Cloud Computing is an efficient way of sharing and using resources that are needed for computing. As different technologies needed to design, develop, deploy and maintain software evolve, there is a pressing need to use standards-based, pay-as-you-go services that are readily available from cloud providers. Typically cloud providers provide hardware infrastructure, software utilities for running businesses and software itself as services.
Contrary to popular belief, cloud computing (commonly referred to as “the cloud,”) is not really a new concept. There were terminals, and users were using them to access remote resources. However, things have evolved.
The cloud as we know it today became a set of three kinds of computing services you can use on demand, paying as you go, transforming them along the way to fit the needs of either your customers or your business. You can opt for either infrastructure (IaaS), platform (PaaS) or software (SaaS), delivered as a service within a public, private, or hybrid variety of the cloud.
“IaaS” stands for infrastructure as a service and provides businesses with “hard” computing resources – servers, network, storage, delivered and paid for on demand. Well-known vendors include IBM, AT&T or Netmagic.
“PaaS” or platform as a service is any cloud environment that can be used to support a software application throughout its entire lifecycle, from application development to its delivery, with no hassle around provisioning and managing the required hardware and software. Examples include AWS, Microsoft Azure or OrangeScape.
“SaaS” are cloud-based applications running in remote, cloud computers, such as Zoho, Collatebox or Costprize. They're developed, maintained, supported and wholly managed by software service providers, who usually charge the user with a subscription (rather than license) fee.
“Private” cloud is owned and managed by one organization that supervises the customization and usage of resources and services from different parts of the business, within a (comparatively) more secure environment.
“Public” cloud is owned and managed by companies that offer its resources to other organizations or individuals, thereby eliminating the need of the latter to buy either hardware, software or service.
In the future we will see businesses moving towards cloud for the following reasons.
- Cost and Demand Management: Businesses need elasticity when demands peak up and when demand drops down and there is efficiency when all resources are hosted and managed in a single place while providing the customer privacy and security at the same time.
- Self-Service: Businesses need self monitoring and alerting mechanisms that cloud providers readily provide in the form of automated provisioning and metering services. There is also no need to maintain your own IT staff department.
- Standards: Cloud providers offer standards based interfaces. Businesses are undergoing a change in the mind sets. They understand the benefits of having standardized interfaces and Open standards that facilitate businesses talking to each other and improving customer delight.
- Billing and Subscription on a per-usage model: Capital expenditure gives way to just subscription and operational expenditure. Businesses can reallocate their budgets to improving their core business functions now.
- Cloud is a great leveler: Small and Medium enterprises will benefit hugely from cloud and be able to go to market very quickly.
- Security: While security and data privacy were concerns earlier, they have been allayed now with the standards, regulations, compliances enforced by software certifications. In addition, IaaS offers itself as private cloud and as hybrid cloud and provides an isolated secure environment for customers.
According to IDC, the cloud market in India is expected to grow from $688 million in 2012 to $3.5 billion by 2016. Furthermore, a survey of 473 respondent companies (more than 40% of them small) by the same research firm showed a huge willingness to adopt the cloud technology. In a country with 50 million startups and small businesses (Source: CNBC), this is a good omen for cloud services providers indeed. At TEN, we share this vision and believe that a vast majority of businesses will already be using the cloud by the next decade.