Suppose you have a server with your enterprise software services and its database. It definitely requires an initial investment in an IT infrastructure that was physically located. Its maintenance cost is gradually increasing. To avoid these expenses, businesses are turning to cloud service providers.
- A Need For Cloud Service Models
- What is IaaS, PaaS, SaaS?
- Cloud service delivery models
- What Is Infrastructure As a Service
- What is Software As A Service
- What is Platform As A Service?
- Difference between cloud service delivery models
- It is clear with turkey, and how it works in IT?
- What specific business goals should you look out for?
- IaaS vs. Paas vs. SaaS — which model to choose
A Need For Cloud Service Models
Cloud services have literally flooded the planet and have now become a buzzword. Such technologies are more flexible and faster than traditional ones, which initially require significant investments in their own servers, data centers, and profoundly qualified personnel who can work with such complex equipment. And in the operational realities, the executives of companies and IT departments faced the difficult task of ensuring business continuity in the remote mode conditions. It implies severe changes to the company's IT infrastructure to mold their role when meeting new needs and implementing new applications.
Cloud allows unprecedented flexibility in all extremities, optimizes financial and time costs, and contributes to a peaceful sleep of the company's founders. Moreover, businesses can nimbly adopt cloud technologies to increase/decrease resources as needed. Nevertheless, when it comes to the actual practice of applying cloud services, the heralds of technology are modestly silent or get confused in terms. Let's figure out the main differences between IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS without any more ado. This won't be another article about how good the cloud is and how bad the non-clouds are. In turn, we want to focus on the reader's qualifications: we will sort out the terms, clarify the narrowest issues of using cloud technologies, and provide some practical information. We will try to explain what is behind these abbreviations and the disparity between them to help you make the right choice, considering your real needs. But first, let's deal with acronyms.
What is IaaS, PaaS, SaaS?
IaaS — infrastructure as a service is the lease of a full compute stack where any software and applications can be installed.
PaaS — platform as a service, for example, a web server or database, where the client manages the app, and the provider administers the operating system.
SaaS — software as a service, for example, an email or other office applications, where the client uses the app. All the basic settings of the app are managed by the provider.
Has something cleared up? If no, let's continue then.
Cloud service delivery models
What Is Infrastructure As a Service
In this model, computing power can be self-managed. The cloud provider will tackle controlling the main physical and virtual infrastructures. At the same time, the client configures the settings at the level of operating systems and applications and can handle resources independently: install and neatly run the software, monitor systems, and perpetually foster their agility. IaaS services can be an alternative to acquiring equipment and creating local infrastructure relevant to startups, small firms, and large organizations. As needs relentlessly progress, companies are obliged to implement new services and applications empowered by cloud services' resilience and flexibility. In humble terms: migrating to IaaS saves time and money.
The most famous examples of IaaS are:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Cisco Metacloud
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Compute Engine (GCE)
Pros and Cons of IaaS
The pertinent preeminence of the Infrastructure As A Service model is high-level customization and a better velocity to the business. IaaS service providers have full control over all the processes, which reduces the level of customization when one of the riveting downsides is the lack of transparency for better system management.
IaaS is the most flexible solution with a simple hardware deployment process. IaaS enables enterprises to grow to compute resources as needed, rather than buying expensive hardware for their own infrastructure. IaaS is a full-blown concept that provides almost a full range of options for its users.
The benefits of infrastructure as a service include:
- Savings on core costs related to hardware;
- Support of the hardware environment is also carried out at the expense of the supplier;
- The best scalability compared to other concepts;
- The ability to decrease the number of consumed resources if the demand for the app has fallen;
- Reliability and safety;
- Mobility in terms of working with familiar apps in the cloud from anywhere with access to the Internet;
- Full power to administer the infrastructure;
- Infrastructure backup site;
- Expanding the volume of consumed resources if needed.
Limitations and Concerns of IaaS
- The cost of IaaS varies and mainly depends on the client's CPU and RAM needs. IaaS is also a cost-effective model due to its high scalability and automation;
- IaaS will be a low budget option, but it does not mean that you will spend far less;
- Infrastructure management remains under your responsibility. Hence, it is essential to allocate time for this and have the required knowledge for all processes to be effective.
What is Software As A Service
Software as a service (SaaS) allows customers to use pre-configured programs for various online business tasks. CRM, ERP, ITSM systems, task trackers, and other software can be provided as SaaS solutions.
Who uses SaaS?
