Cloud computing still at an early stage, with a diverse amount of providers large and small delivering a variety of cloud based services, from full-blown applications to storage services to spam filtering. Utility –style infrastructure providers are part of the mix, but so are SAAS providers such as Salesforce.com. Today for the most part, IT must plug into cloud based services individually, but cloud computing aggregator and integrators are already emerging.
SaaS is a type of cloud computing that delivers a single application through the browser to thousands of customers using a multitenant architecture. To a customer this means no upfront investment in servers or software licensing. To the provider with just one app to maintain costs are low compared to conventional hosting. Salesforce.com is by far the best known example among enterprise applications, but SaaS is also common for HR apps, it even worked its way up to ERP. No one could have predicted the sudden rise of applications, such as Google Aps and Zoho Office.
Utility computing is not new but this form of cloud computing is getting new life from Amazon.com, Sun, and IBM as well as others that now offer storage and virtual servers that can be accessed on demand. This utility computing is mainly used for supplemental, not critical needs but one day may replace parts of datacenter. There are other providers that help IT create virtual datacenters from commodity servers such as 3Tera’s AppLogic and Cohesive Flexible Technologies Elastic Server on Demand. Liquid computing allows IT to stitch together memory, I/O, storage and computational capacity as a virtualized resource available over the network.
Web services in the cloud, providers offer APIs that allow developers to utilize functionality over the Internet, rather than delivering full blown applications. They range from providers of discrete business services such as Strike Iron and Xignite to full range of APIs offered by Google Maps, ADP payroll processing, to US Postal Service, Bloomberg, and conventional credit card services.
Platform as a service is another Saas variation that delivers development environment as a service. You can build applications that run on the provider’s infrastructure and are delivered to your users via the Internet from the provider’s servers. These services are controlled by the vendor’s design and capabilities, so you don’t get complete freedom, but you receive predictability and pre integration Examples include salesfoce.com’s Force.com Coghead and the new Google App Engine.
Managed service providers is one of the oldest forms of cloud computing, service is an application for IT rather than end user. Used for virus scanning, for email or an application monitoring service. Security services delivered by SecureWorks, IBM and Verizon fall into this category, as do such cloud based anti-spam services, also desktop management services such as those offered by CenterBeam or Everdeream.
Service commerce platform is a hybrid of SaaS and MSP cloud computing service that offers a service hub that users interact with. They are common in trading and expense management systems that allow users to order travel or secretarial services that then coordinates the service delivery and pricing within the specifications set by the user.
Internet integration a cloud based service in its early days. OpSource which is mainly used to serving SaaS providers, the OpSource service bus employs integration technology from a little startup called Boomi. Another player in this space is CapeClear an enterprise service bus provider, which was edging toward b to b integration. Grand Central which wanted to be a universal bus in the cloud to connect SaaS providers and provide integrated solutions to customers flamed out in 2005.
In today’s economic environment where organizations must achieve more with less, Cloud has become the buzzword. The potential cost savings and flexibility