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Different Types of Cloud Computing – How to Identify Clouds

Posted 19 December 2016 / By Matt Carolan / General

395px-Cloud_computing_types.svgCloud computing has been continuing to be the leader in the provision of highly innovative solutions to businesses of all sizes and types. This is the computing platform that was established to erase the shortcomings of the non-cloud computing platforms. This explains why it is very popular today. As cloud computing continues to grow in popularity, different models are being developed along with new deployment plans. This has led to the emergence of new and improved models to meet the ever-growing demand for cloud computing solutions. Therefore, there are different types of clouds as the passage will highlight. In general, the description of a cloud may be based on the service being provided to clients or the location of the cloud. Both criteria may be used to describe or define cloud. On the basis of location, the following types can be identified. The description and classification of cloud on the basis of location is based on where the switch is pulled from.


Public cloud refers to a cloud computing infrastructure that is located on the premises belonging to a cloud computing company behind a particular cloud service. The location of the infrastructure remains distant from where the customer is, and thus, prevents the customer from being able to gain physical access to it. Public cloud is a shared cloud that is accessible to different users. However, it is often vulnerable to external attacks.


A private cloud is one that is owned by a single customer or organisation. In this case, the cloud infrastructure is solely controlled by a single user. This can be a group, organisation or individual. It may be controlled remotely or physically depending on the preferences and financial capacity of the user.


A hybrid cloud computing is a combination of both private and public cloud types. One type may be serving a certain purpose, while the other may also be serving another purpose. Therefore, emphasis is given to it depending on the purpose of the user. A good example is using a public cloud type for interacting with customers while storing data by using a private cloud.


A community cloud is characterised by the use of infrastructure that is shared between two or more organisations. This type of cloud computing is concerned with data management. The location of the community clouds can be on or off the premises.
If the description is based on a service, the following types can be identified.

Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS:

The cloud is used to provide an infrastructure or the cloud itself.

Platform as a Service or PaaS:

When a cloud is used to provide platform to customers, it is considered as a Platform as a Service or PaaS cloud computing.

Software as a Service or SaaS:

If a cloud is primarily used to provide software to customers then it is known as SaaS type.

Storage as a Service or SaaS:

In cases where cloud computing is used to provide the storage of data as a service, then it is Storage as a Service or SaaS.

Matt Carolan
Over 15 years working in the IT industry worldwide.
Today Matt is known for his work consulting in the Cloud Space as a Solution Architect with Softchoice. The opinions expressed by Matt represent his own and not those of Softchoice.

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The opinions expressed here represent personal views and not those of any employer. Thoughts and opinions change from time to time often due to having an open mind. Thoughts and opinions expressed in past posts may no longer be the same held by the poster today.