What exactly is the Cloud?
Cloud computing is terminology that has been used for quite a while now. There are often different definitions of what cloud computing or cloud software really means. Therefore, we’ve tried to simplify it a little…
As a metaphor for the internet ‘the cloud’ is familiar lingo now, a lot of people store their photos or contact details from their personal smart phones ‘in the cloud’ but what does that really mean?
Well, this sort of information usually gets stored directly onto a computer or technical device via a server. When storing information in the cloud, it’s held in virtual servers that are accessed over the internet.
Cloud computing is a way of increasing capacity or adding new capabilities of software tools without the need to invest in new dedicated infrastructure, often without the training of new personnel, or licensing new software.
Cloud software is typically purchased on a subscription basis (usually monthly) or even on a pay-per-use basis that can very quickly extend the capabilities of existing IT infrastructure.
Terminology doesn’t stop at just ‘the cloud’ though; you may have heard acronyms such as IaaS, SaaS and PaaS so here are some further explanations:
IaaS – this is ‘Infrastructure as a service’. This allows for the sharing of raw computing power and storage, including things like databases, rules engines, processing power and other infrastructure capabilities. With the cloud these can be accessed and leveraged on an ‘as needed’ basis. Similar to the power grid, you only pay for what you use. IaaS is what the corporate IT department needs to enable your day-to-day tools to operate with a reliable and fast response.
PaaS – This is ‘Platform as a service’. This allows software developers to access tools to create their own applications. The building blocks are made available by the software vendors to provide a jump start on development. ‘PaaS’ is what your supply chain IT support or third party consultants use to create customised workflows or tools specific to your needs.
SaaS – this means ‘Software as a service’. This is when you can access a business process application or software solution that is hosted in the cloud. You will logon to this application over the internet. Users can rent these applications on a pay-per-use basis, which is also often referred to as ‘software on demand’. These applications are used to tackle very specific business issues. Typically SaaS is what you logon to use without any customisation. One of the most widely used SaaS systems is salesforce.com which is used by businesses to track their sales and customer relationship processes.
At ediTRACK we provide SaaS and have many read-to-use business process applications for helping companies manage their supply chain processes. We have solutions for helping manage processes from sourcing and setting up new suppliers through to managing orders, shipments and deliveries. We like to think of our systems as different though as we can actually also configure them to work more closely to your individual business. We can also integrate our software with nearly any of your existing legacy systems for a truly integrated business process.