Cloud computing has gained popularity, and businesses are shifting from traditional on-premise services. Cloud-based services have changed how companies work and allow businesses to benefit from IT infrastructure, software and applications, and platforms via the Internet.
If you are considering moving your business to cloud-based services, understanding the three basic types; Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS), is important.
Understanding Cloud Computing
Before understanding the three types of cloud services, understanding what cloud computing is will help. In simple terms, cloud computing is the on-demand delivery of various resources like analytics, servers, databases, software, networking, storage, and intelligence via the Internet.
A third-party stores these resources in remote locations, and you can access these via the Internet. You pay only for services that you use, which reduces capital and operational expenditures. Additionally, it allows you to scale your business globally and integrate remote working across locations. You can use your workforce for secondary services by outsourcing IT infrastructure requirements and related services.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS allows companies to rent IT infrastructure, such as virtual machines, servers, storage, and operating systems, on a pay-as-you-go basis. Also known as cloud infrastructure services, it replaces on-premise physical infrastructure with cloud-based alternatives.
- Cost-efficient as it eliminates capital expenditure on hardware and skilled personnel to keep the IT infrastructure smoothly running
- Scalable and versatile as you can add or replace services based on the requirements of your business
- Accessible to multiple users based in different locations while ensuring you retain control over the infrastructure without depending on external contractors
- Certain older systems may not be compatible with cloud-based solutions requiring replacement or upgrade
- Possibility of a security breach from host service providers or virtual machines
- Businesses may need to provide additional training to personnel to familiarize them with cloud-based services
When to use
These are beneficial to all businesses, irrespective of size. IaaS offers complete control over the IT infrastructure and is based on a pay-as-you-go model, which means you can find a solution that fits within your budget. Most platforms offer ongoing support and can be scaled as per your requirements and are an excellent option to future-proof your business.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS offers resources for deploying, designing, testing, developing, and hosting consumer-facing services and applications via the Internet. Also known as cloud platform services, it provides wider access to third-party managed storage, networking, and servers.
- Unique platform for the development of customizable software, which reduces time and effort, thereby saving money
- Built on virtualization technology, it is easy to run without in-depth knowledge of system administration
- You can choose from multiple levels of computing resources based on the needs of your business
- Integration hurdles as certain older systems face legacy issues as they weren’t built for cloud-based services
- Limited security options that integrate with third-party systems
- Some solutions may not be entirely optimized for frameworks and language used by your business, which may result in requiring tailored solutions
- Customized solutions may not be compatible with PaaS systems and may inhibit operational capabilities and limit the scope of your operations
When to use
It is one of the most time-effective and cost-efficient ways to build unique applications. PaaS allows developers to focus on creative aspects of the development process by eliminating the need for them to focus on routine tasks, such as managing updates and security patches. Developers can more efficiently spend their time creating, testing, and deploying the applications.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS provides software applications either on-demand or on a subscription basis via the Internet. Also known as cloud application services, it is the commonest service used as it is business and consumer-friendly.
- No need to install and run software applications as everything is available online, allowing access from any device at any time from any location
- Eliminates the need for IT specialists to download the software for multiple users on their devices, which reduces the cost
- All updates are automatically taken care of on the cloud application
- Since you know the exact cost of using these services, budgeting becomes easier
- As data is remotely stored, there is a possibility of a security breach
- Several SaaS applications are not designed for open integrations, which may be a concern while integrating with existing services and applications
- Most SaaS services allow minimal customization of various features, integrations, and capabilities, which may require you to incur additional costs for adding customized capabilities
- Generally, control is retained by the third-party service provider and gives them access to performance, data, and functionality
- When to use
- These are ideal when you want to ensure the application runs smoothly and reliably with minimal input on your side. For example, you can use this service to run your email inbox, allowing you to send and receive emails without worrying about updates and fiddling with the email settings.
Differences between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS
IaaS provides direct control of the operating system while PaaS gives more convenience and flexibility
PaaS applications provide you with the capability to build customized applications, whereas SaaS services are owned and managed by third-party providers
Choosing the Right Solution
- This depends on your business requirements, as each cloud-based model provides different functionality and features. You must decide on:
- How much do you want the third-party service provider to manage?
- How much do you want, and you can manage it?
- IaaS gives you maximum control over the business and virtually provides the IT infrastructure for hosting in-house services, such as storage, payments, visualization, and networking.
- PaaS balances versatility and control between your business and the vendor. These solutions offer platforms and tools enabling developers to build and deploy customized applications on the web.
- SaaS offers maximum control to the service providers making it easy, convenient, and hassle-free for your company. Third-party service providers offer SaaS products directly via the Internet.
To conclude, cloud services are the future, and businesses across the globe are migrating toward such applications as these boost productivity and efficiency. Cloud-based models provide multiple choices and flexibility that are not available from on-premise hosting, which makes it imperative to migrate to this technology sooner than later.