27 Apr 2011
"Cloud computing services" is the umbrella term for a growing number of virtual and managed technology services that have already split into cloud market sub-segments. It is nothing short of a paradigm shift in how IT services are delivered to organizations. The goal of a wide array of cloud service providers is to transition customers from a business model where they own and manage IT services themselves to a network-enabled, multi-tenant, usage-based, on-demand subscription model. And with that, enterprises can access applications, data, infrastructure or platforms via the provider's facilities.
For telecom operators in particular, cloud computing services have their roots in the applications services provider (ASP) market of the late 1990s, although the Internet has vastly changed their ability to deliver applications access over their networks. The cloud computing services market is in the early stages of development, and wild market hype has led to the creation of dozens of cloud computing definitions.
Cloud computing technologies and services continue to evolve with solutions available from providers that include computer manufacturers like Dell and Fujitsu; systems integrators like Accenture, CapGemini and HP/EDS; IT management consultants like IBM; telecom carriers like AT&T, Orange Business Systems and Verizon Business; and a new breed of transitional IT service providers (ITSPs) that include Google's App Engine and Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service.
The benefits for customers are expected to be about reduced cost (both CapEx and OpEx), flexibility, automated provisioning and energy efficiency thanks to leveraging economies of scale of the assets by the provider.
Cloud computing services are currently offered on three infrastructure types, with customers choosing the option within their comfort zone and budget, or a variety of options.
Public cloud: The original cloud computing model where a service provider offers resources over the Internet. These clouds are not on the customer's premises and may be located in the provider's' data center or collocation facility. Public cloud infrastructure is maintained by the cloud provider, not by the end users. Small and medium-sized businesses with less in-house infrastructure have largely been the early adopters of public cloud services, whereas large enterprises may test the public cloud with non-core business processes.