Hosted services are outsourced information technology (IT) systems and functions. A hosted service provider owns and oversees infrastructure, software and administrative tasks and makes the system available to clients, usually over the Internet.
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The three main elements of hosted services are software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). In combination, the three elements encompass software and network capacity as well as the equipment used to support operations, including storage, hardware, servers and networking components.
Hosted services may be provided on a dedicated or shared-service model. In a dedicated hosting environment, the service provider reserves servers and infrastructure elements for each client. In shared hosting, services are provided to multiple clients from pooled resources and charged for on a per-use basis.
Hosted services are essentially the same thing as cloud services, although some experts argue that cloud services are more interconnected with other Web-based offerings.