Cloud solutions consoles

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) serves as a guide towards helping government agencies achieve cloud. NIST’s cloud model “promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.”2 As this paper continues, each of these components will be addressed. read this

Development Models:
Prior to being able to evaluate if cloud computing is a good fit for a given organization, the general concepts of cloud computing must be understood. There are a number of different deployment models as well as applications of clouds that make up a cloud environment. The cloud deployment models include: public cloud, community cloud, private cloud and hybrid cloud. There are strengths and weaknesses to each deployment model as it relates to the specific case that a cloud is being considered for use with. The following provides a summary understanding of each deployment model so that one can be chosen to move forward with consideration of cloud implementation.

Public Cloud
“Made available to the general public or a large industry group and is owned by an organization selling cloud services”2

A public cloud is owned by a third party vendor that sells, or offers free of service, a cloud that can be used by the general public. A public cloud is the quickest to setup within an organization, but it also has a limited amount of transparency and limits the amount of customization.

Community Cloud
“Shared by several organization and supports specific community that has shared concerns” 2

A community cloud is an architecture that is established when a group of organizations come together to share resources. A community cloud is a mini public cloud, but only a select group of organizations will be authorized to use the cloud. In contrast to the public cloud, it will generally be more expensive since it will only be used within a smaller group of organizations and all of the infrastructure must be established. A community cloud is a great choice for a group of organizations, such as a group of federal agencies that desire to share resources but want to have more control over security and insight into the cloud itself.

Private Cloud
“Operated solely for an organization” 2

A private cloud is one that is established to support a small singular organization. There is much debate if a private cloud should be considered a cloud at all, as the infrastructure and management of the cloud remains within the organization.

Hybrid Cloud
“Composition of two or more clouds (private, community or public) that remain unique entities but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enable technology that enables data and application portability.”2

A hybrid cloud allows for some of the resources to be managed by a public cloud environment, while others are managed internally by a private cloud. This will normally be used by an organization that wants to allow itself to have the scalability features that a public cloud offers, but will want to keep mission critical or private data internal to the organization.

Service Models:
In addition to the platform on which a cloud will be deployed, there are a variety of different applications of cloud. There are three major types of cloud services, Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Described below are the concepts between the varying types of cloud models.

Software as a Service (SaaS):
“Delivers software over internet without need to install and run applications on the customers own computers” 2

SaaS allows applications to be used by customers over the internet to complete business processes. SaaS is not a new concept; for example, “Salesforce.com has been providing on-demand software for customers since 1999.”6 The advantage of SaaS is the software is run from one centralized location, which means that that the software can be accessed from any location over the internet. The other benefit of having the software managed in one location is that the patches and updates only need to be done once, eliminating the time consuming need to conduct software updates on every machine. Lastly, SaaS is generally “on-demand” which means that an organization does not have to commit to enterprise licenses.

Platform as a Service (PaaS):
“Delivers a computing platform and/or solution stack as a service, often consuming cloud infrastructure and sustaining cloud applications” 2

The PaaS is a platform that helps to deliver an environment where a user can use the clouds to develop new applications without the need to have the software or infrastructure purchased in-house. The consumer will have control of the applications that are running on the cloud, but will not have control of the infrastructure that it is running on. In essence, PaaS provides “anything needed to support how a company builds and delivers Web applications and services in the cloud.”3

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS):
“Delivers computer infrastructure, typically platform virtualization environment as a service. It’s an evolution of virtual private server offerings.” 2

IaaS is using the cloud to supply the infrastructure that would normally have to be procured by a singular organization to run an organizations IT infrastructure. Included in the infrastructure are such things as servers, memory and storage that allow a customer to scale up or down as necessary. The infrastructure can than be used by customers to run their own software with only the amount of resources that are needed at a given moment in time. In the past, companies would often have to purchase a huge infrastructure to support a periodic spike in the need for resources, leaving the servers and networks idle for much of the remaining time. With IaaS, resources will not be wasted, because only what is needed at a given moment is utilized. The customers to the cloud service have control over the operating systems and applications, but don’t manage the cloud infrastructure.