Though cloud computing is an exceptionally hot concept that has been embraced by benchmark organizations all the way down to small enterprises, it is still an expressively wide and misunderstood subject that covers a significant territory within the World Wide Web. As a result of this multiplicity and diversity, many enterprises and businesses find it intimidating or daunting to chart an objective and actionable path out of the maze that is the cloud. Therefore, as you contemplate on migrating your business operations to the cloud, it is important more than ever, to have a clear understanding of the technicalities, differences, benefits, and misgivings that come with every cloud service available on the market. Otherwise, you might end up making a tactical error that could not only result in losses but also instigate the demise of your business.
However, by moving your data and business operations to the cloud, you bypass traditional and time-consuming IT bureaucracies, to enjoy instant, flexible and scalable services.
Well! Technically, there are 3 types of cloud services that your business, organization or company can leverage upon to improve operations. These are:
2. Platform as a Service and
Each one of these comes with different applications, variances, and benefits. For this reason, it is essential to comprehend their applications so that you can be in a position to make an informed decision when time to make a choice comes.
All of the three services stated above describe the applications and provisions the service provider offers in relation to how the user (your business) utilizes them. IaaS offers your organization a scalable and automated environment that is extremely flexible and stable. On the other hand, PaaS provides a platform for deploying and developing applications quickly, by automating infrastructure management and automating. This eliminates the necessity to install and run programs on individual computers. Last but not the least, SaaS makes it possible for your business to access applications via the internet, as opposed to manually installing on individual devices.
|Platform Type||Common Examples|
|SaaS||Google Apps, Dropbox, Salesforce, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Concur etc.|
|PaaS||AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, Heroku, Google, Apache Stratos, App Engine, Force.com, OpenShift etc.|
|IaaS||Amazon Web Services (AWS), DigitalOcean , Linode, Rackspace, Cisco Metapod, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Microsoft Azure etc.|
As you might have already noticed, the last three letters of each of these services end with an aaS acronym. This stands for “as-a-service” implying that whatever service the first letter stands for is quickly accessible and available to multiple devices via the cloud network. The services scale automatically as demand rises, and subscribers are only billed on the resources they use, instead of a flat monthly payment or a one-time purchase of the entire infrastructure.
At the very end of the managed cloud computing spectrum, IaaS provides and manages virtualized and preconfigured infrastructure and hardware which enables users to leverage exceptional computing power and virtual machines without having to invest in labor-intensive management and expensive hardware. These cloud infrastructure services are automated and highly scalable when compared to traditional ones. This service is good for monitoring things such as networking, storage, and online computer resources. Through it, businesses have the freedom to buy resources on demand and as needed and instead of buying the entire hardware.
As aforementioned, Infrastructure as a Service provides cloud computing infrastructure to enterprises, companies, and organizations looking to transfer their operations to the cloud. The areas served by this service include storage, operating systems, network, and servers. The provision of such services is usually through virtualization technology. Through virtualization, users can access the services via APIs or Dashboards, giving them complete autonomy over the infrastructure. This implies that IaaS clients can access their storage or servers directly, despite the fact that it is outsourced via a virtual data center on the cloud.
Basically, service providers provided these services just like traditional data centers would, only that there is no physical management or maintenance of the infrastructure.
As opposed to PaaS, or SaaS, users have full autonomy on management aspects of their infrastructure. These include middleware, data, OSes, and runtime. However, service providers are in charge of networking, hard drives, managing the servers, storage, and network virtualization. You will also find service providers that offer services outside the virtualization layer. These services include databases and message queuing.
The advantages of adopting IaaS in your business include but are not limited to:
When time to go shopping comes, take the following factors into consideration.
Just like PaaS and SaaS, there are those instances when it is best to use Infrastructure as a Service. For instance, if you are a small company or a startup, it will come in handy since you don’t have to invest a lot of money on software and hardware. It is also an excellent choice for big organizations and companies who are looking to have complete control of their hardware and resources but only want to pay for what they will be using. For rapidly growing companies, IaaS is also an ideal choice since it is very flexible. As such companies grow and expand, they have to be worried about committing to a specific software which might not have the capacity to keep up with the development. With IaaS, they can seamlessly scale down or up as operations dictate.
