A Flavorful Foundation: Demystifying the Cloud


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A Flavorful Foundation: Demystifying the Cloud

Just like clouds in the sky, the digital cloud comes in many “flavors.” It encompasses a vast range of technologies and services such as remote storage, data processing, and virtual infrastructure.

End-users are on pace to spend $180 billion in 2015 on the cloud. (1)

Who Knows?

Cloud computing makes it easier to implement technologies without knowing how they work. In one 2012 survey: (2)

3 in 10 respondents didn’t know what “the cloud” was. (2)

Only 16% knew the correct answer (2)

Even still, 95% used cloud technologies daily. (2)

A Cloud for All Seasons
Three important flavors are game changers in understanding how to approach the cloud:

Software As A Service – SAAS

SAAS applications are designed for end-users and deployed online, like email, productivity or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. SAAS is (3):

  • On-demand and remotely available. (3)
  • Centrally managed and maintained. (3)
  • Delivered in a “one to many” model. (3)
  • May be integrated via API (Application Programming Interfaces) (3)

Significant in SAAS:

Salesforce: First in CRM with over 2.5 million users.(1,4)

Microsoft: Estimated 630 billion business users.(5)

Intuit: 4 million small business users.(5)

Appropriately Soft

SAAS is suited for:

  • Email and productivity.(3)
  • Software to manage customer interactions.(3)
  • High availability services.(3)
  • Accounting and billing software.(3)

Platform As A Service – PAAS

PAAS incorporates middleware – software used to facilitate deployment of applications. Used for rapid prototyping and low-maintenance development, PAAS:

  • Is a foundation for web applications.(3)
  • Consists of web-based UI creation tools.(3)
  • Enables rapid deployment of apps and services.(3)
  • Integrates with common web services, databases, and technologies.(3)

Popular PAAS Platforms:

Salesforce: Over 650 million data transactions per day. (6)

Google: App engine has over 200,000 developers (6)

Cloud Foundry: Open source PAAS actively maintained by 2,100 developers.(6)

Take a PAAS

Consider Platform As A Service if you:

  • Value rapid deployment.(3)
  • Work in teams.(3)
  • Use proprietary data sources.(3)
  • Require accessibility by non-developers.(7)

Infrastructure as a Service – IAAS

Infrastructure As A Service provides computing resources like storage and server bandwidth on-demand. IAAS:

  • Is scalable resources distributed as a service.(3)
  • Is highly available through automation.(3)
  • Uses a utility pricing model.(3)
  • Sacrifices convenience of SAAS and PAAS for flexibility.(8)

Metered Microprocessors – IAAS products are operational expenses for tax purposes.

Shifting IT from assets to expenditures is a major influence in IAAS adoption.(3,9)

IAAS by the numbers:

IBM: Owns 35% of the enterprise market share.(10)

Amazon Web Services: 5 times larger than its biggest competitor.(11)

Google Cloud: 14 minutes of downtime in all of 2014(.11)

Hard Case

When is IAAS the right choice?

  • Unpredictable demand.(3)
  • Avoid infrastructure spending.(3)
  • Short term infrastructure.(3)
  • When migrating into the cloud.(12)

Everyone Else is Doing It

Organizations use an average of 545 cloud-based services. (1)

Cloud spending is growing at a rate of 30%. (15)

According to a 2015 survey:

  • 93% of enterprises polled use the cloud for business.(13)
  • 55% of companies’ non-cloud infrastructure was cloud API-friendly. (13)
  • 82 percent of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.(13)
  • 7 in 10 enterprises were using IAAS. (14)
  • Most PAAS subscribers also use IAAS.(13)

UP: By 2018, SAAS Cloud Workloads will hold 59% of the growing cloud marketplace .(15)

SAAS 2015 : 41% (15)

DOWN: IAAS cloud workloads in 2013: 44% (15)

IAAS 2018 (projection): 28% (15)

Despite losing market share, the IAAS industry will nearly double in size by 2018 (15)

Making the Right Choice

  • Calculate the net cost or benefit of any transition to the cloud. (16)
  • Be mindful of security and risk analysis (16)
  • Vet mission critical service providers carefully. (16)
  • Invest in services that compliment your ability to support, or not support them internally. (16)


1. http://siliconangle.com/blog/2014/01/27/20-cloud-computing-statistics-tc0114
2. http://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2012/08/29/most-americans-dont-understand-cloud-computing-does-it-really-matter
3. http://www.rackspace.com/knowledge_center/whitepaper/understanding-the-cloud-computing-stack-saas-paas-iaas
4. https://www.quora.com/Who-are-the-top-SaaS-companies-in-the-world-by-revenues
5. http://www.cbronline.com/news/cloud/aas/head-in-the-clouds-top-10-saas-providers-for-business-4491647
6. http://www.networkworld.com/article/2288002/cloud-computing/10-most-powerful-paas-companies.html
7. http://www.interoute.com/what-paas
8. https://apprenda.com/library/paas/iaas-paas-saas-explained-compared
9. http://www.securityweek.com/three-categories-cloud-computing-whats-your-flavor
10. http://www.cloudcomputing-news.net/news/2014/may/13/idc-claims-ibm-vendor-choice-us-enterprise-iaas-market/
11. http://www.networkworld.com/article/2866950/cloud-computing/which-cloud-providers-had-the-best-uptime-last-year.html
12. http://cloudtweaks.com/2013/01/paas-and-iaas-rising-champions-of-cloud-computing/
13 .http://www.forbes.com/sites/benkepes/2015/03/04/new-stats-from-the-state-of-cloud-report/
14. http://www.rightscale.com/blog/cloud-industry-insights/iaas-vs-paas-2015-cloud-trends-state-cloud-survey
15. http://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2015/01/24/roundup-of-cloud-computing-forecasts-and-market-estimates-2015/
16. http://www.zdnet.com/article/cloud-computing-demystifying-iaas-paas-and-saas/