What cloud service providers typically offer?

By: Dale Vile, David and others Printer Friendly Format    

New ways of working and new architectures bring increasing levels of effectiveness to each succeeding generation of computer systems. Virtualization, for example, which helps with resource pooling, enables higher efficiencies because m ore work can be packed into fewer devices. Improvements are also being made in software engineering and computer operations, all aimed at creating more flexible systems.

Cloud computing builds on all of this and provides more opportunities to optimize the ways in which you deliver IT capability and business services. Some of the typical cloud services provided are:

1. Business application services: These deliver complete business functionality. Examples include Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
2. Hosted productivity tools: These deliver horizontal capability, ranging from desktop suites for end users, through to modelling, development and project management tools for analysts and developers. They quite often enable multi-user collaboration.
3. Hosted communications and social tools: spearheaded initially by hosted email and web conferencing, the number of services offered in this area has exploded to include full unified communications and/or social tools such as directories, blogs, wikis and social networking.
4. Trading community services: These facilitate the way in which customers and suppliers collaborate and transact electronically.
5. Plug0-in services: These are application elements which plug into or combine with existing applications to enhance or extend them. Examples include mapping, Credit card payment services and credit checking.
6. Operational services: This often overlooked but highly important category provides services concerned with online backup, archiving, security (such as email filtering) and even full-blown monitoring and management tools.
7. Application platform services: These provide development and runtime environments which enable organizations to build custom applications hosted online.
8. Utility services: These provide raw compute and storage resource to run your own software and store data.

Given the rate at which new ideas and service are emerging, this list is just a taste of the benefits and practicalities offered by cloud computing.

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