Historically, companies used to maintain their systems and networks in their own data centers or colocation facilities. Advancements in virtualization technology and Internet network speeds made it possible to host companies’ infrastructure and applications on remote, shared data centers. These changes enabled them to outsource partially or completely their infrastructure management or application development and focus on their primary business.
Because of the benefits, more and more companies maintain their applications and infrastructure in the cloud. The term cloud refers to infrastructure or software maintained by a provider. There are several types of cloud service providers, including:
- Infrastructure-as a-Services (IaaS) – IaaS provides the company with a remote data center and remotely built virtual networks, servers, and other infrastructure components. IaaS providers include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Services (GCS). There are other companies providing such services but these three providers are the largest.
- Platform-as-a-Services (PaaS) – PaaS providers add another layer on the top of IaaS and provide platforms that can be customized by customers to meet their needs. PaaS providers include AWS, Aure, GCP, Salesforce, VMware, and many others.
- Software-as-a-Services (SaaS) – SaaS are shared applications that are hosted online. There are many examples of such services, including G Suite, Office 365, QuickBooks, Dropbox, etc.