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Cloud Computing Service Models
A look at the three different service models for cloud computing as defined by NIST

In this post I will look at the three different service models for cloud computing as defined by NIST. More specifically I will look at the management and operations overhead for each one of the models and compare it to the traditional on-premise model.

Traditional Model

Let's look at how things have been done in the past. Traditionally enterprises have been responsible for managing their own IT infrastructure as well as the software stack that runs their applications. For small companies that meant hiring polyglot employees with wide range of skills varying from low level networking to high level application support. For larger ones, that can afford more staff, it meant creating specialized teams responsible for only networking infrastructure, or only storage or servers and virtualization. However for lot of those enterprises the core business has never been managing IT infrastructure - the only thing they are interested in is to manage their line-of-business (LOB) apps.

Cloud Service Models

Here are just some of the tasks IT teams enterprises have been required to do in the past:

  • Build racks with servers and wire them into the network
  • Build storage arrays and wire them into the network
  • Configure routers
  • Configure firewalls and DMZ zones
  • Install operating system software on the servers
  • Create virtual machines (if virtualization is utilized)
  • Install operating system software on the virtual machines
  • Install databases, set up replication and backups
  • Install middleware used for hosting the application code
  • Patch and update operating system software
  • Patch and update databases
  • Patch and update middleware
  • Patch and update runtime
  • Install application software
  • Patch and update application software

Although long this is by no mean the complete list of tasks that IT personnel has been responsible for. From the list above only the last two (install application software and update application software) have been essential to the core business of the enterprise. In addition to the IT operational costs (OpEx) enterprises also incurred significant capital expenditures (CapEx) used to procure the necessary hardware.

More than a decade ago hosting providers recognized the need to help businesses with those tasks and allowed them to outsource the build-up of infrastructure, and concentrate on just managing their applications. Although hosting providers helped enterprises with OpEx and CapEx they still lacked some of the essential cloud characteristics like on-demand self-service, rapid elasticity and measured service as outlined in Essential Cloud Computing Characteristics.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Model
IaaS model was the first model that complies with NIST cloud computing characteristics. In essence it offers cloud computing environment consisting of virtual machines. It offers self-service portal where you can on-demand start a virtual machine with preferred operating system, it is broadly accessible, elastic (you can easily start identical virtual machine or shut down exiting one), it uses pool of virtual machines that are collocated on common hardware, and at the end it measures your usage of those virtual machines.

If you look at the picture above you will see that the IaaS model provides automation in the lower layers (up to the virtualization layer) of the application stack. What that means is that tasks like starting the virtual machine, adding it to the network, configuring the routing and the firewalls and attaching storage to it is automatically done by the automation software. The vendor that provides the service is also responsible for managing any hardware failures and service the underlying hardware.

As you have already noticed the IaaS model provides cloud services up to the virtualization layer of the application stack. However as a consumer of the IaaS service you are still responsible for managing the virtual machine. Hence you are still responsible for patching and updating the operating system on the VM, installing and maintaining any databases or middleware that your application uses in addition to maintaining your actual application.

IaaS is very similar to the traditional hosting model with the added benefits of self-service, elasticity and metering.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Model
With PaaS you have much less things to worry about. As you can see from the picture the whole stack needed for your application is managed by the vendor. Your only responsibilities are your application and the data your application uses. In addition to the tasks managed in IaaS case the vendor (or in the case of private PaaS the platform owner) is also responsible for patching and updating the operating system, installing and maintaining the middleware as well as the runtime your application uses.

One important thing that you need to be aware of when using PaaS is that the automatic updates the vendor does may sometimes have negative impact on your application. Why is that? Very often OS and middleware vendors do incompatible changes between versions of their software. If your application depends on any underlying OS and middleware functionality it may break between platform updates. And because you are not in control of those updates you may end up with your application being down.

The premise of PaaS though is not only to offer maintenance free application stack but also additional services that you can utilize in your application. Very often PaaS providers are exposing middleware and databases as services and abstract the connectivity to those through APIs in order to free up developers from the need to locate the actual systems. Additional services can be authentication and authorization, video encoding, location based services etc. Using the PaaS services will allow you to abstract your applications from the underlying stack and as long as the APIs are kept intact it will be protected from failures between platform updates.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Model
SaaS is the model with the highest abstraction and offers the most maintenance free option. As a SaaS consumer you are just using the software offered by the vendor. As depicted on the picture the whole stack is maintained by the vendor. This includes also updates for the application as well as application data management. SaaS model is very similar to the off-the-shelf software model where you go and buy the CD, install the software and start using it.

Traditionally one of the hardest problems application developers had to deal with was the data migration between different versions. SaaS vendors are also responsible for migrating your data and keeping it consistent. Similar to the off-the-shelf software model you can rely that you can access and read your data once you upgrade to a new version.

The SaaS model is the most resource-efficient model because it utilizes application multi-tenancy. What this means is that the same application instance handles multiple user-organizations. This is good for both the vendor and the customer because better resource utilization brings the maintenance costs down and hence the price for the services down. On the other side though tenant data is comingled and there is the security risk of one tenant accidentally getting access to another tenant's data.

