We continue our review of the cloud and definitions of the service models that the cloud offers. In our second blog post, you get an overview of various common cloud services and technologies that can be used to develop and manage new products and services.
Container technology is good if you need flexibility to install and use software with specific version requirements or similar functionality in a very small virtual machine. With containers, you can select the underlying operating system and infrastructure yourself and at the same time have full control over the installed programming language and runtime version inside the container.
It is even possible to handle containers with different software stacks in a large container infrastructure. This is especially interesting if you need to migrate an older system to a containerized environment. As an added bonus, many tools for managing large-scale container environments (such as Kubernetes) come with modules and tools for best practice handling already pre-installed.
FaaS / Serverless, Functionality as a service
Function as a Service, FaaS, is also called Serverless. This type is additional layers of abstraction compared to containers and Paas. Instead of worrying about virtual servers, containers and other infrastructure, FaaS developers upload functional code blocks. In the cloud service, the developer sets the functions so that they are executed by a certain event, for example a form is filled in and sent, a webhook is executed or a file is uploaded. A special advantage of FaaS applications is that they do not consume any resources until an event occurs and the function is executed, which reduces the fees in practical use.
In case an architect chooses FaaS / Serverless, the developer does not have to worry about administering the underlying infrastructure. They just need to care about the code and the business value of the end users. Iteration can go faster, as the code can be distributed faster to the end user, without installation or provisioning.
All major cloud providers offer FaaS functionality: AWS Lambda, Azure Functions and Google Cloud Functions.
Multi Cloud Management
The definition of using multicloud simply means that you use more than one public cloud service for your delivery of IT services in the cloud. However, it is important to be aware that depending on the number and the different cloud services involved, managing multiple clouds can be quite complicated from both a cost optimization and technology perspective.
The multicloud strategy has often sprung from different needs. In some cases, customers subscribe to multiple cloud services to avoid dependence on a single provider. A more sophisticated approach is to choose public clouds based on specific and unique services that a particular provider offers and in some cases integrate them for their specific needs. For example, developers may want to use Google’s TensorFlow for machine learning on the Google Cloud Platform, but prefer Jenkins on a virtual machine in AWS for continuous integration.
To get control of costs, some customers choose Cloud Management Platforms (CMP) and or Cloud Solution Brokers (CSB), which enable multiple cloud management as if they were a single platform. The challenge with these types of solutions is that they tend to limit customers to the closest common denominator for the suppliers used. It may be that access to storage, networks and virtual machines is included, but that it will be more difficult to integrate the services that make each platform unique. This approach is something that needs to be examined on a case-by-case basis and analyzed if it is a way forward for a specific environment.
Just as SaaS services deliver applications to users over the Internet, public APIs offer application functionality over the Internet. By offering ready-made public APIs to developers who do not need or want to develop their own APIs, service providers simplify both basic and additional functionality that can be used in an application.
For example, when developers build web applications for maps, the Google Maps API is often used to provide directions. To integrate with social media, you can use APIs maintained by Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn
The cloud has many flexible and easy solutions for working with and publishing public APIs. Finally, all companies can provide their own public APIs to enable customers to consume data or access the application’s functionality.
We will continue our review of the cloud aimed at specific industries in our next blog post. Read our first post in this series here.
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