Clouds Have Layers

For those of you getting into the Cloud Computing world, the established hierarchy of the cloud these days is as follows:
Cloud Layers

SaaS has been around for many years – first known as ASP (application service provider) in the 1990’s.  The most famous has been’s CRM/SFA application suite.  In fact, any application delivered over the internet and hosted remotely can be called SaaS – including ADP’s hosted payroll services, QuickBooks online, and tens of thousands of applications from thousands of vendors.

PaaS is a relatively new phenomenon, popularized again by when they opened up their platform through their offerings.  This allows you to use their underlying data models and constructs to write your own applications which they host.

Finally, and most excitingly, Amazon with their AWS offerings has created this new category of virtualized data center infrastructure.  Remote hosting has been around forever, but Amazon has taken it way beyond this.   Google’s AppEngine, Microsoft’s Azure and RackSpace’s Mosso are also IaaS offerings.  And there are many more to come.  

All of this reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from Shrek…

4 thoughts on “Clouds Have Layers

  1. Jake Burns says:

    PaaS and SaaS are definitely getting hot as evidenced by the number of articles posted like the one above on a daily basis.

  2. samj says:

    Actually I would suggest the inverse is true… the interest and value increases as you move *up*, not *down*. Cloud infrastructure services will rapidly become boring, platforms will be all the rage for a while and then it will be all about software again and “cloud” will fade off into the background.Sam

    • Sam – in the long run I fully agree. In fact, I believe that the cloud will be the default infrastructure for most applications in the future, and internal deployment will be the exception. But that's a fairly long time off… So for the next 5-10 years the cloud will be in the foreground.

  3. […] The “what is the cloud” debate continues unabated. I’m a bit of a purist on this issue and am actually going to contradict a bit of what I said in my earlier post “Clouds have Layers.” […]

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