SaaS services are beneficial for businesses that do not have the opportunity to buy on-premise software. Large companies can adopt this model for temporary projects that require simple, swift, and cost-effective solutions.
These services are suitable for those who need access via the Internet, including a mobile device.
SaaS provides solutions for different tasks and allows businesses to adapt to changing markets quickly. For example, CRM systems help automate the company's interaction with customers, ERP systems help optimize enterprise resource management, ITSM systems help simplify the provision and support of IT services.
The most future-proof examples of SaaS are:
- Service Now
- Google workspace
- Cisco WebEx
- 1C in the cloud
Pros and Cons of SaaS
SaaS has steered a wave of excitement. Businesses admit the advantages of cloud based software over a traditional alternative. Could this type of technology be a good fit for your business? It provides many potential advantages over the traditional models. Let's check some of the top benefits of software as a service.
Remote access, configuration, and software maintenance by the provider give the customer more time to solve other important issues and tasks. SaaS solutions are centrally administered and hosted on a remote server. Users can connect through the Internet and access the particular service while the manufacturer supervises configuring the required hardware and software. The extra spinoff of SaaS is that in the majority of cases, it does not require downloading and installing software — most programs run in a browser.
Limitations and Concerns of SaaS
One of the pivoting constraints of Software As A Service can be connected with integration with existing applications. If a SaaS application isn’t developed according to open integration standards, you cannot simultaneously use two software. Typically, most SaaS can be managed smoothly via Jira and Trello, for example. But some exceptions sometimes stir organizations to design and leverage their own systems.
Since control over data processing remains with the provider, the user may not always transfer confidential data. SaaS applications guarantee security, but it's worth remembering that they are accessible through a simple registration. Accordingly, it will be easier to get unauthorized access than in the two previous options.
Also, SaaS solutions offer limited customization options. Yes, you can find the templates you like more. But the same templates are available to any user.
What is Platform As A Service?
PaaS is primarily a platform for designing software and incorporates an operating system, database, programming language, and web server that scales to meet the application requirements. Engineers with proprietary APIs can build apps that will run in a specific environment and further monitor and control software deployment and configuration settings. PaaS provides a custom-tailored environment for software developers and access to a platform or toolkit for building digital applications for customers. With PaaS services, developers can create everything from simple mobile apps to superiorly designed business solutions. PaaS also provides customers with modern, robust development tools that are supported by the provider.
The most famous examples of PaaS are:
- AWS Elastic Beanstalk
- Windows Azure
- Google App Engine
Pros and Cons of PaaS
There are always two sides to every story. PaaS is a great solution for small businesses and startup companies for two very basic reasons. First, it's cost-effective and provides a path for exponential fostering software development, testing, and delivery. Second, it allows companies to focus on their core requirements not worrying about maintaining basic infrastructure.
While it's easy to make a case for PaaS, at the same time, there are some challenges as well, though it seems that they can be overcome with advanced planning and preparation.
One of the great business perks of this service is that it's ready to go right away. PaaS accelerates software development, testing, and delivery. It will be more comfortable and economical to implement projects of any size and complexity on a ready-made platform. The provider will cover deployment costs and middleware. Several users can join the project through the same platform, working with various web services and databases.
PaaS solutions help companies of all sizes streamline their development process and achieve transformational success. PaaS can make it easier for a large development team to collaborate on the same project. This opportunity may be preferable for firms with existing IT infrastructure. The organization will have greater control over the development process and the subsequent flexibility of delivering tailor-made solutions for its customers.
Limitations and Concerns of PaaS
Some may wonder: why hasn't PaaS gained momentum today? The answer lies in two flaws:
- There is no way to supervise the virtual machine that processes the data;
- Less flexibility and scalability.
Difference between cloud service delivery models
Has it become more transparent? How about showing these three models as an example of cooking a turkey? Let's compare the listed services with this meal. Perhaps this will be more understandable.
In the IaaS model, you get ready-made ingredients (as if you bought them in a store): cooked and chopped. All you have to do is add sauces, set the table, and serve the prepared turkey with champagne and tangerines.
While preparing turkey with the PaaS model, you buy a ready-made turkey in the culinary department. You just prepare the table with champagne and tangerines and serve it.
The SaaS model, in our analogy, is a restaurant. You don't cook anything. You just consume. The waiter invites you to a beautifully served table, where you can enjoy champagne, tangerines, and the desired New Year's cooking fowl from the chef.
It is clear with turkey, and how it works in IT?
