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In an earlier post I reviewed the Cloud Computing World Forum show in London. In response I recieved a comment.

How cloud computing is different from the Internet.
More precisely, What is the difference between a “Hosted website” and “SaaS application”.

One of the issues that was clear at the conference was the fluffy nature of  “cloud”.

For me at least, “cloud computing” is about the creation of software utilities. A software utility will offer the same level of service that we get from a telephone provider or water provider. When you turn a tap on you expect to get water. This is because utilities give better than 99.999% availability.

There is already one software utility with which we are all familiar; Google. It just works and is a nice example of the difference between a “hosted website” and a “SaaS application”. Google search is available in many different ways; google.com, as a widget for your own site or as an API for use with your own program. It is a service that is much more than just a website.

To deliver on the vision of always-on software services you need hardware and application servers. These hardware is moving from company data centres and small web hosts to giant server farms run by huge companies. This is called Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

These companies and 3 parties then run application servers (containers) on the hardware that enables SaaS providers to scale almost without limit. These application contains are called Platform as a Service.