Three Basic Types of Cloud: Infrastructure, Platform and Software

It is evident that cloud computing has its benefits. But which cloud service model is right for you? Although the benefits of cloud can prove substantial for your company, there are many factors to take into account when deciding which is right for your business.

CloudTriangle-Diagram-01There are three basic cloud service models. Each share similarities but have their own distinct differences as well. These service models are Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service. It helps to think of these services in layers.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS):

Infrastructure-as-a-Service is the first layer and foundation of cloud computing. Using this service model, you manage your applications, data, operating system, middleware and runtime.

The virtual computing infrastructure includes virtual server space, network connections, band width, IP addresses and load balancers. From a business side, the complexities and expenses usually involved with managing infrastructure are removed—the cloud provider takes on these responsibilities.

An example of a typical need for this model is someone who needs, perhaps on occasion, extra data space or processing power. Infrastructure-as-a-Service allows you to easily scale based on your needs and you only pay for the resources used. This means that the extra data processing space is available to you whenever you need it, and when you don’t you’re not paying for it. This saves you money and provides your business exactly what it needs.

Saving money is always a plus to any successful business and by using a firewall, you eliminate the need to have capital expenses for equipment and hardware maintenance contracts.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS):

Platform as a Service creates a platform and environment for developers to build applications and services. The development platform includes operating system, programming language, execution environment, data base and Web server.

This service, like SaaS, is hosted in the cloud and accessed by users over the Internet. The applications and services developed via PaaS don’t depend on specific platform to run, which ultimately makes SaaS so convenient for consumers. PaaS can range in complexity as well.

Since it’s a service-based solution, the infrastructure and applications are managed for the customer. The PaaS service, like SaaS is generally paid for on a subscription basis, relying on the usage of the client.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS):

You can think of SaaS as software-on-demand, as you are basically renting software instead of purchasing it. With traditional software, the hassles are endless. You purchase it upfront, install it, maintain it, and ensure you have licensing for the necessary amount of users and devices.

By using Software-as-a-Service your team will be able to access the software from a variety of devices, in the office or on the go, which allows easier collaboration among your team. With SaaS, a business can simply subscribe to the application, allowing users to access it online from anywhere.

This allows your business to run programs in the cloud where all portions are managed by the cloud vendor. Your users will have assured compatibility and easier collaboration because all will be using the same software. Your company won’t need to pay extra licensing fees and you can easily add new users.

If you have a team that is able to maintain your hardware, but you want to make it easier to streamline your software programs for ease of use and compatibility, Software-as-a-Service will best suit your needs.

As consumers, we interact with Software-as-a-Service based applications everyday without even realizing it. These applications range in complexity, purpose and audience. Common examples include Gmail, Facebook, Flickr and Dropbox, but software can include accounting, invoicing, tacking sales, planning, performance monitoring, email, instant messaging and much more.







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