Let's say your company has faced a global challenge to launch a new IT service. For example, a brand-new CRM or electronic document management system. To solve this problem at the planning stage, it is necessary to answer several essential questions. First, it is vital to decide what equipment will be involved in the project. Then, select the operating system. When the application is ready, you need to upload it to the production server and configure it. When the internal tests show a good result, it will be necessary to make the application visible and connect the server to the communication channel. It will allow your employees to work with the application remotely — from a geographically remote branch office, vacation, or business trip.
Consequently, the question of ensuring server fault tolerance will arise: you will need a particular room that meets the mass of standards, power supplies independent of the city network, a cooling system, fire extinguishing, and access. There are two options: build your own server room from scratch or rent space in the data center. In the case of developing your own server room, you have to deal with a bunch of additional questions marked with an asterisk: choose and purchase equipment, configure it, install the OS and the necessary software, purchase licenses. These tasks will solely fall on your shoulders. On the one hand, this is a very long and expensive option that is in no way compatible with the business processes and tasks of small and medium-sized companies. But it will allow you to feel as comfortable and independent as possible. If this solution does not suit you for some reason, IaaS can be the right option for you. There will be no necessity to rent or buy a separate space and, in the end, pay exorbitant prices for IT specialists. You entrust all this to your cloud provider. Your responsibility is limited only to the installation of the OS and the required software. An even more "advanced" model is PaaS. By purchasing this service, you get a full-fledged environment for designing and deploying applications, releasing the need to manage the installed OS, middleware, and databases personally or worry about licensing. This model is neatly adapted to the business needs and supports the full cycle of a web application — from development to update. If you choose SaaS, the service provider commits to all tasks related to installing and configuring software, monitoring, creating backups, and many other "pressing" tasks. At the same time, you don't even need a tech-savvy employee on your part. All work on administering the application with the provider's support can be performed by an ordinary manager with minimal technical background.
What specific business goals should you look out for?
- Data Privacy and Compliance Needs: Should Governments or Healthcare Requirements Require Privacy?
- Vendor dependency: Do you want to "put all your eggs in one basket"?
- Cost: time / money. How long does it take to migrate data in response to your company's changing skills and culture?
- Create a proof of concept (POC) before you move your workload to the cloud. Such models do not solve all possible problems. Still, they will give you more clarity and understanding of the difficulties you may face.
IaaS vs. Paas vs. SaaS — which model to choose
Let me set things straight. When thinking globally, the main attraction of the cloud is shortening the time to market dynamics. However, engineers are increasingly drawn to the cloud by offering the most advanced new services that can be made from the web. Cloud computing, public or private, has become the platform of choice, especially for customers. Companies are choosing the cloud, where an endless parade of exciting new technologies offers innovative uses. Each cloud model provides specific features and capabilities. When a business has a set of particular tasks and an understanding of the benefits of different types of cloud services, it is easier to opt for the right software distribution model. According to Gartner forecasts, end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 18.4% in 2021 to a total of $304.9 billion, up from $257.5 billion in 2020.
When to opt for an IaaS solution
- IaaS is an excellent fit for organizations that need complete control over their high-performance applications.
- For startups and small companies that do not want to spend time and effort purchasing hardware and software.
- For growing organizations that are not yet confident with the application and expect it to evolve in the nearest future.
For applications that face varying requirements - where the increase or decrease is a critical factor depending on the surges or drops of traffic.
When to opt for a PaaS solution
PaaS is a great option when speed and flexibility are paramount in the development process; for example when multiple software engineers or external parties are involved in the development process:
- For organizations using Agile methodology for software development. PaaS easily solves the challenges of rapidly developing and iterating an application.
- Suppose you want to expand your capital investment and provide reliable infrastructure. In that case, the PaaS model will reduce the overhead of the organization.
- For large organizations that want to customize their applications.
When to opt for a SaaS solution
- When you have an application where resource requirements are changing dramatically: for example, tax software is in high demand during tax filing, and hotel bookings are experiencing a spike on holidays, etc.
- When applications require both landline and mobile access, for example, software for sales management, CRM systems.
Cloud solutions take the burden off customers and help save time, employee effort, and money. In the face of cutthroat competition, the cloud is the future of technology for business development. Those who do not leverage it can lag far behind very soon. Any of these three is a worthy choice for your digital transformation.
Hopefully, after reading this article, your understanding of IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS has become more comprehensive and transparent. If necessary, you will make a fully informed and cost-effective choice of a cloud service delivery model.