Cloud computing solutions: Industry hype and different types

Cloud computing is a huge buzzword in information technology. In fact, Gartner senior analyst Ben Pring recently noted that cloud computing has “become the phrase du jour.”

As a result of growing customer interest in the cloud and related technologies, the managed services market is poised for significant growth. A new Research and Markets study stated that this industry, which includes cloud computing solution providers, will increase from $142.75 billion currently to $256.05 billion by 2018.

However, many disagree about what exactly cloud computing solutions are and how to leverage them for infrastructure design, productivity and success.

InfoWorld contributors Eric Knorr and Galen Gruman said cloud computing can refer to different scenarios, including virtual servers available online. Others in the field stated that anything someone utilizes outside their network firewall is considered to be “in the cloud.” The phrase represents any subscription-based or pay-per-use service which extends IT’s existing abilities over the Internet in real time.

Cloud computing categories
Such a broad definition can be divided into several subsections to illustrate the variety of services and uses available via cloud computing solutions. One type of cloud computing involves software as a service, which provides a single application to multiple customers via the Web. This type of solution often utilizes a multitenant infrastructure design, according to Knorr and Gruman. For service providers in particular, this type of cloud computing solution means they can focus their efforts on maintaining the single app. Additionally, customers benefit from the savings incurred from a lack of upfront investment in servers and software licensing.

Service providers have also utilized cloud computing capabilities to deliver APIs, allowing developers to operate over the Internet. This option comes as an alternative to an all-encompassing application.

Utility computing is another form of cloud computing which has been previously widely utilized. This type of cloud computing is receiving new attention from several service providers, especially those now offering on demand access to IT and virtual servers for data storage. In addition, utility cloud computing solutions may take the place of other configurations in the future.

“Early enterprise adopters mainly use utility computing for supplemental, non-mission-critical needs, but one day, they may replace parts of the data center,” said Knorr and Gruman.

Xbox’s unique use of cloud computing solutions
In one unique instance, cloud computing solutions helped game developers at Xbox create larger games than what traditional hardware could support, according to Gizmodo. The company recently announced a plan to add 300,000 cloud servers to their repertoire to increase game capabilities as well as boost speeds for GPU and CPU heavy tasks.

Such technology will enable game developers to create game which evolve over time, stated Gizmodo. For example, expansion packs for purchased games could become a thing of the past, as games could be added to or changed endlessly within such an environment.

“It could change the way developers thing about their franchises and their intellectual property,” Xbox Live lead programmer John Bruno told Gizmodo.

Those looking to implement cloud computing solutions can turn to FlexITy, a leader in managed IT services.