One of the most prolific examples of IaaS is Amazon Web Services. It offers its services to users via EC2 and Elastic Compute Cloud. Other IaaS packages deal with networking, storage, virtualization components, and servers. In most of these, users have the freedom to control their databases, Operating Systems, applications, and Security components.
PaaS is a recent but rapidly growing service solution that is being used by software developers who would rather spend most of their time coding, testing their code and deploying their software instead of dealing with hardware related tasks like updating operating systems and managing security patches. It basically provides a platform for developers on which they can build and test custom applications. Storage, networking, and servers are managed by the service provider or a third-party while the management of the applications rests with the developers.
The application model of Platform as a Service is more or less similar to that of software as a service. The only difference is, instead of offering software via the internet, a framework for software development is provided. The platform is availed via the internet, giving developers more time to concentrate with software building instead of worrying about software updates, operating systems, infrastructure, and storage.
Through PaaS, enterprises and businesses can create custom applications by leveraging special software components available on the platform. These applications, otherwise known as middleware are easily available and highly scalable because they take on certain features of the cloud.
Regardless of the size of your company or business, your business will surely benefit from embracing PaaS into its operations. Some of the benefits you can be guaranteed to get include but not limited to:
There are several features that determine whether a PaaS is good enough or not. When you go out shopping, that’s what you need to take into consideration. The factors include but not limited to:
Like SaaS and IaaS, there are those situations where utilizing PaaS will yield the most favorable results. For instance, if several software developers are working on a similar project, or if that people must be included in the project, PaaS can provide flexibility and great levels of speed to smoothen the entire operation. It will also come in handy if you are looking to build customized applications for your business. Apart from simplifying the process of deploying and developing applications, it will also significantly help your business cut down on costs that could have been otherwise used in buying physical infrastructure.
Currently, Microsoft Azure is one of the most popular and best known PaaS services. Other services under this category include Windows Azure, Google App Engine, OpenShift, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Apache Stratos, Heroku, and Force.com. Apart from managed infrastructure, these services also come with tools and APIs which give developers the freedom to add extra features such as monitoring, version control systems and traffic splitting.
Also known as cloud application services, Software as a Service is perhaps the most common and used cloud service for businesses in the current market. Under SaaS, applications are managed by third-party vendors and delivered to users through the internet. For the majority of these applications, they are operated via a web browser, eliminating the need to download and install them on standalone devices. Subscribers of these services can enjoy a smooth use without having to worry about backups, updates, support, maintenance, and support.
Since services are offered through the internet, users don’t have to download and install applications on their computers. Under this service, service providers deal with all technical challenges such as middleware, data, storage, and servers. Businesses have the freedom to simplify their support and maintenance.
SaaS provides numerous advantages to employees and companies by greatly reducing the time and money spent on tedious tasks such as installing, managing, and upgrading software. This frees up a lot of time for technical staff to spend on more pressing matters and issues within the organization.
If you take these factors into consideration, you will be in a better position to select a SaaS product that best matches the needs of your business.
Being the most popular and commonly used cloud computing service, SaaS comes with several applications. Virtually, every business requires such a service to thrive. Some of its applications include:
As the most common category of cloud computing, most of us have interacted with SaaS through applications such as Concur, Dropbox, GoToMeeting, Gmail, Netflix, Cisco WebEx, Google Apps, and Salesforce. Just to mention but a few.
All in all, each of these cloud services come with different functionalities and features. For this reason, it is very important for your business, organization or company to comprehensively understand what each brings on the table. Nonetheless, whether you are on the look for a platform that will allow you to create custom applications, a cloud-based service to store company data or craving for total autonomy on all of your development infrastructures without having to manually maintain it, you can rest assured that there is a cloud service ready to solve all of your problems. And no matter where you levitate to, you can be guaranteed that moving your business operation to the cloud is the future of doing business. In other terms, you are moving your business in the right direction.