Virtualization Technology News and Information
Overview of the Different Types of Cloud Computing


By Sina Walleit of Parallels

Like it or not, cloud computing is here to stay. The term is frequently used by IT professionals, businesses, and corporations alike. However, cloud computing is an umbrella term that encompasses different types of cloud computing.

Cloud computing benefits companies by reducing IT costs, offering flexibility and efficiency, improving scalability, and improving information sharing. However, it is important to understand that there are in fact several types and models of cloud computing. There is no "one hat fits all" model, and it is extremely important for businesses to identify the cloud computing types and choose the most suitable model.

Choosing the best model or type for your organization boils down to the usability, benefits, cost efficiency, needs, size of your organization, as well as the variances offered by each type of cloud computing service. It is important to properly understand the different types available and to determine the deployment that suits your organization best.

Main Types of Cloud Deployment

Cloud deployment models differ based on how data is stored, how data sharing and interactions occur and how cloud-defined applications run. While there are a number of classifications, the main types of cloud deployment models can basically be categorized as private cloud (or on-premises), public cloud, hybrid cloud or multi-cloud. The features, advantages, disadvantages and suitability of each cloud model are explored below.

Private Cloud (On-Premises)

As the name suggests, the private cloud solution is dedicated for single-use. Usually, the resources of the private cloud are located on-premises or are operated by a third-party vendor at an offsite location. Third-party providers isolate the computing resources via a secure, private network that is not shared with other customers.


The private cloud is single tenancy model that has only private exposure and is located inside the organization's network. The organization itself manages it internally and provides all hardware components. The cost of a private cloud model is typically high.


  • Private access ensures a dedicated and secure solution.
  • Regulatory and government compliance is easier, as a private cloud has customized security.
  • High scalability and efficiency can meet unpredictable demands with ease.
  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) and high-efficiency levels enhance performance.
  • High flexibility allows for changes in business and IT needs without compromising security and performance.
  • Can support legacy applications.


  • Initial expense and high cost of ownership make this an expensive solution.
  • Not suitable for short-term use cases.
  • Mobile users have only limited access.
  • Infrastructure scalability may be restricted if the cloud data center is limited to on-premises computing resources.
  • Requires higher-skilled professionals.


  • Suitable in highly regulated industries.
  • Usable if you need strong security measures and controls over IT workloads and the underlying infrastructure.
  • Usable for large enterprises with large data center needs.Appropriate for organizations that can afford to invest in high-performance technologies.

Public Cloud

The most common form of cloud deployment model, the public cloud, makes resources available to the public via the internet. This service can be free or subscription based. The computing functionality of the public cloud differs from provider to provider. Public cloud solutions offer higher elasticity and scalability at a lower cost.


The public cloud is multi-tenancy model that has full public exposure and is located anywhere on the internet within the service provider's boundaries. The service provider manages it externally, and provides all hardware components. The cost of a public cloud model is typically moderate.


  • No new infrastructure means it's a highly scalable option.
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing model lets you decide the cost level.
  • Agile cost structure allows organizations to focus on other investments.
  • Maintenance and hardware update responsibility lies with the service provider, not the customer.
  • Use and setup require minimal technical knowledge.
  • Anyone can use the services over the internet.
  • Predictable computing needs reduce possible downtime.
  • Public cloud providers have built-in applications and services desirable for business and IT operations.
  • High availability means you can meet additional resource requirements with ease.


  • Cannot fulfill all security requirements.
  • Cannot fully support the requirements of government policies, legal requirements, industry standards, etc.
  • The service provider may restrict usage of their hardware and software.
  • The cost of ownership is unpredictable and might rise for large-scale users.
  • Limited infrastructure control.


  • Suitable for use in organizations with predictable computing needs.
  • Suitable when cloud applications and services offered by public clouds are usable for business needs.
  • Appropriate if resource requirements vary from time to time.
  • Usable in development and testing environments.

Hybrid Cloud

As the name suggests, the hybrid cloud is a mix of public and private cloud solutions with an integrated infrastructure where sensitive applications are privatized, but common services are hosted in the public cloud. Users can use the application and data workloads situated in both the private and public clouds.


