The term “cloud” or “cloud computing” refers to a technology that allows applications and services to be accessed over a network such as the Internet as opposed to being run locally. Services made available by means of this technology are computing capacity, data storage space or applications such as cloud telephone systems. The respective services are accessed via defined network protocols or interfaces. Many applications can be run directly from a browser. The actual IT resources for the services offered are located on a server or at a server farm connected to the network.

The various cloud service models

Various models are available depending on the services required. Software as a Service (SaaS) is the term used to describe applications installed and running on servers belonging to a third-party provider. In many cases, the applications are operated via a browser. In addition, all the data relating to the applications is stored at the provider’s computer centres. Platform as a Service (PaaS) makes a cloud-based development or production environment available to users for their own applications. Finally, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides users with virtual computer resources such as computing power, hard drive storage or server environments.

Differences between private and public clouds

A differentiation is made between private and public cloud services depending on where they are operated and how they are accessed. The public cloud makes services available to users over the public Internet. A private cloud, on the other hand, provides access to abstracted IT infrastructures on distinct hardware within certain types of organisation. Various combination models are also available, such as hybrid, virtual private or community cloud computing.

Typical application: the telephone system

A typical application for the technology described above is the cloud telephone system. It offers users the standard features of a telephone system without the need for any local software or hardware. The only prerequisite for using network telephone services is a sufficiently fast Internet connection. Telephone systems of this kind are easily scalable and can be used from any location with Internet access.

Further information

Software as a Service

Software as a Service provides users with access to software that is installed on a network and does not need to be installed locally. Like Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service...

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