About cloud computing
On this page:
- Service models
- Types of clouds
Cloud computing is the delivery of shared, on-demand computing services over the internet ("the cloud") to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.
Cloud services include servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, intelligence, and more. You typically pay only for what you use, helping lower your operating costs, run your infrastructure more efficiently, and scale as your business needs change. This lets people access and share information at any time from multiple devices, rapidly deploy computing services without purchasing hardware, temporarily leverage massive computing power, and more.
Cloud computing allows both consumers and IT providers to use technology as a utility, which makes IT nimbler and more cost-effective. Cloud computing includes familiar examples of cloud storage, such as storing pictures on Flickr, videos on YouTube, or files on Google Drive at IU, but also encompasses services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, which allow online services (for example, servers delivering a website) to rapidly scale up or down based on sudden fluctuations in traffic.
Cloud computing has three main service models, commonly referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service lets you access a provider's services running on the provider's infrastructure, typically from multiple devices. Examples of commonly used SaaS applications are OneDrive, Canvas, Gmail, Facebook, and Snapchat.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platform as a Service removes the need for organizations to manage the underlying infrastructure (usually servers and operating systems) and allows them to focus on the deployment and management of their applications. Examples of PaaS include AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Microsoft Azure Web Apps, Salesforce, and the Google App Engine.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service contains the basic building blocks for cloud IT and typically provides access to networking features, computers (virtual or on dedicated hardware), and data storage space. Some examples are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
Types of clouds
There are three deployment models for cloud computing: private, public, and hybrid clouds.
Private clouds involve a distinct and secure cloud-based environment in which only the specified client can operate.
Public clouds are cloud-based computing environments provided by a commercial provider, accessed via the internet. Their infrastructure is built to leverage massive scale and is shared with multiple clients. IU currently has contracts with two public cloud computing vendors, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. To get an account, see Get started.
Hybrid clouds use elements from both private and public clouds. For example, a hybrid cloud may use a public cloud for all non-sensitive information and only use a private cloud for more sensitive or confidential data.