As business reliance on technology continues to expand, organizations of all sizes are seeking new ways to support IT efficiency, security and growth. To manage these endeavors, over the past several years, many companies have begun shifting their IT environments to the cloud computing stack, more commonly referred to as "the cloud."
But moving a few key processes to the cloud isn’t enough. To prepare your organization for the challenges and opportunities of a new decade, it’s crucial you complete your digital transformation now.
Here’s what you need to know about cloud computing services, the cloud stack and why it’s essential you prioritize a full transition to cloud computing.
What Is Cloud Computing?
You’re likely already familiar with the concept of the cloud but, just in case, here’s a quick refresher:
Cloud computing is the practice of storing, managing and processing an organization’s resources, software, applications and data over a network via the Internet, rather than in an on-premise server or computing infrastructure.
Cloud computing offers businesses and users the following benefits:
- Easy access to information for self-service on-demand
- Broad network access via desktop, laptop or any approved mobile device
- Immediate availability of services through resource pooling
- The ability to quickly scale service as demands increase and/or your company grows
- Measured service for metered billing (so users pay based on their level of usage)
The term cloud computing refers to a broad spectrum of services sometimes referred to as “the cloud computing stack.”
What Are the Components of the Cloud Computing Stack?
"The cloud computing stack" and "the cloud stack” can be relatively confusing terms to explain cloud computing concepts.
Essentially, several services are built on top of one another, like a layered cake (which is where the term “stack” originated).
There are three distinct categories of cloud computing: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Because PaaS refers mostly to tools used to code and deploy end-user applications, and is primarily only relevant to engineers, we’re going to focus on SaaS and IaaS.
Here’s what these terms mean:
- SaaS: Software deployed via the Internet, usually by a single provider that licenses applications to customers on-demand on a pay-as-you-go or subscription model. In some cases, when providers can generate revenue through other means (like advertising), they offer SaaS applications at no charge to the end-user.
SaaS users can access the software via the web at any time and enjoy easy integration thanks to APIs. Plus, patches and upgrades download automatically, so there’s little to no maintenance required by the end-user.
Good examples of SaaS are Netflix, Office365 or Quickbooks.
- IaaS: This term refers to a means of delivering cloud infrastructure (such as servers, networks and operating systems) on an on-demand basis. Instead of purchasing your own servers and maintaining your own data center equipment and software, you can buy these resources on-demand.
IaaS follows a variable-cost, utility-based pricing model and enables dynamic scaling, so you can increase or decrease service based on current demand. You don’t have to contend with physical limitations or hardware management, and can include multiple users on a single piece of hardware.
Rackspace and Amazon AWS are both examples of IaaS service providers.
3 Advantages of a Full Transition to Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is no passing fad. In fact, cloud data centers are predicted to process 94 percent of workloads in 2021, according to data from Cisco. In other words, even if you’re not entirely on the cloud yet, there’s a good chance your competitors have already made the shift.
Here’s why it’s in your company’s best interest to complete your transition to the cloud:
- Access your data anywhere, at anytime
When all the data and services you need to run your organization are hosted in the cloud, you can access them from anywhere. This means you’re no longer limited by the confines of an on-premise network and can support a truly mobile workforce.
- Less stress on internal IT resources
Not only will you not have to worry about investing in data center equipment, but you won’t have to hire a staff to manage your hardware, either. And because your software will automatically update as needed, you don’t have to concern yourself with continually upgrading to newer versions of each program you need.
- Flexibility to meet modern demands
As technology becomes more sophisticated, and more business processes become dependent on tech, your organization’s IT needs will only continue to grow. By moving to the cloud now, you can prepare to meet future requirements.
In the rapidly evolving world of information technology, every organization – regardless of its size – can significantly benefit from the expanded functionality cloud computing provides.
Need help with continuing your transition to cloud computing? Discuss your current capabilities and future possibilities with an IT expert today.