Types Of Cloud Computing (With Definitions And Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 28 September 2022 | Published 11 May 2022

Updated 28 September 2022

Published 11 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you want to access IT resources without direct management, you may benefit from cloud computing. Cloud computing allows you to avail computing services such as storage, networking and analytics on-demand without having to buy, own or maintain physical data centres and servers. It is important to understand the different types of cloud computing services and models available if you want to implement cloud computing into a business's processes. In this article, we discuss what cloud computing is, learn the different types of cloud computing services available and understand how to decide which one suits you the best.

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What Is Cloud Computing?

Before understanding the varieties of cloud computing, it can be beneficial to understand what cloud computing is. The term cloud in cloud computing refers to an interactive computing facility that provides remote storage and computing services over the Internet. Cloud computing is the distribution of IT resources over the cloud. Instead of having local servers and databases, you can avail them on an as-needed basis from a cloud service provider on a pay-as-you-go basis, which means you pay only for the services that you employ.

Common Types Of Cloud Computing Models

Below are the three main types of cloud computing models:

Public cloud

The public cloud is a type of cloud computing that is provided publicly by a third-party vendor over the internet. In the public cloud computing model, the cloud service provider owns and manages all the resources, such as the hardware, software and other supporting infrastructure. Several users, known as tenants, share these resources.

The public cloud can either be free of charge or offered as a paid subscription, in which the users pay only for the resources that they employ and the duration during which they employ them. This type of cloud computing is ideal for small and medium businesses with a small budget. Since several users share the public cloud, it is not as secure and not customisable.

Private cloud

Unlike the public cloud, the private cloud is a type of cloud computing in which only a single business or organisation uses all the resources. The cloud infrastructure can either be physically located on the premise of the organisation or be managed externally by a third-party vendor.

Also known as an internal cloud or a corporate cloud, a private cloud offers several benefits, such as a tailored computed approach owing to complete control over the infrastructure, higher levels of security and privacy. This model, however, costs more because it requires physical space and hardware. The user has to buy, build, maintain and periodically upgrade the infrastructure.

Hybrid cloud

The hybrid type of cloud computing incorporates the characteristics of both private and public clouds. It allows organisations to combine their in-house infrastructure with a public cloud, thus making it more scalable and making operation flexible.

Since the hybrid cloud provides the benefits of both public and private clouds, organisations can customise it as per their needs. For example, they can use the private cloud to store sensitive data while using the public cloud for normal collaboration or sharing. They can also use the public cloud to meet temporary needs that cannot be addressed by the private cloud. With the hybrid cloud, organisations can avoid additional time and money that would otherwise go into buying, installing and maintaining additional infrastructure that they may not later need.

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Additional Kinds Of Cloud Computing

Apart from the three main kinds of cloud computing, there are also several other models, such as community cloud, distributed cloud, multi-cloud, poly cloud, big data cloud and HPC cloud. Here are some of the types:

Community cloud

This type of cloud computing is an infrastructure that is shared by a community of users from the same industry or those with a shared objective. It can be managed either internally or by a third-party vendor and hosted internally or externally. All the members of the community share the cost when leasing the system.

Distributed cloud

The distributed cloud is made up of infrastructure spread across distributed locations that are connected to a single network. It provides on-demand scaling of computing and storage while making it possible to move it closer to wherever required for improving performance. It also allows you to meet specific requirements for performance, redundancy and regulations that you may have.

Multi-cloud

In the multi-cloud model of cloud computing, an organisation uses multiple cloud service providers to decrease dependency on a single provider, promote flexibility and protect against calamities. The key difference between multi-cloud and hybrid cloud is that multi-cloud employs multiple services instead of multiple models. A multi-cloud model offers not only multiple options to choose from but also decreases reliance on a single provider.

High-performing computing (HPC) cloud

The HPC cloud models provide services for high-performing computing devices and applications to perform complex tasks, such as weather forecasting. It provides you with adequate data storage and server power to ensure that the devices run efficiently while offering the services you need. Fields such as research, medicine and entertainment, among others, can greatly benefit from this type of cloud computing model.

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Cloud Computing Services

Below are four different clouding computing service models through which cloud computing providers offer their services:

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

As the name suggests, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a type of cloud computing service in which the service provider offers and manages the basic infrastructure required for setting up a cloud such as servers, storage, networking, and virtualisation over the Internet through an API or dashboard on a pay-as-you-go basis.

In the IaaS model, you can manage the operating system, data, apps and middleware, while the service provider manages the rest. It helps you reduce maintenance of on-premise resources, reduce your cost and give you the flexibility to scale your system up or down based on your needs. However, if an outage occurs, then you may not be able to access your data until the system is back online.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

In a Platform as a Service (PaaS) model of cloud computing, in addition to offering the basic infrastructure, the cloud service provider also leases resources such as operating systems, middleware, and database management systems on a pay-as-go basis.

The PaaS model allows you to avert the often complex and costly process of buying and managing software licenses. You can focus on developing and managing the application that you develop using it and the data on which it relies. Compatibility issues can, however, occur since every element of your existing infrastructure may not be cloud-enabled.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

The Software as a Service (SaaS) model is a type of cloud computing model in which the service provider offers a software application to its user on a subscription basis over the Internet. The user can access the application via a web browser using a unique username and a password.

The provider can lease applications, such as productivity software, business applications, and customer relationship management (CRM) applications under the SaaS model. This type of cloud computing removes the requirement to instal the application locally on individual computers. Control is limited in this model since both the server and software are being leased by a third-party vendor.

Function as a Service (FaaS)

Function as a Service (FaaS) or serverless computing is a type of cloud computing model in which the service provider takes care of the servers on behalf of its customers in addition to providing the benefits of the other types of cloud computing models. It exempts them from building, renting or purchasing servers for the code to operate. In this model, users pay for the services they employ only when they are actively using them.

Tips For Choosing The Right Type Of Cloud Computing Model

Follow these tips for selecting the type of cloud computing model that suits your business the best:

Evaluate your computing needs

Assess the needs of the business. Different deployment models and services may serve certain needs better than others. For example, if you develop software applications, then the PaaS or server-less model can provide you with the flexibility to focus on testing your apps while not having to worry about the infrastructure.

Assess your budget

Evaluate how much you are willing to spend on setting up a cloud computing system. If you are running on a tight budget, then a system that offers shared resources, as is the case in a public cloud, may be a good option. However, if data privacy and security are your top-most priority, choosing a private cloud may be a better option. It may be costlier than the other models but would provide you with increased security and more control.

Gauge your compliance standards

Consider the industry standards that the business needs to comply with. For example, some industries have strict regulations regarding the handling of data. In such a case, a private cloud model would be a good option.


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