Cloud Computing, cloud, the cloud or cloud services, are collective terms for common IT services which are offered to individuals or businesses from a network of data centres. This could for example be Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (SaaS). In the cloud, the data capacity is adapted as needed and you pay for what you use.
One advantage of cloud services is that users have access wherever they are — at work, at home or on the move. There are many providers of cloud services, including Oracle, Microsoft, Amazon and Google.
Characteristics of cloud services
Needs-based and self-service: End users should be able to order and create resources themselves, such as Servers, networks or storage, as and when necessary and without the involvement of human or manual processes from the service provider.
Online access: Capacity is made available via a network and accessed through standard mechanisms through either a thin-client or thick-client, such as a mobile phone, laptop, workstation, etc.
Shared resources: The cloud service provider has merged resources to serve a larger set of customers using a multi-tenant model. Both physical and virtual resources are allocated automatically and dynamically based on user needs. The user, or administrator, has no control over the specific physical resources on which the service runs, as the service layer is abstracted from physical infrastructure. This is deliberate and done to optimize resources such as storage, processing, memory, networking and bandwidth.
Instant flexibility: Capacity can be rapidly scaled up or down based on need – in some cases automatically based on load and need. For the customer and the consumer, the resources will seem "infinite" and the customer's needs should be met immediately.
Measurable: Cloud services should be able to automatically measure all resource usage down to each individual resource. This often applies to storage, processing, bandwidth, number of active users, etc. One of the purposes behind this measurement is to calculate resource use in order to charge customers the correct amounts.
Service models in the cloud
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which concerns the delivery of data infrastructure as a service via a network. The customer has control over relevant applications, servers, operating systems and storage options, as well as certain elements of the network in some cases (e.g. on the firewall side).
Platform as a Service (PaaS), where the customer introduces applications developed/purchased by the customer in the supplier’s online cloud infrastructure by using programming languages and tools supported by the supplier. The customer has control over their own applications, but has no control over networks, servers, operating systems or storage options.
Software as a Service (SaaS), which is a model for delivery via a network where the customer uses the supplier’s application(s) on an online cloud infrastructure. The customer normally has no control over applications, networks, servers, operating systems or storage options.
Delivery models in the cloud
Cloud services can be provided in various ways. There is a consensus within the industry regarding the following delivery models:
Public Cloud: Public cloud is a service that is sold on the open market, i.e. standardised solutions which are largely identical for all customers. The largest providers are Google, Amazon and Microsoft. A public cloud can also be part of the architecture of software producers that produce their own software solutions, which are then delivered over the internet. An end customer can thus be a user of public cloud services, without deciding on the underlying infrastructure.
Private Cloud: A private cloud is a closed service that is limited to the company itself. In this case, the resources will be delivered from the company’s own data centre resources, but they must still meet the requirements regarding characteristics and service models in order to be called a cloud. Operation of the underlying infrastructure and control systems is performed by the business itself in this case. Businesses have the option to operate their own cloud, but if it does not possess the expertise or financial strength, the business will not achieve the same economies of scale or level of security as a private cloud.
Community Cloud: This is largely the same as a private cloud. The difference is that this is a platform which becomes available to a larger, but limited number of players. An example would be a separate cloud which is only available to government agencies.
Hybrid Cloud: If a business uses a combination of public and private clouds, this is known as a ‘hybrid cloud’.
Cegal and Cloud computing
At Cegal, we are familiar with the strengths of the various cloud providers and help our customers to choose the right solutions when they want to go up into the cloud. We do this together with our partners Oracle, Microsoft, Google and Amazon.
We were for example the first Nordic player to help customers with Oracle databases move up into the cloud using the Oracle/Microsoft partnership established in 2019, where they agreed to physically connect their various data centres together.
The partnership between Microsoft and Oracle meets a need that customers have had for many years. It makes it possible to set up a more modern IT architecture, which in turn enables you to utilize your valuable data to develop modern applications for the future. At the same time, you can also make substantial cost-savings as regards both licences and hardware.