Cloud Computing, Part 1: Delivery Models

Written on 9:10:00 PM by S. Potter

Today I went to a regional CEO Roundtable lunch talk given by Professor Roy Campbell at UIUC on Cloud Computing and why executives of any kind of business should care.

While I am not new to the concepts of cloud computing and multi-tenancy SaaS, since I have consumed various cloud services and designed multi-tenant architectures for two previous clients. However, there was one particular "overview" slide that Professor Campbell showed that got me thinking a little. It was titled Delivery Models.

It was a text slide with bullets, but I think a diagram (or two) could have communicated to the higher-level audience more than most of the first half of his presentation could have (see below and let me know if it is more effective).

I especially liked Professor Campbell's categorization of the Delivery Models. Until this lunch time I had really only considered there to be two cloud delivery models: SaaS and PaaS. I wasn't making a distinction between Amazon services like S3 and EC2 and that of Google's AppEngine. On reflection, I am glad I took two hours out of my busy Friday if only to consider the distinction made in this talk.

In a nutshell the slide has three major bullets:

  • Software as a Service
  • Platform as a Service
  • Infrastructure as a Service

Nice! Google AppEngine, essentially being an application container (that supports various frameworks now), is a platform, whereas S3 and EC2 provide infrastructure on demand.

Now unfortunately this is where Campbell left it. For those of us not unfamiliar with cloud computing, we can see the importance of this distinction so that we can develop a more solid business plan (for those of us that might be interested in using the cloud to generate revenue from). It may also help technically savvy people that aren't familiar with the cloud.

Hope this helps people make a choice between container services like AppEngine or Heroku (platform) and those such as S3 and EC2 (infrastructure) from a consumer side and perhaps those devising business models to focus on their core competencies.

Next time I want to talk about privacy, legal and compliance issues surrounding Cloud Computing as well as how business should weigh the risk of outsourcing their data handling (however that happens) to countries will less mature laws, regulation and oversight. Perhaps cloud governance would be the most appropriate term?

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1 Comment

  1. Jonathan Kupferman |

    You are absolutely right in identifying that there is a big difference between PaaS and IaaS. I'm not quite sure that I agree that PaaS is for smaller companies and IaaS is for larger companies, but that is another matter. Another thing worth pointing out is that when you get into the PaaS you no longer have to worry about anything except your application. Adding or subtracting servers, configuring them, etc is all invisible to you. If you wanted to run a django app using IaaS it is now your responsibility to figure out all of the configuration and server management necessary to keep that app up and running. Its two very different models usually with different pricing models.


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