I posted Cloud Services Continuum a couple of weeks back. In that post I articulated a simplified view of cloud services and how they fit together. This was simple by design — others had found this view useful, so I wrote it down. I intentionally ignored some kinds of services, greatly simplifying the Infrastructure piece. In this post I delve deeper into infrastructure services. I’ll move on to platform next.
BTW: Stack is a more fitting word than continuum for various reasons, so I’m using that instead. And a shout out to Matias Wolsky — check out his SaaS Taxonomy Map.
In my earlier post, I defined IaaS to include provisioning of hardware or virtual machines on which one generally has control over the OS; therefore allowing the execution of arbitrary software. This definition isn’t really enough, because there are many other kinds of infrastructure. Take a look at the services that are out there:
- connectivity / messaging services. Examples: Microsoft BizTalk Labs and Connectivity Services, Gnip.
- identity services. Countless OpenID identity providers, again the BizTalk Labs Identity Services.
- data storage. Examples: Amazon’s S3 and SimpleDB, Microsoft SQL Server Data Services.
One might argue that together these services create a “platform” — and they get close — but since none of these host general user-written code, they don’t quite get there.
Then, of course, there is flexible machine provisioning like Amazon EC2. These are definitely infrastructure — where the platform is the OS, Web servers, and other software.
Calling this all IaaS is fine — it is all infrastructure — but, maybe we should further divide these:
- Virtual Hardware Infrastructure
- Storage Infrastructure
- (Other) Infrastructure Services
Granted, these names need some work, but I think the categories are useful. And I won’t make them into acronyms because I think we have enough of those.