The Cloud has been transformative for small businesses and global enterprises and covers a broad range of territory that should be considered before switching your business to the cloud. Whether you are making a change in infrastructure or application deployment, when you’re in the process of shifting your business to the cloud, it is critical that you understand the differences and benefits of the diverse cloud service.
Typically, there are three models of cloud services to compare: Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Each individual solution has its own advantages and fluctuations, and it is important to understand the differences among all three to determine which one is best for your organization.
Software as a Service: SaaS
Software as a Service is a cloud application service that is regularly utilized by businesses in the cloud market. SaaS uses the internet to deliver applications that are managed by a third-party vendor to its users. Most applications run directly through the web browser, so they don’t require any downloads or installations by the client.
With its web delivery model, SaaS removes the need of IT staff downloading and installing applications on individual computers. Vendors manage all potential technical issues like middleware, servers, data and storage, producing a streamlined maintenance and support for the business.
Should You Utilized SaaS?
There are a few ways to determine if you should utilize SaaS, including:
- Startups or small companies needing to quickly launch ecommerce and don’t have time for server issues or software
- Short-term projects that require quick, easy, and affordable collaboration
- Applications that aren’t needed too often, like tax software
- Applications that need web and mobile access
Utilizing SaaS reduces the time and money spent completing tedious tasks like installation, upgrading software and management. With so many advantages for both employees and companies, there is plenty of time allotted from tech teams to spend on crucial issues within the organization.
Examples of SaaS
Many popular examples of SaaS, including: Google GSuite (Apps), Dropbox, Salesforce, Cisco WebEx, SAP Concur, and GoToMeeting.
Platform as a Service: PaaS
Also known as Cloud Platform Services, PaaS provide cloud elements to certain software, mainly being used for applications. PaaS delivers a framework for developers that they can further build on and use to create other custom applications. All servers, networking and storage are managed by the enterprise or a third-party provider so that developers can maintain management of the applications.
The PaaS delivery model is very similar to SaaS. Instead of delivering the software via the internet, the PaaS model provides a platform for software creation. This platform is delivered through the web, giving developers flexibility to focus on building software without worrying about software updates, operating systems, storage or infrastructure.
The PaaS model allows businesses to design and create applications that are built into the Platform as a Service with specialized software components. These applications are also referred to as middleware and are scalable ad take on certain cloud characteristics.
Regardless of the size of your company, there are tons of advantages for utilizing PaaS:
- Simple, cost-effective development and deployment of apps
- Highly available
- Developers can customize apps without the headache of maintaining the software
- Significant reduction in the amount of coding needed
- Automation of business policy
- Easy migration to the hybrid model
- Builds on virtualization technology, so resources can easily be scaled up or down as your business changes
- Provides a variety of services to assist with the development, testing, and deployment of apps
- Accessible to numerous users via the same development application
- Integrates web services and databases
Should You Utilize PaaS?
Utilizing PaaS is necessary in some situations but always beneficial. Platform as a Service can streamline workflows while multiple developers are working on the same project, and if vendors need to be included, PaaS provides the speed and flexibility needed through the entire process. This service is specifically beneficial when needing to create custom applications, and significantly reduces costs while simplifying rapid development and app deployment.
Examples of PaaS
Popular examples of PaaS include AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, Heroku, Force.com, Google App Engine, and OpenShift
Infrastructure as a Service: IaaS
Infrastructure as a Service is comprised of highly scalable, automated computer resources. It is a complete self-service for accessing and monitoring computers, storage, networking and other services. IaaS gives businesses the power to purchase resources as needed, on-demand versus having to purchase hardware.
IaaS delivers a cloud computing infrastructure that includes operating systems, servers, network and storage with virtualized technology. Cloud servers are given to organizations through an API or dashboard providing IaaS clients with total control over their entire infrastructure.
Infrastructure as a Service supplies identical technologies and capacity as conventional data centers without the need to manually manage data. Clients still have direct access to their servers and storage even though they are outsourced through a data center within the cloud.
Unlike SaaS or PaaS, IaaS clients manage all features like applications, middleware, runtime, OSes and data. But service providers of Infrastructure as a Service manage the servers, networking, hard drives, storage and virtualization.
There are many advantages of utilizing IaaS, including:
- The most flexible cloud computing model
- Easy to automate deployment of storage, networking, servers, and processing power
- Hardware purchases can be based on consumption
- Clients have complete control of their infrastructure
- Resources are purchased as-needed
Should You Utilize IaaS?
Infrastructure as a Service may be most preferred by startups and small companies to avoid the cost of time and money invested in creating hardware and software. Larger companies usually maintain complete control over their applications an infrastructure, but only purchase what they consume or need. For companies experiencing an increase in growth like scalability, they have power to change specific software and hardware as their needs evolve. IaaS offers abundant resources and flexibility.
These three cloud models offer special features and functionalities that are critical to understand for the diversity of your business. Whether you need cloud-based software for storage options, a platform for customized applications, or managing your entire infrastructure without physical maintenance, there is a cloud service specifically designed for you.