The hybrid cloud is a single and multiple tenancy model that has both private and public exposure and is located inside the organization's network as well as the service provider's location. Both the organization and the service provider manage the hybrid cloud and they each provide some hardware components. The cost of a hybrid cloud model is variable, depending on what portion is private and what portion is public.


  • Regulatory and government compliance, as well as legacy requirements, are easier to meet compared to a fully public cloud.
  • Costs are lower than a fully private cloud, yet security is not compromised.
  • You can use legacy as well as cloud-native applications.
  • Provides more flexibility and scalability than fully private cloud applications without compromising security.
  • Shared services across multiple cloud solutions make the hybrid choice highly reliable.


  • Can prove to be expensive, especially in comparison to the public cloud.
  • The hybrid cloud requires strong integration and compatibility between the mixture of private and public data centers.
  • Infrastructure can be complex because of the evolving mix of public and private clouds.
  • Requires high-level technical expertise to set up, manage and maintain the solution.


  • Suitable for organizations that require different IT, security, regulatory and performance requirements.
  • Usable when organizations need to optimize cloud solutions without compromising the value proposition of a public cloud and the security of a private cloud.

Multi-Cloud Model

On a superficial level, a hybrid cloud and a multi-cloud might appear to be the same. However, there are significant differences between the two.

While a hybrid cloud model means the combination of private (on-premises) and public clouds, a multi-cloud model describes how organizations use a combination of different cloud providers to meet business needs. In other words, multi-cloud refers to a strategy where organizations leverage resources, applications, containers and microservices from different cloud providers. A hybrid cloud is not a multi-cloud, but multi-cloud solutions may include virtualization.

Why adopt multi-cloud?

1. Avoid vendor lock-in

Organizations adopt multi-cloud solutions to avoid vendor lock-in. Providers generally tend to make their platforms sticky by introducing functions and services that differentiate them from others. One vendor cannot offer organizations a single solution that fits every need. Businesses, therefore, have to find the right balance between functionality and portability and must adopt a multi-cloud strategy.

2. Improve performance

Cloud providers with data centers close to an organization offer minimized latency, jitter, and packet loss. For organizations with large workloads, having multiple cloud providers that are geographically close to them improves performance. Additionally, a multi-cloud strategy allows companies to pick and choose the solutions that suit their organization best, thus helping them maximize resources and only pay for what they use.

3. Increase compliance

Organizations usually cannot create and maintain large amounts of onsite data, requiring data storage with other cloud providers. Most cloud providers do not have built-in support for every required compliance, so organizations must use a multi-cloud environment to ensure compliance with all industry standards.

4. Shun shadow information technology

Organizations can also adopt multi-cloud accidentally. If different business units adopt different cloud providers, the organization unintentionally ends up with a cluster of different cloud providers. This can result in overlap and waste. The purposeful adoption of a well-planned multi-cloud strategy is the preferred method.

5. Improve resilience

Even the best cloud providers can suffer unprecedented downtime that can critically affect an organization's ability to keep services running. Keeping all applications and data with one provider can prove to be catastrophic. Spreading out applications and data through the use of different cloud providers offers better resilience and faster disaster recovery.

Multi-cloud limitations

The major limitation of the multi-cloud model is certainly management. Maintaining different cloud providers for different services adds an extra layer of management complexity, especially if multi-cloud solutions are not adopted in a pre-planned manner. This is the main reason why organizations generally look for cloud solutions that offer deployment, migration, and management capabilities.

Types of Cloud Computing Services

Cloud computing providers offer one or more of the cloud computing services discussed below. They are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Container as a Service (CaaS) and Desktop as a Service (DaaS).

Infrastructure as a Service

  • IaaS helps companies build and manage their data, storage, and server space as they grow.
  • IaaS is a self-service, cloud-based infrastructure model that delivers infrastructure resources to organizations via virtualization technology.
  • Infrastructure can include computing, networking, storage, networking services, databases, etc.
  • Management and updates of the entire infrastructure are the responsibility of the user.
  • Examples: AWS, Cisco Metacloud, Google Compute Engine, Joyent, Microsoft Azure.
  • Use case: For organizations that need to extend current data center infrastructure to manage workloads.

