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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

The Cloud Services Stack — Infrastructure

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.

Infrastructure as a Serviceimage

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.

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    West Coast Grid wrote @ July 29th, 2008 at 9:21 am

Robert continues to nail Cloud Taxonomy…

Perhaps partially inspired by Matias Wolsky’s SaaS Taxonomy Map, my friend, co-worker, and colleague Robert W. Anderson has written a great post called The Cloud Services Stack — Infrastructure….

    Johnac wrote @ July 29th, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Hi Robert – your post is refreshing and to the point – thank you. There is so much opinionated (and uneducated) noise out there…

    friarminor wrote @ August 1st, 2008 at 5:49 pm

For PaaS: You may want to check out too – being the first to offer the managed hosting platform support for Rails, Java and Grails.


    Matias Woloski’s Blog » Cloud Computing Taxonomy Map wrote @ August 19th, 2008 at 2:17 pm

[…] got good feedback on the taxonomy map from the blogsphere (including Jeff Kaplan, from THINK IT Services). I updated the map some time ago but […]

    John Healy wrote @ August 20th, 2008 at 9:00 am

I like you definition and diagram. Can I the diagram (assuming it is ppt) to use to review with our developers?

    Bill Zack wrote @ January 9th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Any chance of updating this with the new Microsoft stuff?

    Robert W. Anderson wrote @ January 9th, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Bill — yeah, I have been meaning to. I’ll bump that up my list. Cheers, Robert

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