Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Roger Strukhoff, Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White, Noel Wurst, Gilad Parann-Nissany

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Web 2.0

Cloud Expo: Article

Making Sense of the Cloud for Growing Businesses

Preparing to take the next step in your cloud journey

With all the hype around "the cloud," it's difficult not to be skeptical about its value. While cloud computing seems complex, it is possible to understand the building blocks that help make the cloud more tangible for businesses of all sizes. In fact, understanding the innovation the cloud delivers can profoundly impact critical parts of your business and may be the key in providing business growth and scalability. However, before diving into cloud adoption, it's worth doing your homework.

There are many terms in the cloud computing lexicon, including popular terms like IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service). As the owner of a growing business, you will likely have direct experience with SaaS - software applications most often hosted in the cloud. You'll find that the SaaS market is considerably larger than the PaaS or IaaS markets, and SaaS adoption continues to grow. According to a recent Techaisle survey on SMB Business Application Cloud Computing, over 70 percent of respondents have already implemented cloud business applications in the past three years and plan to add an average of 2.9 cloud business applications to their current suite in 2012. In any case, let's break down these terms as they relate to the cloud, removing needless complexities and using a language even technophobes can understand.

IaaS - Systems, Storage and Processing Delivered from the Cloud
IaaS means delivering a virtual server, desktop computer or remote storage from the cloud. In other words, a hosting provider gives you a remote data center - where it manages the infrastructure, servers and virtualization - and you access your virtual computers and storage from the Internet through a secure virtual private network (VPN) connection. Unlike PaaS, this model does not provide any of the core building blocks or components for developing applications.

An IaaS approach to infrastructure can offer:

  • Faster responses to changing business conditions or customer needs, enabled by rapid system provisioning and rapid scalability, without the long-term lock-in of hardware purchases
  • Productivity increases resulting from the ability to access your applications and data anywhere/anytime and the reliability that comes from a distributed computing model
  • Reduced capital outlay for hardware acquisition, maintenance, data center real estate, and power and cooling when using a pay-for-use (public cloud) model

PaaS - Core Components for Developing and Hosting Applications from the Cloud
The PaaS delivery models enable you to use a vendor to provide hardware and software - as well as provisioning and hosting capabilities - needed to develop, deliver and maintain applications and other resources in the cloud.

A PaaS approach can address key application management and development issues, offering benefits such as:

  • Low barriers to entry by doing away with the need to make upfront investments in new hardware and software resources
  • Innovation without hassle since the PaaS model frees your IT staff to collaboratively develop and test applications outside the constraints of your in-house infrastructure
  • Greater flexibility since PaaS enables automatic, scalable application deployment and greatly simplifies patch and update management

SaaS - Applications Delivered from the Cloud
SaaS means delivering a software application from the cloud, often to users' browsers as a Web-based application. You may already use SaaS applications without even knowing it. For example, Salesforce Service Cloud helps you connect with customers faster and become more responsive.

SaaS offerings save you the costs and headaches of deploying new applications in your own environment, whether on premise, or on a PaaS or IaaS environment. SaaS applications are built upon and delivered from the application vendor's own PaaS and IaaS environments. For example, Salesforce.com's Sales Cloud SaaS application is built upon their Force.com PaaS environment. With SaaS you pay only for the resources you use on a subscription model. You can start small, with a minimal investment, yet be able to scale up (or, later, back down) as your needs change. You can even integrate your SaaS applications to your on-premise applications or with other cloud applications to give users a seamless experience.

SaaS enables growing businesses to get access to applications that were traditionally only affordable by larger enterprises. SaaS can be seen as an equalizer that levels the playing field with larger competitors, without incurring large investments in technology and resources.

Bottom Line
The fact is, there is no special formula for moving to the cloud. Ask yourself if moving to the cloud makes sense for you. Does it map well to your business processes? Does it give you a competitive advantage? Are your industry peers successfully moving to the cloud?

It's important to define these items to ensure you're using a solution that's customized to your business needs. With a better understanding of cloud computing, you are better prepared to take the next step in your cloud journey.

More Stories By Bill Odell

As Senior Director for Dell Business Cloud Applications, Bill Odell is responsible for the overall go-to-market strategy overseeing product direction and all marketing activities. With over 20 years of experience leading marketing for several innovative, category creating technology companies, he is a well-known and respected cloud expert with deep expertise in the areas of cloud strategy, success and integration.

