Cloud computing is a portmanteau term encompassing everything from infrastructure as a service (essentially renting someone else’s server equipment) through to software as a service (typically websites that someone else runs for you). In the middle, there is a platform tier providing the microservices that power the likes of Android and iPhone apps, and also many web-delivered services.
Cloud computing powers the services of internet giants like Microsoft, Google and Amazon and that technology is now available to institutions, learners and researchers.
Cloud can also deliver significant operating efficiencies to institutions and help to make IT provision dramatically more flexible and agile
This has the potential to be hugely empowering, for example by extending the reach of an individual’s research far beyond what would historically have been possible.
Cloud can also deliver significant operating efficiencies to institutions and help to make IT provision dramatically more flexible and agile.
Three cases of cloud computing nowadays
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
Exemplified by the likes of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Compute Engine andMicrosoft’s Azure Virtual Machines. Each of these services gives near instant access to a server hosted in one of the cloud providers’ data centres, pre-loaded with the operating system and often (sometimes for an additional cost) the application software you require.
Software as a service (SaaS)
Exemplified by the likes of the Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Educationcollaboration suites, and the Salesforce.com Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Software vendors are increasingly delivering applications through cloud computing for reasons of convenience and customer retention.
Platform as a service (PaaS)
Essentially a kit of parts which can be used by developers to simplify the process of building and deploying applications. Examples include facilities for reliably hosting applications at scale that have been written in common programming languages such as Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk.
Source: Report: The Future of Cloud Computing https://www.jisc.ac.uk/reports/the-future-of-cloud-computing