Although not exhaustive the cloud computing service models explanation above should be enough to kick-start your initial discussion about your cloud strategy.

Read the original blog entry...

About Toddy Mladenov

Toddy Mladenov has more than 15 years experience in software development and technology consulting at companies like Microsoft, SAP and 3Com. Currently he is a CTO of Agitare Technologies, Inc. - a boutique consulting company that specializes in Cloud Computing and Big Data Solutions. Before Agitare Tech Toddy spent few years with PaaS startup Apprenda and more than six years working on Microsft's cloud computing platform Windows Azure, Windows Client and MSN/Windows Live. During his career at Microsoft he managed different aspects of the software development process for Windows Azure and Windows Services. He also evangelized Microsoft cloud services among open source communities like PHP and Java. In the past he developed enterprise software for German's software giant SAP and several startups in Europe, and managed the technical sales for 3Com in the Balkan region.

With his broad industry experience, international background and end-user point of view Toddy has an unique approach towards technology. He believes that technology should be develop to improve people's lives and is eager to share his knowledge in topics like cloud computing, mobile and web development.



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Cloud Expo - Cloud Looms Large on SYS-CON.TV


Cloud Expo 2013 East Opening Keynote by IBM
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Top Stories for Cloud Expo 2012 East

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New York City Expo Floor Plan Revealed
Cloud Expo New York
[June 11-14, 2012]

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Introducing Big Data Expo
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There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Get a jump on that rapidly evolving trend at Big Data Expo, which we are introducing in June at
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Cloud Expo was a fantastic event for CSS Corp - we easily exceeded our objectives for engaging with clients and prospects."
AHMAR ABBAS
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With our launch at Cloud Expo, we successfully transformed the company from a relatively unknown European player into the dominant player in the market. Our competitors were taken by surprise and just blown away. We got a huge number of really high quality leads..."
PETE MALCOLM
CEO, Abiquo
 
