Cloud Storage Terms Explained

Cloud computing terminology is popping up everywhere. Just turn on your television or enter a search query into Google, and you will find yourself inundated by websites, ads and popup videos all touting the business changing benefits that the cloud has to offer.

What’s odd is that despite this storm of information by the media, it seems the concepts behind cloud computing remain to most. In fact, an August 2012 survey by Wakefield Research found that 29% of Americans think that cloud computing involves an actual cloud. Perhaps more alarming is that only 16% of the survey respondents were able to correctly identify that the cloud has something to do with storing, accessing and sharing data.

With these stats in mind, perhaps a little insight into a few of the more common cloud computing related terms is in order: 

The Cloud Defined: Cloud computing involves moving computing workloads off premise and delivering them as an “anytime, anywhere” service.

Take a look at this Cloud Computing Maze for help decidiing which Cloud is right for You. 

The three main cloud computing categories

Public Cloud:

The servers, applications, and storage space you use are shared andsegmented among a network of users – While security may be a concern for some companies, the tradeoff is cost-effective scalability.

 Major advantages include:

·         Redundancy and Availability

·         Cost effective

·         Scalability

Private Cloud:

Instead of sharing servers, the private cloud relies on dedicated servers that are only accessible by you – While more expensive than a public cloud offering, you receive the benefits of added security.

Major advantages include:

·         Control and Security

·         Regulatory Compliance

·         Dedicated Resources

Hybrid Cloud:

In the hybrid cloud, some of your services are hosted by the data center while the others are accessible from the cloud – For companies with systems not ready for full virtualization, the hybrid cloud offers the best of both worlds.

Major advantages include:

·         Data Security

·         Flexibility of Resources

·         Scalable Cloud Migration


The storage services in the cloud

Beyond the cloud itself, you also have to consider the service offerings within the cloud. While these can be wide-ranging, common terminology includes:

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS):

Infrastructure as a Service refers to the base of the cloud computing stack. In this offering, the hardware, storage, server and networking equipment needed to support your computing operations are the responsibility of the managed service provider

Platform as a Service (PaaS):

One layer above IaaS in the cloud computing stack, PaaS starts at the application level. This allows you to deploy your own applications in the cloud, while the provider is responsible for maintaining the hardware, operating systems, software upgrades, security and daily hosting.

Software as a Service (SaaS):

As the final layer in the cloud computing stack, SaaS refers to the deployment of software. With this service, instead of buying and installing software on your server, you pay a fee to use software offered to you by a provider