What is the cloud?
The term “the cloud” was first popularized 2006 when Amazon released its Elastic Compute Cloud. This product allowed customers to rent Amazon’s unused computing power. This formally introduced the first commercially available platform as a service (PaaS) offering for what would later become the cloud market.
Suddenly, the idea of pulling computing power and storage off the local machine created untold possibilities for how technology could function and the business world began to take notice.
Cloud computing comes in a few different categories.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a licensing model for cloud-based software. What this means is that, as a consumer, you gain access to real-time use of applications that are actually stored, managed, secured and consistently upgraded in an off-site data center.
Many business apps are considered SaaS because the app is cloud-based and you pay a flat rate for its use, rather than a premium for ownership. Tools such as Office365 and Dropbox fall into this category.
Platform-as-a-service offers more expanded cloud usage than SaaS. With PaaS, businesses can build applications and other tools using enterprise-level computing platforms, while retaining the data locally. If you’re developing software, you can host your platform in the cloud for consumers to use. For example, Airbnb built their app using Amazon Web Services’ PaaS tools.
Some of the most successful PaaS offerings include Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
Infrastructure-as-a-service delivers fully virtualized resources, including servers, storage, and network hardware, over the internet. This means that your business can now be securely managed and run from the cloud whether you are in the office, on the road, or working from home.