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Please expand on the difference between remote hosting and 'true cloud computing' or SaaS (software as a service)

This question was asked by an attendee at a recent Proformative Cloud Computing and SaaS event: Please expand on the difference between remote hosting and 'true cloud computing' or SaaS (software as a service)


Topic Expert
Donald Koscheka
Title: Principal
Company: Bluecloud Communications
(Principal, Bluecloud Communications) |

Gartner Research defines cloud computing as, “A style of Computing where scalable and elastic IT capabilities are provided as a service to multiple customers using Internet technologies”. In effect, remote hosting is a form of cloud computing because you can generally scale up the service and, at the very least, you can usually cancel the service when no longer needed.

Think of remote hosting as the 'level 1':
1. Infrastructure as a Service - you pay for the ability to host your data and applications on third party infrastucture. You provide the software.
2. Platform as a Service - you pay for infrastructure and platform software such as operating systems. You provide the application software.
3. Software as a service - you pay for access to a full application or suite of applications such as QuickBooks or SalesForce.

Paul Turner
Title: Senior Director
Company: NetSuite
(Senior Director, NetSuite) |

1. Upgrades: With a true cloud service, you never have to wait for upgrades – all your users are upgraded to the newest version as soon as it’s released by the cloud application provider, because its running off of a single codebase - and any customizations you’re made, migrate to the newest version as well. With a hosted solution, customizations can often slow down the upgrade process, or may even break during the upgrade.

2. Multitenancy: A true cloud solution is multi-tenant, which means that there’s a single instance of the application that’s shared making it more cost effective for the vendor to operate – this results in greater economies of scale, with cost savings passed onto the user. A hosted solution is single-tenant, with each application in its own virtualized stack. This results in much more expensive deployment and maintenance, and an inability to scale efficiently.

3. Self-service customization: A true cloud solution is designed to be self service - i.e. allow the end user to customize any applications on their own without relying on the vendor, or having to hire an IT department to maintain. A hosted solution requires the service provider and the customer’s IT department to be involved in performing the customization.

4. Web access: A true cloud solution is completely accessible via a web browser, as a thin client, or via a mobile device while a hosted solution may require Citrix, require Windows clients (that may be slow running over VPN) etc.

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