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A Cloud Computing Crash Course

You’ve heard about the Cloud and you have an idea what it means.  But do you really?

Platform as a Service. Desktop Virtualization. Application Service Providers. Virtual Private Servers. Grid Computing. Software as a Service. Utility Computing. Remote Backup Services. Infrastructure as a Service. Yes, all these terms are related to the cloud or even dependent on it, but they are by no means synonymous or definitive of Cloud Computing.

Defining the Cloud

The challenge is that the term Cloud Computing has evolved along with the technology enabling it. The ubiquity of inexpensive broadband has driven some significant trends.  Cloud Computing is the convergence of three of these trends:

  1. Software as a Service (SaaS) – Applications are available on a subscription basis and on demand.
  2. Virtualization – Applications can be separate from the infrastructure running them.
  3. Utility Computing – Computer resources (storage, services and computing) are delivered as a metered service, similar to a public utility such as water or electricity.

So Cloud Computing is a service where you pay only for the computing resources you use. More formally, Cloud Computing may be defined as a network-based, distributed computing environment where resources are allocated to deliver on-demand applications.

Cloud Characteristics

By its very nature, Cloud Computing will have the following characteristics:

  1. Scalability – The ability to dynamically expand on demand.
  2. High Availability – Able to accommodated variable workloads and adapt for multiple points of failure.
  3. Agility – Can easily and rapidly adapt to changing requirements.
  4. Multi-Tenancy – Resources are distributed across a pool of users.
  5. Load Balancing – Featuring the ability to balance workloads across virtual machines.

Top 5 Benefits of the Cloud

When you visit a new city, you rent a hotel room for the night; you don’t buy a house there. When you fly from San Francisco to Miami, you buy a plane ticket; not a Leer jet.  Well, most of us don’t, anyway.

So Cloud Computing is the same concept.  Pay for what you need; nothing more, nothing less.

  1. Reduced Costs – Pay only for what you need. Lower cost of entry and infrastructure investment.
  2. Uptime – High availability automatic failover prevents costly hardware downtime.
  3. Portability – Easily migrate from one type of cloud to another.
  4. Agility – Scale up or down as needed. Conduct live migrations with imperceptible downtime.
  5. Lower Maintenance – You don’t have to manage your own network or physical machines.

What does Cloud Hosting mean?

There are three basic levels of cloud computing:

  1. Software as a Service (SaaS) –  As mentioned earlier, SaaS is where applications are available on a subscription basis and on demand.
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS) –  This is the delivery of a computing platform and solution stack over the Internet. PaaS facilitates deployment of applications without the cost and complexity of owning and managing the underlying hardware and software required. So the entire life cycle of building, hosting and delivering complex web applications is delivered via the Cloud, not just a single or a set of software applications.
  3. Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) –  IaaS is the delivery of a comprehensive computer infrastructure as a service, such as a platform virtualization environment along with block storage and networking. Instead of purchasing servers, software, data-center space or network equipment, clients are able to purchase these resources as a fully outsourced service on a utility computing basis. This means the cost will reflect the amount of resources consumed.

Therefore, cloud hosting falls into the IaaS category as you are provided your own virtualized dedicated server or virtualized site. While many companies market cloud hosting, the actual offerings vary widely. At Applied Innovations, we believe cloud hosting must offer the following minimum attributes:

  • On-demand resource scaling
  • High availability automatic failover
  • Live migration
  • Virtualized portability

The benefits of cloud hosting are significant. By moving to the cloud, you can easily and quickly scale to meet changing business needs, rest assured knowing you have ultimate redundancy, migrate your site in the cluster without downtime, and convert to a private cloud with ease. And by the very nature of cloud hosting, you don’t have to be concerned with aging hardware, dedicated server hardware failures, or paying for an unnecessarily robust environment built in anticipation of next year’s growth.

What does this mean to Applied Innovations customers?

Applied Innovations offers several cloud hosting solutions, and we make it seamless to migrate to the cloud.   If you have a current dedicated hosting plan with AppliedI, we can perform a Physical-to-Virtual (P2V) migration. And for a limited time, we’re offering a FREE assessment of the advantages you may see with a migration to the cloud, plus a FREE 2-hour P2V for clients who decide to move. In many cases, our clients experience immediate cost savings over their current dedicated environment once they have adopted cloud hosting.


About the Author: Lyza Swearingen Latham is president of Acute Visibility | BMO.  Latham is a marketing communications specialist that helps her clients to transform complex concepts into actionable information. Acute Visibility|BMO specializes in Brand Marketing Optimization – everything that goes into helping companies be found, recognized and profitable: Website Design, User Interface and User Experience Analysis, SEO, Social Media, Traditional Advertising, Customer Relationship Management, Branding, Events, Product Launches and maximizing conversion rates and ROI. Contact us at

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