Contact FutureLearn for Support
Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip to 0 minutes and 1 secondSo in cloud computing, what makes a huge difference is what is it that we are provisioning, that we are renting from the cloud provider. And this is done, this is giving rise to typology of the cloud computing. And it is always done like AAS, stands As A Service. And the question is what we put in front of the AAS. That first letter or first set of letters will tell us what is it that we are dealing with. Now, the car metaphor comes in very handy to understand that. So purchasing your IT, having your IT in house is the same as buying a car. OK.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 secondsSo what happens if you are in a different country and you need to get to the airport? Well, you take a taxi, you take a bus, but you almost never consider buying a car, at least I don't know anyone who would consider that. So we don't own it, we just want that service to get to the airport. Now, this corresponds to what we call software as a service because it is just a tool to the task that we are renting for that amount of time. There is a next level when it is a little bit bigger kind of thing. And it is called platform as a service. The platform is something on which you are running your apps.

Skip to 1 minute and 26 secondsSo we could say, for example, that if you have large organisation which has an army of salespeople or if you are the police force, then you will need your car fleet. OK. So there are some occasions when you want to own it. However, normally for that similar kind of use, so you need a car for a week or two, you just rent one. You don't buy one for that amount of time. So this corresponds roughly to the platform as a service. Now, the third and even deeper level of what you are renting is called infrastructure as a service. Now, that would mean something that we never do in terms of the cars.

Skip to 2 minutes and 16 secondsIt would mean that we are buying our own road. So think about we want to go to the airport, you will build a road and you will have your car manufacturing company and you will have your own car. That does not exist, isn't it? So the infrastructure is never purchased in terms of the car industry. However, we want our servers in our organisation very often. Now, this does not mean that occasionally we will not have a car manufactured just for us, only it very rarely happens. But if you, for example, need to transport a special crane which is used in building a 100-story building, then you will need a special vehicle that can transport that.

Skip to 3 minutes and 4 secondsOr if you want to transport a missile or something, then you will need something like that. Of course, it does not mean that you will try to put together something in-house. So as I know quite a lot of people are trying to do that with computers, but it means that you will hire the best car manufacturer in the world to purpose-build a vehicle for you. And that is also happening in, I think let's say, for example, I was working with a telecom company and they had a device purpose built for them, an IT solution purpose built for them by Oracle. And they put together a team, half of which was coming from Oracle, half of it from this telecom company.

Skip to 3 minutes and 48 secondsAnd they were working together to build this special device because there was no such device in existence before. Now, these are the three prototypes of cloud computing. And this is what they usually tell you about if you ask about types of cloud computing. However, there are many other things. Many other things can be available as a service, isn't it? So the easiest, simplest thing that we all use already would be data as a service. Just think about all those apps on your mobile phones that are retrieving real-time data. For example, if you have a cinema database, you are retrieving real-time data about show times and so on. And this is running on your app.

Skip to 4 minutes and 34 secondsThe app is on your mobile phone. So you are not getting the software as a service, only the data gets in there. So this is probably the most widespread used, but we don't usually attach a special name to it. And there are many other things becoming available probably very, very soon. For example, the ERP systems, this organization-wide database systems are enormously expensive. So one implementation is anywhere between a few hundred thousand to a few million or even a few tens of millions of dollars, depending on the size of the organisation. However, for an SME, it is an unaffordable cost.

Skip to 5 minutes and 18 secondsSo what I believe is happening already, and you can see that, for example, SAP is providing ERP as a cloud type service. It just did not come into existence to have the acronym yet, but it is ERP as a service. But in similar ways, we will very soon have probably knowledge engineering as a service and so on. And if you just think about this MOOC, well, this would be teaching as a service that you receive from the FutureLearn platform.

Types of clouds

There are many different ways of using cloud computing depending on what you want to do. More or less all of us use Software as a Service, at least from time to time. The prototype are the webmail applications such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail, etc. Of course, many of us also use email clients. I have more than 40,000 emails saved in my email client. I cannot use webmail as my everyday solution; however, if I wander into a cybercafé I often use webmail as a substitute.

The other two solutions are almost exclusively used by either ICT companies or ones that are very heavy on IS/ICT such as security companies, military or very large corporations. A Platform as a Service would be like renting an operating system and a software development environment on which you can then develop your own applications. Infrastructure as a Service would be like renting computers (hardware). You can then either put your own operating system on it and your own software development environment, or you can rent that together with the infrastructure. What is important is that you can directly control the hardware. This is actually often done in the form of having virtual machines set up.

Recently we have submitted a Horizon 2020 (European Union) grant application. If it is successful, we will rent IaaS from Amazon and we will be developing our own platform. This would not be a generic platform, it could only run specialised DSS (decision support) applications, which we would also be developing, and it would also produce a great deal of research data as well as do the preliminary analyses. Other possible cloud types are discussed in detail in the next step.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Information and Technology Today

University of Strathclyde