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Maximizing the Benefits of Cloud in a Data Center Environment

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September 04, 2012

Maximizing the Benefits of Cloud in a Data Center Environment

By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

Many enterprises today are implementing cloud, or considering shifting to cloud, to gain the benefits of multi-tenant, hosted resources whether software, platforms or infrastructure.

Some benefits include affordable access to enterprise-class IT solutions, predictable cost

structures and rapid scalability. However, as a recent ViaWest whitepaper points out, there are many different “flavors” of cloud computing, and different models fit different businesses.

The three primary cloud models are Software as a Service (SaaS (News - Alert)), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which are outlined in the whitepaper and below:

• SaaS – Software as a Service (SaaS) is a cloud model for support of specific business applications ranging from email to collaboration to enterprise services such as CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning). SaaS offers customers only the functions performed by applications, which are made accessible through thick or thin client infrastructure.

• PaaS – Platform as a Service (PaaS) enables customers to create and configure hosting environments to build and deploy applications. PaaS supports developers, but typically provides little or no control over the infrastructure used.

• IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offers customers on-demand processing, storage and network services to deploy any software. Customers don’t control underlying infrastructure but they control OS, storage, applications and networking components. Infrastructure as a Service offers businesses affordable scalability. Enterprises may

use IaaS for specific, highly variable or fast-growing computing needs. Infrastructure as a Service also provides for fundamental flexibility.

Within the IaaS segment, companies are also electing to combine or pool resources via a hybrid model implementing public and private clouds for infrastructure needs.

For example, the ViaWest KINECTed Cloud provides immediate, on-demand access to infrastructure, processing, storage and networking resources with a hybrid cloud service model.

The whitepaper also explains the benefits or private, public hybrid and so-called community clouds.

“Private clouds offer greater control and security but do not provide the scale and on-demand benefits of a public cloud. Public clouds, by contrast, are available as a third-party service over the Internet and are shared across a large user base, typically with high latency and unpredictable resource availability or consistency,” the whitepaper said. “Community cloud is a term used to indicate a more secure public cloud, in which customers are a closed group, rather than just anyone with a credit card. Recently, hybrid solutions have become increasingly popular.”

Hybrid cloud offers all size businesses scalability of the public cloud with the security of a private cloud, which can scale up or down accordingly.

“Whether leveraging a datacenter for colocation, for storage, for managed hosting, or any combination of these, cloud infrastructure should integrate seamlessly,” the whitepaper summarized. “By blending cloud services with your existing data center services, you benefit from the familiarity your data center provider has with your business needs and infrastructure.”

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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