What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing is the practice of hosting files, computing operations, or technology services on remote servers connected via the Internet. It can allow people to access and share information at any time from multiple devices, rapidly deploy computing services without purchasing hardware, temporarily leverage massive computing power, and much more.

Cloud computing allows both consumers and IT providers to use technology as a utility by paying only for what they use, which makes IT nimbler and more cost-effective. Cloud computing includes familiar examples of cloud storage, such as storing pictures on Flickr, videos on YouTube, or files on Box at IU, but also encompasses services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure which allow online services (e.g., servers delivering a website) to rapidly scale up or down based on sudden fluctuations in traffic.

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Service models

Cloud computing has three main service models, commonly referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service lets you access a provider's services running on the provider's infrastructure, typically from multiple devices. Examples of commonly used SaaS applications are Box, Canvas, Gmail, Facebook, and Snapchat.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service removes the need for organizations to manage the underlying infrastructure (usually servers and operating systems) and allows them to focus on the deployment and management of their applications. Examples of PaaS include AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Microsoft Azure Web Apps, Salesforce, and the Google App Engine.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service contains the basic building blocks for cloud IT and typically provides access to networking features, computers (virtual or on dedicated hardware), and data storage space. Some examples are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

Types of clouds

There are three deployment models for cloud computing: private, public, and hybrid clouds.

Private clouds

Private clouds involve a distinct and secure cloud-based environment in which only the specified client can operate. For example, the IU Data Center is a private cloud for Indiana University, and also provides cloud computing as a service to other entities around the state of Indiana (see Indiana's Private Cloud).

Public clouds

Public clouds are cloud-based computing environments provided by a commercial provider, accessed via the Internet. Their infrastructure is built to leverage massive scale and is shared with multiple clients. IU currently has contracts with two public cloud computing vendors, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. To get an account, see How can I get an AWS or Azure account at IU?

Hybrid clouds

Hybrid clouds use elements from both private and public clouds. For example, a hybrid cloud may use a public cloud for all non-sensitive information and only use a private cloud for more sensitive or confidential data.

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Last modified on 2017-01-24 10:48:12.

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