Understanding Cloud Computing for SMBs
by Audre Hill
Published on this site: September 26th, 2011 - See
more articles from this month
The buzz about cloud migration , or taking your business to the
cloud , is all over the internet. But between the geek speak and
the sales copy, it's hard for small and mid-sized business
owners to put cloud computing in perspective with their real
Here's a brief overview of the different types of clouds and the
various vendors in those markets right now. As you read, keep in
mind that the internet changes quickly. Cloud vendors will
continue to come and go, so longevity, stability and portability
will become increasingly important factors when choosing vendors.
Cloud computing for SMBs:
The three main types of clouds right now are SaaS, PaaS and IaaS
(descriptions will follow). As a SMB owner, you and your staff
will usually only have direct experience with SaaS - the
applications that deliver software like Microsoft Office and
Google Docs. Here's an example of how the three layers work
- SaaS (Software as a Service):
You and your employees use it as off-the-shelf application
software. For example, if you use SalesForce to manage your
customer database, you're using SaaS. It's hosted on the cloud,
and you download apps to connect with the cloud version.
- PaaS (Platform as a Service):
As an example, let's say you decide that the off-the-shelf
version of SalesForce still requires too many hours of manual
data manipulation -- you're paying overtime in the accounting
department because they need to use create spreadsheets every
month to sort and extract data that's specific to your company.
At this point, you hire a custom software developer to code
SalesForce to produce the reports your accounting department
needs. He'll code and test your customized version on Force.com
(owned by SalesForce) --a bare-bones software platform, or PaaS.
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service):
These are the virtual machines that developers love because they
provide a basic development environment in a push-button scalable
form: processing, storage and networking can all be sized to fit
the project almost instantaneously. There's no waiting for a
human to configure and network a new server to create more
storage space. And there's no large up-front hardware investment
necessary to expand a system because the fees are set up to
As a business owner, you won't need to get involved with the
details of cloud migration, PaaS or IaaS - especially once you
have your custom software developer on the project. Good
developers are lifelong learners and have a network of
professional contacts they can tap into for news about the latest
software trends. Your time will be freed to run your business and
manage customer satisfaction - which is the real goal of adding
custom software to your operations.
Copyright (c) 2011 Audre Hill
Audre Hill: To see a cloud computing infographic for a visual perspective,
check out http://boomcycle.com/how-smbs-use-saas-paas-iaas/.
Visit http://Boomcycle.com to find out more about how this
Los Angeles custom software development team can handle your
cloud computing needs and add value to your business.