Service Overview: Cloud Computing
ISC helps facilitate, coordinate and provide secure, optimal IT-related capabilities/alternatives (in-house and external) to the Penn Community, from a portfolio of trusted vendors, that leverage the advantages of Cloud Computing (scalable, elastic, shared, metered by use and accessible through the internet) and the power of the Penn Community to get the most favorable rates, products and services.
“Cloud computing” is an umbrella term for delivering everything—from computing power, data storage, development tools, and infrastructure to personal productivity applications and business process workflows—as a service over the Internet, whenever and wherever it’s needed. Four qualities make cloud computing attractive: elasticity and the ability to scale up and down; self-service engaging of resources and their automatic release when no longer required; application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow customization of cloud services and their smooth interaction with local resources; and a pay-as-you-go model of metered service usage, which means buyers need not make capital outlays or acquire capacity in excess of their actual needs.Three models of cloud computing are commonly distinguished:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The IaaS model offers storage and computational resources that developers and IT organizations can use to deliver business solutions selected and managed locally.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS). The PaaS model offers “black-box” services with which developers can build applications on top of the computational infrastructure. Such services might include developer tools, or data access and database services, or billing services.
- Software as a Service (SaaS). In the SaaS model, the service provider hosts application software so the buyer doesn’t need to install it, manage it, or buy hardware for it. The software can be an administrative, business, or research package, or an end-user productivity application such as email, word processing, or a collaborative authoring tool.
ISC has already negotiated university-wide contracts for the Penn Community with several cloud vendors to provide computing services, storage services and collaboration and communication services including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Apps and Box. These contract agreements provide protections and advantages not available in individual “click-through” agreements.