We moved the PTB systems platform to Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.. It's great.. Some great improvements in the product. Recommended!
What is the Cloud?
The cloud is now something of an industry term and certainly one of the favourite IT buzzwords of the moment. But what is the cloud exactly? This is a question we get asked a lot and everybody's view seems to be a little bit different. Cloud is a very broadly used, and often misused term. With so many views on what the cloud really is its little wonder that companies often find it difficult to understand what it is and are then left not knowing if its right for them.
Many IT professionals and IT companies alike will have you believe that the cloud is a term associated with anything that is connected to the internet or accessible from the internet, This is both misleading and incorrect. The cloud is really a very general marketing term and what it really means to most businesses can be broken down into 3 key types of service.
Software as a service (SaaS)
Software as a service, sometimes referred to as cloud applications is an application or suite of applications delivered over the internet, in most cases through a web browser installed on your local PC. Currently many SaaS offerings available are consumer or domestic oriented but there are also many enterprise and commercial products coming to the market. Good examples of these services include GMail, Google Docs and Salesforce CRM. These are all examples where the application and associated data are stored remotely on highly available and scalable backend systems and everything the user needs is made available through the internet via a web browser. These are usually paid for on a per user subscription basis.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a service is less well used as this is the delivery of core infrastructure components via the internet. Predominantly this involves the use of remote servers (often highly available virtual servers) containing operating systems, databases, middleware and sometimes applications. Sounds similar to SaaS but involves more backend systems. The reason for IaaS is that larger businesses can supplement or upscale their existing systems with these outsourced resources, allowing them to react to needs quickly and with minimal costs. This type of service is also usually priced on subscription but can also appear as a pay as you use it costing, in which case you buy hours of use irrespective of user counts.
Platform as a service (PaaS)
This is probably the least high profile cloud service available today. This is a system designed to deliver application middleware and software building tools to developers by remote service providers via the internet, in essence a twist on SaaS. Common offerings include salesforce and Google's own App engine both enabling developers to build web based applications quickly. The cost for this is usually only the cost of hosting the resulting applications. Its unlikely an SME business would engage with PaaS and as such this will take more time to establish itself in the market than SaaS and IaaS.
Learn more about the cloud at CloudComputing.org.uk.