It is difficult to read any technology news or visit a web hosting news website and not see articles about cloud computing, cloud hosting, or simply “the cloud”. All are essentially referring to the same phenomenon, and all highlight the growing trend in the server world toward cloud hosting.
There are many reasons why a business, government organization, or non-profit might decide to aim for the cloud, the least of which is because it is popular. It has financial and technical benefits that make it appealing, but even after you decide to enter the cloud, there are many options you should consider.
1. SaaS (Software as a Service) – Like the term “cloud”, SaaS gets thrown around a lot in hosting discussions. As the name implies, the customer pays a subscription fee to use software hosted by the service provider. The server hardware and the software itself remain the property of the host.
2. Cloud Application Platform – In this scenario, the service provider lays the foundation for the software but does not provide the software itself. This is very similar to traditional managed server hosting models. The key difference is that the service provider will often cater the platform to meet the specific development needs of the customer.
3. Open Cloud – Using free and open source software, this option allows the customer to build his own cloud or develop his application framework within the open source cloud offered by the service provider. In some ways, the service is no different from option 1 and 2, but the main difference is that the customer maintains control, even if the contract is terminated, because the platform is completely open.
4. Private Cloud – This option is difficult to distinguish from traditional hosting since the customer is essentially running a dedicated server. The software and services offered are usually on par with other cloud services, and in some cases, the service provider may manage the server, even if it is located locally on the customer’s premises.