This chapter examines cloud computing and its complete architecture. It offers some additional perspectives in order to better understand what constitutes cloud computing. It presents the NIST Cloud Computing Model and essential characteristics of clouds. Several cloud services models like SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS are described in the architecture. Cloud-based IaaS does not typically expose actual hardware or networking layers to the tenant of the service, rather these underlying resources are abstracted for the consumer. PaaS abstracts infrastructure to a greater extent and generally presents middleware containers that are tailored for categories of usage—such as development. These containers provide tools to simplify application development and limit application interactions with the underlying systems. SaaS abstracts even further and generally exposes narrow-functionality software-based services such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or e-mail. Cloud computing has broad applicability for adopters who may have diverse needs. The cloud model is implemented in different ways using different technologies and expressing new and different services to meet various requirements. The chapter also dissects the three SPI cloud service models along with the four cloud delivery models. The SPI service model represents increasing abstraction from complex underlying IT infrastructure.
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