Cloudy, With a Chance of Innovation: Cloud Computing Services and How We Use Them

April 25, 2016

Do you use any of the following?

  • DropBox
  • Spotify
  • Netflix
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Hulu
  • YouTube
  • Facebook (or any other social media)
  • Any Google service: Gmail, Drive, etc

If you answered “Yes,” then you are one of, well, almost everyone who uses the cloud every day. And this list is far from exhaustive.

As much as you and I may turn to the cloud for entertainment and everyday household business, companies appreciate the cloud’s reliable and comparatively inexpensive services to keep things running smoothly. With the growing reliance on cloud based services, cloud computing providers — such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, to name just a few — are vying for the ever-increasing pool of potential customers. Why? According to Business Insider, Amazon Web Services brought in revenue for 2015 of $1.57 billion, an increase of almost 50% over 2014, and their profits were $265 million.

Cloud computing potential and profits are only expected to grow: IDC predicts the public IT cloud services industry could be worth $127 billion in 2018.

How we use the cloud

It’s clear businesses are using cloud services and an increasing number of providers are expanding those services, but what exactly are people and businesses actually using the cloud for?

There are three basic types of cloud services:

  1. SaaS (Software as a Service)
  2. PaaS (Platform as a Service)
  3. IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

While individuals are more likely to use SaaS, businesses often take advantage of all three. To break it down:

Software as a Service (SaaS) is the service of choice for most users. According to the Cisco Global Cloud Index, SaaS is by far the most frequently used of the three cloud services. 2015’s most popular services on an Enterprise level include Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, and Cisco Webex, while the top 20 most commonly used consumer services were almost entirely social media platforms.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) allows developers to efficiently create applications using a streamlined, consistent operating environment. PaaS reduces the complexity and learning curves common to application development. Some of the most popular PaaS are Heroku, Google App Engine, and Microsoft Azure (which is also widely used as Iaas).

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is growing as well, though perhaps at a slower pace, and has greatly reduced the cost of the tech stack since the late 1990s tech boom days. According to PC Mag, 2015’s top IaaS providers were Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace Managed Cloud, and IBM/SoftLayer.

Sealevel is preparing to release cloud-based smart I/O products later this year that will give users more insight and control into their systems and processes than ever before. These products will be broadly applicable to a wide variety of vertical markets but will use the same underlying architecture and tools. Look for more about cloud innovation and applications upcoming here on our blog!