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Mainline Computer Cloud Services

The “cloud” in cloud computing can be defined as the set of hardware, networks, storage, services and interfaces that combine to deliver aspects of computing as a service. Cloud services include the delivery of software, infrastructure and storage over the internet (either as separate components or as a complete platform) based on user demand.

There are three different levels or delivery methods:

1. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) -- This is what almost everyone has already been using in the form of Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, Google Apps, various search engines, Wikipedia and Autotask, etc. Basically, a company hosts the application on the internet that many users sign up for and use without concern for where, how or by whom it is provided. It is a complete end-user application, created and available to be used by the masses.

2. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) -- This is where an application platform is offered to developers in the cloud. These developers then write the application and upload it in the cloud (internet), where the application then runs. Companies such as Google and Salesforce.com provide the management tools (platform) for developers to write the code (applications). In other words, the service that is actually sold from PaaS providers is the engine that drives the requests to an application and makes that application work.

3. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) -- This is where developers and system administrators get the CPU (computing power/servers), storage, network connectivity and other resources to run their applications. It promises to remove the pain from dealing with and managing raw infrastructure. Basically, it’s renting server space and infrastructure to run the application. Companies such as Amazon Web Services and Rackspace are examples.


• Proven web-services integration. By its very nature, cloud computing technology is much easier and quicker to integrate with your other enterprise applications (both traditional software and cloud computing infrastructure-based), whether third-party or homegrown.
• World-class service delivery. Cloud computing infrastructures offer much greater scalability, complete disaster recovery and impressive uptime numbers.
• No hardware or software to install: a 100% cloud computing infrastructure. The beauty of cloud computing technology is its simplicity — and the fact that it requires significantly fewer capital expenditures to get up and running.
• Faster and lower-risk deployment. You can get up and running in a fraction of the time with a cloud computing infrastructure. No more waiting months or years and spending millions of dollars before anyone gets to log into your new solution. Your cloud computing technology applications are live in a matter of weeks or months, even with extensive customization or integration.
• Support for deep customizations. Some IT professionals mistakenly think that cloud computing technology is difficult or impossible to customize extensively, and therefore is not a good choice for complex enterprises. The cloud computing infrastructure not only allows deep customization and application configuration, it preserves all those customizations even during upgrades. And even better, cloud computing technology is ideal for application development to support your organization’s evolving needs.
• Empowered business users. Cloud computing technology allows on-the-fly, point-and-click customization and report generation for business users, so IT doesn’t spend half its time making minor changes and running reports.
• Automatic upgrades that don’t impact IT resources. Cloud computing infrastructures put an end to a huge IT dilemma: If we upgrade to the latest-and-greatest version of the application, we’ll be forced to spend time and resources (that we don’t have) to rebuild our customizations and integrations. Cloud computing technology doesn’t force you to decide between upgrading and preserving all your hard work, because those customizations and integrations are automatically preserved during an upgrade.
• Pre-built, pre-integrated apps for cloud computing technology. There are a number of applications built for the various cloud computing infrastructures.

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