By now most people have heard about cloud computing services, but what does cloud mean? While cloud services may vary in their particulars, a cloud computing definition identifies the core features and benefits that are common across all clouds.
From the perspective of service users, cloud computing services have these main features:
Hosted and maintained by the provider. The cloud hosting provider purchases, hosts, and maintains the necessary hardware and software in their own facility. Service users avoid the capital expenditures and maintenance headaches that they would have if they developed the service themselves on-premise.
Self-service through a web interface. Service users can initiate specific service functions, and increase or decrease their service usage level, though a web interface with little or no interaction with the service provider.
Pay for use. Service users pay only for the amount of service that they use. This can result in substantial cost savings compared to the traditional approach of developing on-site IT capacities geared toward maximum usage scenarios, and then having that capacity be under-utilized much of the time.
Near-limitless scalability. Cloud computing services providers typically have the infrastructure to deliver their service at massive scale. For cloud service users, that means that the cloud can easily accommodate business growth or periodic spikes in service usage.
Google Apps & Office 365
Google and Microsoft, two of the world’s biggest companies, are battling to win in the workplace, but which company has the upper hand? Our latest Trends in Cloud IT research offers new insight and data about the budding saga.
Using either Google Apps or Office 365 call SaaS applications “revolutionary” and “use them whenever possible.” The second most popular response: “SaaS applications are useful in some cases, but not always ideal.”
AWS AND AZURE
Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure are the big boys of the cloud computing world, even though AWS is much bigger than Azure. How much bigger? Well, AWS’s server capacity is about 6 times larger than the next 12 competitors combined.The cloud-hosting industry operates on razor-thin margins, making the bulk of their profits from volume. It is thus imperative to capture as much market share as possible. One of the main ways the tech giants (Amazon, Microsoft, Google) achieve this is by regular price cuts of their offerings, especially the all-important compute-storage combo.