Platform as a Service

  • PaaS helps organizations obtain a platform or framework for building upon, developing or customizing applications.
  • PaaS makes the development, testing, and deployment of applications quicker, simpler and cheaper.
  • Third-party vendors manage items like OSs, servers, storage, networking, PaaS software and virtualization. Application management is, however, the responsibility of the developer using the platform.
  • Examples: Apprenda.
  • Use case: To improve the productivity of developers and to reduce the time-to-market of applications.

Software as a Service

  • SaaS uses the web to deliver applications and captures the largest market in cloud computing services.
  • Applications, the underlying OS, runtime, virtualization, data, middleware, virtualization, storage, and networking are all managed by third-party vendors. The interface is accessed by end-users within the organization.
  • Most SaaS applications are available on web servers without the need to download, install, or update anything, but some might require plugin installation.
  • Examples: Salesforce, Google Apps, Cisco Webex, Concur, GoToMeeting.
  • Use case: To replace traditional desktop-based applications when the organization does not want to take on the overhead of management, installation, and update responsibility.

Container as a Service

  • CaaS allows organizations to upload, organize, manage, run, stop, and scale containers using container-based virtualization capabilities.
  • CaaS provides a framework using Application Programming Interface (API) calls or web portals.
  • It can be thought of as a subset of IaaS, but instead of infrastructure, the basic resource offered is a container.
  • Deployment, cluster management, reporting, lifecycle management and scaling, are the responsibility of the vendor.
  • Organizations need to deal only with the management of the containers that they use as a service.
  • Examples: Google, IBM, Rackspace, Amazon EC2.
  • Use case: To help developers deploy the container environment quickly, securely and economically without having to worry about building clusters and test container infrastructure.

Desktop as a Service

  • DaaS delivers virtual applications and desktops to users via public or private cloud infrastructure.
  • The vendor hosts the back-end of the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment.
  • System data, application data, platform, designing, procuring, deploying, and managing virtual desktop and application needs are the responsibility of the vendor.
  • The organizational user simply configures, supports, and maintains the user workspace.
  • It eliminates the need for deploying VDI infrastructure.
  • Examples: AWS WorkSpaces, VMWare Horizon Cloud, Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop.
  • Use-Cases: To manage Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and to deliver virtual applications and desktops to users quickly and economically.

Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) Streamlines Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is here to stay, and it is important to start preparing to either shift your data and applications to the cloud or to adopt a deployment model that fits your needs perfectly. ParallelsĀ® Remote Application Server (RAS) is a solution that can help you make the transition to the cloud easier and simplify maintenance once you are there.

Parallels RAS is a solution that delivers applications and desktops to any device seamlessly. It offers flexible cloud deployment models, allowing you to leverage different technologies with ease. You can build a flexible infrastructure by mixing and matching any cloud solution to create a full-fledged cloud infrastructure.

Parallels RAS offers features like on-premises deployment for organizations that prefer to control data centers directly, public cloud deployment for organizations that prefer to use the public cloud to save in-house costs, and hybrid deployment for organizations that vary in terms of users and applications. It also allows organizations to deploy the all-in-one solution of hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) whereby servers, storage area networks, management software, and storage abstractions are deployed with ease.

Parallels RAS is also the go-to solution for multi-cloud support, with extensive support for Microsoft Azure, AWS and the Google Cloud Platform. It allows organizations to create cost-effective, secure, and flexible environments that suit their needs, without compromising security. It offers extra layers of protection through Smart Card access capabilities, granular filtering, two-factor and multi-factor authentication, and client policies.

If you are in search of a solution that offers fast cloud deployment, efficient desktop and application delivery, seamless product roll-out, out-of-the-box access, on-demand scalability, effective load balancing and failover, download the free trial of Parallels RAS today!

Published Friday, August 28, 2020 1:13 PM by David Marshall
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