What are the Components of a Cloud Computing System?

The Components of a Cloud Computing System?

As the demand for cloud computing grows, it becomes necessary for any person with an interest in getting a piece of ‘the cloud’ to understand what constitutes a good cloud computing system. The cloud refers to the internet in IT talk and when combined with computing, it basically refers to a computing method where all resources are availed via the internet.

All resources used in the system are designed with the user-end in mind, so that clients can use software applications without necessarily interacting with the technology stack and infrastructure used to build the said applications. The one thing that makes cloud computing such a great hit is its high scalability, where resources can be increased in line with the client’s demands.

Computing resources are released on demand and are such that if one component of the system fails, the system is not grounded. The system is made up of three distinct models:

- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a Service (Saas)

IaaS
This level describes the physical components of cloud computing, namely storage, servers, connections and every other infrastructure needed to complete the setting for application deployment. It forms the basis for the other two models, PaaS and SaaS. All the tools used on this level are availed virtually. This means that after they have been developed, they are adjusted to make them usable on the internet. For this, they have high flexibility in that when there is malfunction in any tool, you can easily replace it.

PaaS
PaaS are incorporated in the IaaS. Their primary role is to provide a platform for clients to launch their applications with ease and achieve maximum scalability. Google App Engine is a good example. PaaS works in two ways: you can develop and launch an application of the PaaS cloud provider of your choice or you can import an existing application to their platform, what is referred to as porting. Using custom PaaS applications is often cheaper compared to porting applications, because this second option often involves making changes in the coding to make the application user-friendly within the PaaS.

SaaS
Software as a Service cloud computing avails a single application to a large number of users/customers. Google’s Gmail is an example. Through SaaS, customers are able to enjoy services without investing in them and the provider minimizes cost of operation.

There are other components involved in sustaining cloud computing. These are:

1. Managed Service Providers (MSPs)
This refers to the IT behind applications used to make the customer’s experience in the cloud pleasant. They include security services, e-mail virus scanning services and desktop management services.

2. Service Commerce Platforms
This is a model that takes the form of a service bureau. It combines MSP and SaaS to provide common ground where customers can order services. The platform coordinates the service delivery of all ordered services, pricing for the same and billing.

3. Web Service Providers
These provide APIs than enhance functionality in the cloud. They are responsible for making most online tasks possible.

This is a Guest Post:

David Shadler is a technologist with an interest in the modular data center, collocation, and cloud computing.
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