Database services. This typically range from simple key-value storage engine, often characterized by reduced functionality (e.g., limited data model, reduced ACID properties) but almost linear scalability:

  • Microsoft SQL Services
  • Amazon Relational Database Services
  • Intuit
  • Amazon Simple DB
  • Yahoo Peanut
  • Google BigTable

If cloud computing offers benefits to enterprise IT departments, it's an absolute godsend to small and midsize companies. Instead of making do with a small, underresourced IT staff trying to emulate the productivity of IT outfits with multimillion-dollar budgets, smaller companies can now access enterprise-class technology with low up-front costs and easy scalability.

Cloud computing services offered by Macrolevel

Macrolevel partnered with industry leaders in virtualization and cloud computing - VMware, Microsoft, Sun, to name a few, to provide our customers with cloud computing services we believe you may need at most:

Macrolevel's experienced consultants can conceptualize and implement cloud computing solutions to help you achieve your business goals affordably and efficiently. Contact us today to learn more about how cloud computing can help your business!