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The concept of cloud services, and the types of offerings that are encompassed by the phrase is vast. Anything that is provided via the internet could be called a "cloud service". Through virtualisation and improvements in internet capacity and speed, just about any software or hardware functionality can now be provided over the internet.

As we continue to push the boundaries of technological innovation the range of possibilities open to businesses are constantly changing and evolving. Just over the last several years we have progressed from grid and utility computing to fully integrated online systems. With the development of Web 2.0 in 2009 we have seen the industry explode as organisations like Google began to take advantage of browser-based applications.

There are how 3 primary services emerging as a result of these improvements in the way we access and share data; Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers offer an alternative to buying and installing equipment and software needed to support business operations. The network and servers needed to provide storage, networks, server functions are all provided by the IaaS vendor. Businesses are provided with virtual servers that are maintained by the provider and accessed and configured by the user via the internet. Charges are based on space usage making it highly cost effect, and the almost instant ability to expand without incurring down time is a further selling point for turning to IaaS.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Software-as-a-Service is cloud based computing where software is used by accessing it online. Software developers create their program, (for CRM or email, or database processing or just about any other software utility), customers access it normally via their internet browser, and pay (normally) a monthly fee based on usage or the number of users. Some SaaS offerings need small applications loaded on the user's machine to provide their service. The service provider hosts the application itself and stores the customer's data. SaaS provides truly mobile and global access, but there are some concerns about storing business critical and confidential information with third parties.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) sits somewhere between IaaS and SaaS. Server infrastructure, utility programs, a virtual network and users of the applications access are provided and hosted by the PaaS vendor. These are accessed by their customers either through a single web login or through small applications loaded onto personal computers that connect with the PaaS software. クラウドサービス 価格

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