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Cloud solutions, also known as cloud computing or cloud services, deliver IT resources on demand over the Internet. Cloud service providers such Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform can deliver everything from applications to data centers on a pay-for-use basis to their subscribers. With cloud solutions, IT resources can scale up or down quickly to meet business demands. Cloud solutions enable rapid access to flexible and low-cost IT resources without large upfront investments in hardware or time-consuming installation and maintenance. Businesses can provision exactly the type and size of computing resources they need to power a new initiative or operate their IT departments more efficiently.

Most cloud solutions fall into three categories: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). IaaS allows businesses to essentially rent their IT infrastructure from a cloud provider. PaaS supplies an on-demand environment for software development. SaaS delivers applications over the Internet. Businesses of all sizes use cloud solutions to reduce hardware, software and IT maintenance costs. As cloud solutions evolve beyond IaaS, PaaS and SaaS offerings, enterprises are relying on the cloud for software-defined technology. Data center resources – including compute, storage and network resources – can be virtualized and centrally managed as software-defined pools. Cloud providers are now offering pre-built cloud solutions with the agility to deploy abstracted, software-defined resources to workloads as needed.

Cloud solutions provide convenient, on-demand access to shared pools of IT resources, helping businesses improve efficiency, reduce costs and rebalance capital and operating expenses. Many businesses adopt a mixture of public, private and hybrid cloud solutions. OpenStack is a software-defined infrastructure for developing new business workloads, for DevOps initiatives, or for transforming traditional data centers to a private cloud.

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