A Cloud Platform is a secure and manageable infrastructure on which to build your applications and capture data intelligence. This approach provides the benefits of scale, speed, and agility while still protecting existing investments. This means IT can now rapidly build and deploy applications, flexibly manage IT services, and support real-time analytics across all forms of data.
Cloud Platforms vs Cloud Computing
While Cloud Platforms provide the infrastructure and tools developers need to build and host web applications, Cloud Computing is simply the delivery of computing services over the internet. Cloud Computing allows access to best-of-breed IT solutions without having to manage a large infrastructure.
Cloud Computing services include IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. Download this handy tipsheet.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) replaces physical and virtual on-premises infrastructure with hardware residing in a public or private cloud while allowing users to remain in control over the environment. The true benefit of IaaS is the elimination of hardware costs and maintenance headaches. IaaS allows you to operate on virtual machines instead of physical ones.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) provides a fully managed platform that includes hardware, operating system and software ready for consumption. This model advances cloud computing. It packages all the components needed to offer a specific platform in a managed environment. This makes it easier to use and manage. The greatest benefit to PaaS is time-to-market. PaaS models allow an organization to collaborate, scale and deploy their own software at a much greater rate.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) is used by vendors to provide users with applications and packaged software on a subscription basis from any internet-connected device. SaaS is commonly referred to as “on-demand” and removes any concerns about installation, coding, or up-keep of data management.
How Cloud Platforms Work
Understanding how a cloud platform functions begins with an awareness of the three types of clouds. This is where 3Cloud gets its name.
- Public Cloud: Public cloud platforms are third-party providers such as Microsoft Azure that deliver computing resources over the Internet.
- Private Cloud: A private cloud platform is exclusive to a single organization, usually in an on-site data center or hosted by a third-party service provider.
- Hybrid Cloud: In this combination of public and private cloud platforms, data and applications move seamlessly between the two, giving the organization greater flexibility and helping to optimize infrastructure, security, and compliance.
A cloud platform helps you bring new solutions to life. You can build, run, and manage applications across multiple clouds, on-premises, and at the edge, with the tools and frameworks of your choice.
Cloud Platform Benefits
The benefits of using cloud platforms include scalability, flexibility, and security.
- Scalablity: A cloud platform lets you optimize IT costs and efficiencies. You will eliminate upfront capital costs associated with on-premises infrastructure by using a consumption-based model. You can also increase scalability and performance as your footprint grows.
- Flexibility: A cloud platform lets you gain resources that are rapidly accessible and aligned to your business needs. It also allows for integrated hardware and software and provides a single management platform for multiple clouds. You can innovate anywhere, including on-premises, multi-cloud, and edge environments.
- Security: A cloud platform ensures uptime and business continuity by delivering unparalleled security and compliance and reliability at scale.
Migrating Applications to a Cloud Platform
When assessing application suitability for migration, begin by analyzing your entire portfolio. Decide which parts of your business would benefit most from cloud services and migrate those first. Take into account any highly-customized or integrated application profiles when considering migration costs, since costs can vary widely for these items.
Applications, databases and storage, as well as VMWare, can be migrated to a cloud platform. You may want to consider a Managed Platform service to help your organization successfully manage and execute large migration projects brought about by mergers and acquisitions, on-prem to cloud, or data modernization efforts.
Security and Compliance on Cloud Platforms
Cloud Platforms offer many native security features focusing on operations, applications, storage, networking, computing, and identity. Even though you have access to these built-in capabilities, there are steps you can take to ensure that your enterprise-grade cloud workload is protected from breaches, data leaks, and targeted attacks.
Ensure your data is protected in the cloud. Secure it in every possible state it can occur. Consider what controls are available for that specific state.
- Policy-Based Granular Management is critical to securing your cloud environment. Create groups and roles instead of managing permissions for each individual. This will ensure that only the necessary access is granted to each unit, rather than giving blanket permissions.
- Azure Virtual Network (VNet) enables you to deploy business-critical resources and apps in logically isolated sections of Azure. VNet allows your various Azure resources to safely connect with each other, the internet, and any on-premises networks with the added advantages of Azure’s infrastructure including scale and availability.
- Data Encryption lets you protect your data by encrypting it at all its various levels of usage, with several different methods of encryption available including server-side encryption that relies on service-managed keys, customer-managed keys in Key Vault, or customer-managed keys on customer-controlled hardware.
When your industry requires a discrete set of compliance regulations, rest assured that you can achieve real-time regulatory cloud compliance at scale with consistent resource governance. You can also reduce the time needed to audit your environments by having all your compliance data in a single place. Setting guardrails throughout your cloud architecture and resources to helps ensure alignment and compliance with regulatory frameworks such as NIST, ISO, HIPAA, PCI, and others.
Scaling and Performance on Cloud Platforms
One of the most important aspects of performance efficiency in cloud platform is the ability to scale your applications. To achieve scalability, consider how your application scales, and implement platform as a service (PaaS) offerings that have built-in scaling operations, such as autoscaling with monitoring systems at the application, service, and infrastructure levels.
- Autoscaling lets you automatically run the right amount of resources to handle your app load.
- Autoscaling adds resources, or scales out, to handle increases in load such as seasonal workloads.
- Autoscaling also removes idle resources, or scales in, to save money during decreases in load, such as nights and weekends for some corporate apps.
Cost Structure and Optimization on Cloud Platforms
Meet your organization’s business needs and budget with competitive, pay-as-you-go pricing. Realize cost savings whether you’re migrating your first workload or fine-tuning complex deployments. With no upfront costs, you only pay for what you use.
Optimize your time to value by reducing costs with the most complete tech stack from cloud to edge. Build, monitor, and manage your critical infrastructure using cloud technology.
Do more with less. You’ll achieve greater speed, higher productivity and have more time to focus on what matters, your business. Maximize the value of your investments with cloud technology that does more.
Let’s Get Started
Talk to a 3Cloud representative today and learn how to turn your ideas into innovation with Azure, the most comprehensive cloud platform. Achieve your goals with the freedom and flexibility to build, manage, and deploy your applications anywhere. Use your preferred languages, frameworks, and infrastructure — even your own datacenter and other clouds — to solve challenges large and small, and build your next great solution. Contact us to learn more.