The cloud was born from the ubiquity of virtualization, the movement to Web hosting, and Internet that’s available at the speed of light. More enterprises are considering cloud computing to reduce CAPEX and lower maintenance costs.

But what really is the cloud? My friend Rich Bruklis over at CloudReplica says, “Ask 10 people what the cloud is and you’ll get 12 different answers!”

Cloud services are based on a subscription model, so users only pay for what they consume. Consumption scales with your business, so you are using exactly as much as you need and no more.

So what are the three different types of cloud, and what are the pros and cons of each when it comes to enterprise computing?

3 Types of Cloud and Pros/Cons

To understand cloud, we must first consider the three types of cloud – Software as a Service (Saas), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas).

Three Types of Cloud Computing

Saas – Accessing applications from the Internet (online banking, Gmail).

Reduces your dependency on devices and the management that goes with them. Apps aren’t bound to the office closet (err data center) anymore.
Security is a concern for the enterprise. Applications are controlled by the provider and provide little to no customization.


– Creating applications from the Internet (Google App Engine, Salesforce

Applications can be developed, tested and deployed without the cost and complexity of purchasing and managing hardware, software and hosting. This allows for faster time-to-market and cost control. Services are delivered like a utility, so you only use and PAY for what you need.
Only suitable for Web applications as users have no authority over underlying infrastructure. This lack of control over data, physical location of hardware/software and availability make audit requirements and compliance impossible.


– Complete outsourcing of operations infrastructure, including storage, hardware, service and networking components (Amazon, Terremark, VMware).

Ability to spin-up servers on demand, quickly and cost-effectively. More control of systems with remote accessibility and complete flexibility.
An administrator is required with knowledge of systems/networking.

How is your company adopting cloud? What are your main concerns when considering one of the three types of cloud?