Cloud Data Warehouse

Cloud Services

Digital illustration of cloud services showing a stylized cloud composed of connected nodes and lines, representing a network, with icons symbolizing security, data, and communication against a backdrop of clouds in the sky.

Cloud services are infrastructure, platforms, or software hosted by third-party providers and made available to users through the Internet.

Why Are Cloud Services Important?

Cloud services are important because they allow businesses to spend less time and effort on IT infrastructure and resources so they can focus on core aspects of their business that provide value to their customers. By spending less effort on keeping the lights on, a business can spend more time on innovations that differentiate them from their competitors or entering new markets to create additional revenue streams. Cloud services can be considered utility computing because an organization does not have to install and configure hardware and software.

Organizations can use cloud services on a pay-as-you-go model. Avoiding a traditional capital expenditure process makes applications available in days versus weeks. Because the subscription cost is well within most departments’ operational expense limits, they can operate more autonomously without involving IT.

The bottom line is that cloud services allow businesses to function more efficiently with greater agility.

Cloud Services Types

Cloud services range from IT infrastructure and platforms to complex application suites. XaaS is a general term used to describe the Anything-as-a-Service delivery model. Below are some examples.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS delivers a solution using a subscription licensing model. A third party owns and maintains the software solution. Customers connect to it over a public internet connection that can be encrypted to make it secure. The user interface runs in a standard web browser. Direct application-to-application interactions use a supported application programming interface (API).

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS provides hardware, including servers, storage, networking, and virtualization technology. Examples include AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS builds on IaaS by adding additional components to the software stack, allowing businesses to develop and deploy web-based applications. PaaS operates at a higher level of abstraction than IaaS, so it requires less management effort from the customer.

Containers as a Service (CaaS)

Containers are pre-integrated software stacks that support an application and all its dependencies designed for portability across any host system. For example, Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is one container deployment service that Actian uses to deploy instances of its database service.

Database as a Service (DBaaS)

Database systems provide storage of database objects such as relational tables, indexes, and views. Cloud-based database services can be accessed using standard APIs such as Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) and proprietary connectors. Third parties like Actian provide analytical and transactional database services across multiple cloud platforms, including AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.

Integration as a Service (IaaS)

Data integration solutions have a primary purpose of connecting disparate data sources and applications. To do this, solutions include pre-built connectors to different data sources, including files, data streams, and applications. Cloud-based solutions offer the benefit of having a third party manage the software, making it easy to create a shared cross-company solution through an integration hub. Vendors such as Actian provide data integration as a managed cloud service.

Cloud Services Examples

Below are some typical applications, platform, and infrastructure examples:

  • com provides a cloud-based salesforce automation application that quickly displaced on-premises alternatives due to ease of use, web browser interface and reporting.
  • Oracle NetSuite provides an ERP solution in the cloud.
  • The Actian Data Platform provides a database as a service and integration as a service.
  • AWS S3 is an object storage service free from volume size limitations that traditional file systems have.
  • Microsoft Azure Blob Storage is a very reliable data storage for building native cloud applications such as databases that can scale storage independently of processing resources to match the workload’s characteristics accurately. Vector uses this file storage for Azure resident instances.
  • Actian Business Xchange is a cloud-based data integration service that allows companies such as GE Oil & Exploration to streamline internal business processes and onboard trading partners faster.

Benefits of Cloud Services

The benefits of cloud services include the following:

  • Businesses can outsource their on-premises data centers so IT can focus on more strategic services.
  • Capacity upgrades are possible on demand due to cloud platform resources’ vast scale and elasticity.
  • Applications can be provisioned faster thanks to a low-friction pay-as-you-go licensing model.
  • The provider maintains cloud-based software, so the business does not have to manage installs and upgrades.
  • Subscription-based pricing that uses operational budgets avoids cumbersome capital expenditure purchasing processes.
  • Serverless cloud architectures provide an ideal foundation for component-based applications.

Actian and Cloud Services

The Actian Data Platform offers built-in cloud-based data integration services using DataConnect technology. Pre-built connectors to hundreds of data sources, including cloud-based applications such as Salesforce and NetSuite, make getting source data easy. Data pipelines can be constructed using a visual approach, and pipeline orchestration can be automated.

Actian database as a service provides access to the Ingres database or Actian X in the cloud without requiring the procurement and setup of physical hardware, the installation of software, or database configuration. With its ability to quickly spin up new databases in the cloud, the Actian database as a service is ideal to use in a sandbox for development and testing.

Data warehousing services are powered by the Vector columnar database that delivers analytics in milliseconds with minimal administration effort. Vector is self-indexing and provides unmatched vertical and horizontal scalability using MPP and parallel query capabilities. Multiple data warehouse instances can be connected across geographies and cloud platforms.

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