Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cloud Computing vs. SaaS

At first blush cloud computing does not seem to be different from Software as a Service (SaaS). Both provide hosted capability and a pay-per-use model. The following 1 minute video rPath demystifies a bunch of terms related to cloud computing, including "grid computing", "platform as a service" and "utility computing".

The analogy of a fully-owned car (On-premise), a leased car (SaaS) and a Taxi (Clod Computing) is helpful, and is explained well in the following video, courtesy of GoGrid.

While the definition of cloud computing continues to evolve, in essence you could use Cloud computing in 3 ways:
  1. Infrastructure as a Service - Think disk space, similar to Amazon's EC2.
  2. Platform as a Service - This is the evolving space. Here you have a server+Infrastructure available as a service.
  3. Application as a Service - Think, however this is pay-per use, NOT pay-per-user.
The following diagrams illustrate this concept:

The ability to "plug-in" and pay-per-use of IT capability is ultimately quite compelling.

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