cloud is about how you do computing, not where you do computing
-Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware
Cloud deployment refers to the enablement of SaaS, PaaS or IaaS solutions that can be accessed on demand – via the cloud – by end users or consumers.
Cloud deployment includes all of the required installation and configuration steps that must be implemented before end user provisioning can occur.
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IaaS, PaaS or SaaS in the cloud?
Cloud deployment models
A cloud deployment model refers to the type of cloud computing architecture a cloud solution will be implemented on, where the infrastructure for the deployment resides and who has control over that infrastructure.
There are three main cloud deployment models: public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud. There is also multi-cloud and distributed cloud.
Each cloud deployment model satisfies different enterprise needs. Each model also has a different value proposition and cost associated with it.
After deciding the most appropriate cloud architecture, there is critical analysis required to determine the level of service required from the cloud(s). This includes options for Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, and Software-as-a-Service.
What is Infrastructure-as-a-Service?
IaaS refers to the fundamental building blocks of computing that can be rented from a cloud service provider: physical or virtual servers, storage and networking.
What is Platform-as-a-Service?
PaaS includes the underlying storage, networking, and virtual servers of IaaS, and adds the tools and software that developers need to build applications such as middleware, database management, operating systems, and development tools.
What is Software-as-a-Service?
SaaS is the delivery of applications as a service and is the version of cloud computing that Australian end users are most familiar with as they access popular apps via a web browser or app on a daily basis. These include customer relationship management (CRM) applications like Salesforce and enterprise resource management (ERM) applications like Microsoft Office 365.
Factors to consider when choosing a cloud deployment model
Every business has unique needs, and choosing the right cloud deployment model can help secure a competitive advantage. Some factors to evaluate to choose the right model for an organisation include:
It’s been said that it doesn’t matter where the cloud is but that is not strictly true in many instances. Reduced latency and data privacy legislation are two reasons why it is preferable to opt for cloud hosting to be located as close to end users as possible.
The cloud offers different user experiences depending on which deployment model is chosen.
With a private cloud, the organisation will maintain complete control over the user experience – the application, the network, and, in most cases, the client systems. This allows internal resources to finetune for optimal performance and usability.
With public cloud the user experience will be delivered by the host, who will be responsible for availability and accessibility.
A hybrid cloud model might require end users to move across public and private clouds requiring integration of internal and external systems.
Security is always a complicated and ever-shifting topic. Decision-making mainly comes down to trust. Many organisations would rather trust a third party than trust themselves, and with good reason. Security is a resource-intensive specialism. Third parties can often offer a more responsive and expert capability.
Responsibilities vary greatly by cloud model.
Obviously with private and hybrid clouds there is more control of the environment but this can be both a pro and con. One of the big drivers of public cloud adoption is organisations’ desire to reduce internal responsibilities.
End users will be most familiar with software-as-a-service products offered through public cloud such as Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, Slack and Skype.
The cloud model must meet the user’s need for accessibility and availability and an organisation’s need to control costs and maintain a stable, predictable environment.
DevOps refers to an organisation’s decision-making and ownership culture around software development. It covers the set of collaborative practices that automates the processes between software development and IT teams, in order that they can build, test, and release software faster and more reliably.
The cloud environment enhances the speed, automation and collaboration possibilities for DevOps.
Container solutions like Docker and Kubernetes offer strong dev/test capabilities, while platforms like Cloud Foundry offer additional service layers that require more complex governance.
For mission-critical apps in particular, clouds must be certified for performance, security and other factors, and this applies to any cloud that the primary cloud might use for back-up and sharing.