Choosing your Cloud Service Model: SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS
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There are many, many different models of cloud-based services that could be a benefit to you and your business. Among these models, Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are the three most widely used. Each model has its own benefits and overall purpose. This article will allow you to discover the different advantages of each model and begin the process of choosing which one is right for your company.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service, or Cloud Application Services, are the most largely used type of cloud service. Most SaaS applications can be accessed directly through a web browser and do not require clients to download or install any applications.
The applications themselves are managed by a third-party vendor, which frees the client to focus on their business. SaaS effectively acts as a replacement for traditional on-device software.
Some well-known examples of SaaS applications are Google Drive and other Google apps, Dropbox, Salesforce, Workday, Cisco WebEx, Concur, and GoToMeeting.
Advantages of SaaS
A major advantage of SaaS is that applications do not need to be downloaded and installed on each individual computer, which can be time-consuming and hectic for employees and IT staff. There are also no software updates to manage or download, which will save further time down the road. On-site servers or storage can also be greatly reduced using SaaS. Many companies use SaaS as a means of streamlining their maintenance and support, as less IT support is typically needed.
SaaS is perfect for start-up companies that want to get up and running quickly. Applications that run entirely online are convenient and can always be switched out for a different type of service later on when the company has its bearings.
They are also good for short-term projects that require collaboration or for applications that need to be accessed on a variety of devices, such as via mobile or a home-office computer.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Services that utilize Platform as a Service (also known as Cloud Platform Services) provide cloud components that act as a framework for developers to design or customize their own applications.
Whereas SaaS delivers the application itself over the Internet, PaaS delivers a platform for application creation over the web. All servers, storage, and networking is managed by the third-party service providers, while the client manages the applications.
Well-known PaaS services include AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, Heroku, Force.com, Google App Engine, Apache Stratos, and OpenShift.
Advantages of PaaS
PaaS makes it easy and cost-effective for clients to develop and roll out their own applications without the trouble of building and maintaining their own infrastructure. This is similar to SaaS in that it frees up a good deal of resources for your company to focus on other things.
PaaS has built-in software components that are used to create applications, thereby reducing the amount of coding necessary to create the finished product. It also allows for the automation of business policy and easy migration of apps to the hybrid model. Applications made with PaaS also benefit from cloud characteristics and are very scalable, available, and able to easily integrate with SaSS if needed.
Cloud Platform Services are very beneficial for reducing costs and providing flexibility to the entire development process. It is especially helpful for working on a project with multiple developers or even outside vendors.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service, or Cloud Infrastructure Services, allow for a client to access and manage remote infrastructure, including compute, storage, networking, and so on, without the client needing to purchase physical hardware. IaaS is self-serve and lets businesses purchase resources as needed, meaning that they only pay for what they are actually using, similar to how things like utilities are billed.
As with PaaS, customers who opt for IaaS are responsible for managing their application. Unlike both SaaS and PaaS, IaaS also requires that you managing other aspects of the infrastructure, such as runtime, operating systems, middleware, and data. The IaaS provider manages other aspects of the infrastructure, such as the servers, hard drives, and other physical hardware. In some cases, the provider will also manage things like storage and networking but this varies by service.
Examples of IaaS include DigitalOcean, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Linode, Rackspace, Cisco Metapod, Joyent, and Google Compute Engine (GCE).
Advantages of IaaS
The main benefit of choosing IaaS is that it is a very flexible model that allows for the client to have complete control over their infrastructure. Though this could be a hassle for businesses that do not require precise infrastructure control, for a company that needs to micromanage such things it can be a godsend.
IaaS is great for small or new businesses that do not want to spend time and money creating your own hardware and setup. It can also be good for larger organizations as a means of staying light and streamlined. Because IaaS is highly scalable and allows you to purchase resources only as needed, it also means you do not have to continually adapt to new software and hardware as your business grows. The flexibility allows businesses of any size to flourish.
Which model should you choose?
The best cloud model for you really depends on the needs of your company. SaaS is great for cloud-based storage options, while PaaS makes it easier to develop and customize new applications. IaaS allows for a greater degree of control over infrastructure than the other two options. All three options are great for saving time and resources that would otherwise be required for building and maintaining on-site infrastructure, and in general, will help streamline the development process of your product.
Using a cloud model, whether it’s one of the three discussed here or one of the countless other models, can be a great benefit to your company. It is highly recommended that you assess the needs of your company, as well as the perks of each individual model and service before reaching a decision. No matter your needs, the perfect cloud service is out there somewhere.
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