Prior to joining Dell, Bill served in executive roles for emerging SaaS companies Helpstream, Right90 and JobVite as well as senior marketing roles at Latitude Communications, Interlace, Compression Labs and Sun Mircosystems. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of California Berkeley and an MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Cloud Expo Breaking News
All too many discussions about DevOps conclude that the solution is an all-purpose player: developer and operations guru, complete with pager for round-the-clock duty. For most organizations that is not the way forward. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bernard Golden, Vice President of Strategy at ActiveState, will discuss how to achieve the agility and speed of end-to-end automation without requiring an organization stocked with Supermen and Superwomen.
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at 15th Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, Vice President, Product Strategy of LogMeIn's Xively IoT Platform, will show you how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
“The Internet of Things is a wave that has arrived and it’s growing really fast. The concern at Aria Systems is making sure that people understand the ramifications of their attempts to monetize whatever it is they build on the Internet of Things," explained C Brendan O’Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect at Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the Internet of @ThingsExpo, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Internet of @ThingsExpo 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading IoT industry players in the world.
“About two years ago Brother launched a new group called Brother Online. We thought it was a good idea for a hardware company to get into the cloud services market and our first step into that market was web conferencing,” explained Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
"So many teams have been stuck in their own practices for the last ten years and it's really hard to sell all the latest and greatest tools, but the reality is all the tools around operations have evolved so much you are starting to see a big shift toward upgrading that tool set, focusing more on automation, more on cloud," explained Dustin Whittle, Developer Evangelist at AppDynamics, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the DevOps Summit, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City.
“We provide disaster recovery services as well as solutions. We also provide back-up solutions that work across your internal on-premise assets as well as in the public and private cloud," stated Joel Ferman, Vice President of Marketing at InMage Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo® (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com/), held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Harbinger Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Harbinger Systems is a global company providing software technology services. Since 1990, Harbinger has developed a strong customer base worldwide. Its customers include software product companies ranging from hi-tech start-ups in Silicon Valley to leading product companies in the US and large in-house IT organizations.
“Distrix fits into the overall cloud and IoT model around software-defined networking. There’s a broad category around software-defined networking that’s focused on data center, and we focus on the WAN,” explained Jay Friedman, President of Distrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the Internet of @ThingsExpo, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Internet of @ThingsExpo 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading IoT industry players in the world.
“Dell Cloud Manager is a cloud management environment for the consumption of cloud resources and we provide a consistent interface, both in terms of API and in terms of user interface for doing a wide variety of activities core to deploying and operating software in cloud," explained James Urquhart, Technologist & Director of Cloud Management Solutions at Dell, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the Cloud Standards Customer Council (CSCC ) has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Cloud Standards Customer Council is an end user advocacy group dedicated to accelerating cloud's successful adoption, and drilling down into the standards, security and interoperability issues surrounding the transition to the cloud. The Council will provide cloud users with the opportunity to drive client requirements into standards development organizations and deliver materials such as best practices and use cases to assist other enterprises.
“Ambernet Technologies is an innovative software company and we’ve been very focused on building enterprise grade cloud management and cloud brokerage software," explained Troy Halford, CSO of Ambernet Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
“We introduced our product called AgilData. It’s basically the first Agile view, a streaming view of looking at a database and data as a streaming real-time dynamic capability," explained Cory Isaacson, CEO/CTO of CodeFutures Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
“As the move to the cloud started, we stayed ahead of that by providing security solutions to our enterprise customers, financial customers, and now a whole new range of customers, which are application developers," explained John Gunn, VP of Corporate Communications for VASCO Data Security, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
The industry is heated with debates on whether adopting private or public cloud is the smartest, best, cheapest, you name it choice. But this debate is missing the mark. Businesses shouldn’t be discussing public vs. private, but rather how can they make the two work together to their greatest advantage. The ideal is to merge on-premise and off-premise into a seamless environment that can be managed as a single entity – a forward-looking stance that will eventually see major adoption. But as of late 2013, hybrid cloud was still “rare,” noted Gartner analyst Tom Bittman. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Marten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus Systems, will discuss how public clouds need on-premise satellites to win and, conversely, how on-premise environments cannot be really powerful unless they are connected to the public cloud. It’s not two competing worlds; it’s two dimensions of the same world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that the Wall Street Technology Association (WSTA) has been named "Association Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Wall Street Technology Association (WSTA®) provides financial industry technology professionals, vendors, service providers, and consultants with forums to learn from and connect with each other. The WSTA facilitates seminars and networking events where members meet and exchange ideas and best practices that assist them in effectively capitalizing on technology advances and dealing with financial industry business challenges. Founded in 1967, the WSTA is a not-for-profit association with a long history of evolving to meet the needs of its members.