We were extremely pleased with Cloud Expo this year - I’d say it exceeded expectations all around. This is the same info we got from partners who attended as well. Nice job!"
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@CloudExpo Blogs
Tech Giant Amazon recently announced that it will pay writers only for the pages that are actually read rather that for the purchase of an entire book. This is probably the biggest change that the world of publishing has ever seen, right after the invention of the printing press maybe, that fundamentally changes how books are consumed. This exactly is the Consumption Cloud Economy! The concept of offering services and solutions in a way where they are consumed to the best of capabilities, where end users pay only for what they use and where vendors and suppliers are paid only for what is actu...
Okay, kids. It's time we had "that talk". You know the one, the one you've been whispering about with your friends but heretofore were afraid to actually ask about because of course everyone else knows about it and you didn't want to appear, well, not cool by admitting you didn't really know. Except they don't, or at least if they do, they aren't talking about it either. And it's really past time we talked about taking the right precautions when using the cloud. You know, how to protect your apps in the cloud from infection and attack. Yes, today we're finally going to talk about appli...
Last month I spoke at the Conversion Conference, and after my talk I met a developer who had been tasked with single handedly making her company’s site faster. We talked for quite a while, and she expressed good-humored frustration at the vagueness of this directive. Some of the things we talked about: What does “faster” mean? Who defines “fast” within an organization?
The combined impact of the consumerization of technology, cloud, mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT) is ushering in a new era of information management that will change the face of ECM (Enterprise Content Management) as we know it. Cloud, mobile and IoT together have accelerated a mighty upheaval in the technology landscape as more content enters the enterprise than ever before – leaving enterprises struggling to manage it effectively. The modern ECM platform is required to scan, store data, manage work flow, business process and compliance. Mobile, Analytics, Cloud and Collaborative (MA...
Caesars Entertainment Corp. is transforming supplier discovery and improving supplier diversity through collaboration across cloud-based services and open business networks. The next BriefingsDirect business trends interview focuses on Caesars Entertainment Corp. and how they're transforming supplier discovery and improving their supplier diversity through collaboration across cloud-based services and open business networks. Learn from Caesars' best practices on how they expand diversity across their supply chain and how that’s been accomplished using Ariba Discovery. We’ll hear first-hand ...
SecuritySolutionsWatch.com: Thank you for joining us today, Derek. Can you please give us an overview of your background? Derek Gabbard: It’s a pleasure to be with you today. Before coming to SRC and working to help launch FourV Systems, I worked in the information and network security world for almost 20 years. I was a founder of Lookingglass Cyber Solutions, a cyber-threat intelligence product company, and spent a number of years working at the Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) in the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. I got my start in this career field in...
Where’s my data? Not in the ‘where did I leave my glasses’ sort of way, but rather thinking of data resilience, a key concern for many businesses putting their data and applications in the cloud. It’s especially crucial in light of the recent EMC Global Data Protection Index, which showed that almost two thirds of companies surveyed suffered disruption due to data loss and unplanned downtime—losing as much as $1.7 trillion.” That’s a staggering number, larger than the GDP of many countries. That’s why, when assessing their operational problems – be that those caused by people (e.g. users de...
Almost every functional department in a business is thinking about how the cloud applies to them. The benefits are clear – it is easier for geographically diverse teams to access and collaborate over data, it is convenient for users, and it can cost far less. When it comes to performance testing, the benefits of the cloud are very compelling. All that load you need to generate to truly test your application can come from external, elastic, on-demand sources. You don’t have to build it out yourself. However, you may also perceive some challenges that might prevent you from conducting load test...
In this final blog on the DevOps CALMS model, we end on S for Sharing. Now I have to be honest, the first time I saw the CALMS model I initially questioned whether ‘Sharing' was really needed. I mean, surely with the right ‘Culture', then this would ensure sharing anyway? Even in my blog on culture I mentioned the need to shift from organizational silos to a collaborative model - which must include sharing, right? Well yes it does, but sharing (or collaboration) is really the core value of DevOps adoption. Without sharing, you can forget about having the right culture, your employees acceptin...
Redcentric PLC used an advanced configuration database approach to scale management of some 10,000 devices across two disparate companies and made them accessible as a single system. The next BriefingsDirect performance management discussion uncovers how Redcentric PLC in the UK tackled a major network management project due to a business merger. We'll hear how Redcentric used an advanced configuration database approach to scale management of some 10,000 devices across two disparate companies and made them accessible as a single system.
People have re-entered the picture in discussions about cloud computing. This was my primary takeaway from this year's Cloud Expo East in New York, an event for which I serve as Conference Chair. Over three days, we hosted thousands of delegates attending sessions from more than 150 speakers, including two prominent women as keynoters, and a range of topics that covered not only enterprise cloud in general, but microservices and containers, Big Data and the IoT, WebRTC, software-defined most-anything, an emerging DevOps culture...and people. People, Process, & Technology People, process, ...
I just read a new booklet from O’Reilly called The Software Paradox by Stephen O’Grady. You can access it here. Here is a direct quote: “This is the Software Paradox: the most powerful disruptor we have ever seen and the creator of multibillion-dollar net new markets is being commercially devalued, daily. Just as the technology industry was firmly convinced in 1981 that the money was in hardware, not software, the industry today is largely built on the assumption that the real revenue is in software. The evidence, however, suggests that software is less valuable—in the commercial sense—than ...
A panel of experts examines how The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum standards and accreditation activities enhance the security of global supply chains and improve the integrity of openly available IT products and components.
Collaboration is vital to a DevOps ethos that promotes agile deployment. The variety of people, tools and workloads often combine for a chaotic application release cycle with no running thread. Automation can be the common denominator that binds the process together. Automation documents every step of each release whilst providing a single architecture: a high-level summary of the entire project that can be accessed by every staff member involved. This helps to delineate relationships between complex processes and promotes the blurring of responsibilities that DevOps is based on.
"A lot of IoT projects in a lot of enterprises have been treated like skunkworks for a while, and we have finally started to cross that threshold where they are considered to be a critical part of an enterprise's strategy," noted Brendan O'Brien, Chief Evangelist and Co-founder at Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
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Past SYS-CON Events
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2011west.sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo East
cloudcexpo
2011east.sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2010west.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo West
virtualization
2010west.sys-con.com
    Cloud Expo Europe
cloudexpoeurope2010.
sys-con.com

 
    Cloud Expo East
cloudcomputingexpo
2010east.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo East
virtualizationconference
2010east.sys-con.com
    Cloud Expo West
cloudcomputingexpo
2009west.sys-con.com

 
    Virtualization Expo West
virtualizationconference
2009west.sys-con.com
    GovIT Expo
govitexpo.com
 
    Cloud Expo Europe
cloudexpoeurope2009.sys-con.com
 

Cloud Expo 2011 Allstar Conference Faculty

S.F.S.
Dell

Singer
NRO

Pereyra
Oracle

Ryan
OpSource

Butte
PwC

Leone
Oracle

Riley
AWS

Varia
AWS

Lye
Oracle

O'Connor
AppZero

Crandell
RightScale

Nucci
Dell Boomi

Hillier
CiRBA

Morrison
Layer 7 Tech

Robbins
NYT

Schwarz
Oracle

What The Enterprise IT World Says About Cloud Expo
 
"We had extremely positive feedback from both customers and prospects that attended the show and saw live demos of NaviSite's enterprise cloud based services."
  –William Toll
Sr. Director, Marketing & Strategic Alliances
Navisite
 


 
"More and better leads than ever expected! I have 4-6 follow ups personally."
  –Richard Wellner
Chief Scientist
Univa UD
 


 
"Good crowd, good questions. The event looked very successful."
  –Simon Crosby
CTO
Citrix Systems
 


 
"It's the largest cloud computing conference I've ever seen."
  –David Linthicum
CTO
Brick Group