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The Cloud

You may have heard about this cool new thing called the cloud. The cloud is real and it’s taking over all forms of information services and infrastructure. If you’re new to the cloud, it can be tricky to understand just how the cloud fits into the overall scheme of things. It helps to know the three main categories of cloud computing and we’ll cover them right here.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). First up is the Infrastructure as a Service cloud type. With this form of cloud computing, you can run a full virtual machine in the cloud. A cloud hosting provider manages the hypervisor or VM-Ware platform, and you remotely manage the virtual machine that runs on the cloud provider’s infrastructure. Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure, and Google Cloud Platform are all examples of IaaS. In a Microsoft deployment, for example, you can run Windows Server 2012 as a virtual machine in an IaaS cloud, but in some cases, the operating system will host the virtual machines in an IaaS cloud.

Platform as a Service (PaaS). Next up we have Platform as a Service. With the PaaS paradigm, the cloud hosting provider provisions the client with a particular platform. For example, a service provider may allow you to host databases, web servers, or even VoIP services. You manage the service itself, while the cloud hosting provider hosts the database server, web server; SQL Azure™ is an example of Platform as a Service.

•Software as a Service (SaaS). Lastly, we have Software as a Service cloud type. The cloud hosting provider hosts your application and all of the infrastructure to support that application. The client can purchase and run a software application from a cloud hosting provider for maximum flexibility. Windows Intune and Microsoft Office 365 are two examples of Software as a Service or SaaS.

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