The cloud is a popular topic for small companies all the way to multinational companies, but it becomes a broad concept that covers a lot of online area. As you start to consider moving your company to the cloud, whether for application or network delivery, knowing the drawbacks and advantages of the different cloud providers is more important than ever.
Cloud service typically has three models to compare: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Each one has its own advantages as well as variances, and the variations between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS have to be understood to know how to choose the best one for your company.
SaaS: Software as a Service
The most widely used alternative for companies in the cloud industry is software as a service, also defined as cloud application services. SaaS uses the Internet to deliver applications to its users which are managed by a third-party vendor. A lot of SaaS applications run directly through your web browser, ensuring that no updates or installations on the client side are needed.
SaaS eliminates the need for downloads and installation of applications by IT management on each single computer because of its web delivery model. With SaaS, providers handle all possible technical problems, including data, middleware, servers and storage, thereby simplifying business service and support.
It offers various benefits to people and businesses by decreasing the time and money spent on repetitive tasks such as installing, managing and upgrading software, thereby giving technical staff plenty of time to spend on more pressing problems and issues within the company.
There are a few ways to help you determine when SaaS is being utilized:
- Managed from a central location
- Hosted on a remote server
- Accessible over the internet
- Users not responsible for hardware or software updates
When to Use SaaS
SaaS may be the most beneficial option in several situations, including:
- Startups or small companies that need to launch ecommerce quickly and don’t have time for server issues or software
- Short-term projects that require quick, easy, and affordable collaboration
- Applications that aren’t needed too often, such as tax software
- Applications that need both web and mobile access
SaaS Limitations and Concerns
- Vendor lock-in. Providers can make joining a company easy and it’s hard to get out of that. For example, data might not be portable–technically or cost-effectively–over other vendors ‘ SaaS apps without incurring significant cost or rework in-house engineering.
- Lack of integration support. Deep integration with on-site apps, data, and services is required by many companies. In this way, the SaaS provider will offer limited assistance, requiring companies to invest internal resources in the design and management of integrations.
- Data security. Large volumes of data may need to be exchanged to SaaS apps ‘ backend data centers to perform the software functionality required. In addition to significant costs for migrating large data workloads, the transfer of sensitive business information to a public cloud-based SaaS service may result in compromised security and compliance.
- Lack of control. SaaS solutions involve granting third party service provider access. Such controls are not limited to the software–related to version, changes, or appearance–but also to data and management. Therefore, customers may need to redefine their data security and governance models to fit the SaaS service’s features and functionality.
- Feature limitations. Since SaaS applications frequently come in a standardized way, the selection of features can compromise safety, cost, performance and other organizational policies. Alternatively, vendor lock-in, cost or security concerns could mean that it is not feasible to move vendors or services in the future to meet new feature requirements.
- Performance and downtime. As the manufacturer manages and administers the SaaS program, the clients now rely on vendors to ensure the protection and efficiency of the service. Despite appropriate Service Level Agreement (SLA) protections in place, planned and unplanned maintenance, cyber-attacks or network problems can impact the performance of the SaaS app.
Examples of SaaS
These are several popular examples of SaaS, including: Google GSuite (Apps), Dropbox, Salesforce, Cisco WebEx, SAP Concur, and GoToMeeting.
PaaS: Platform as a Service
Cloud platform services, also known as Platform as a Service (PaaS), give some good software with cloud components, when being used primarily for applications. PaaS provides developers with a system that they can build on and utilize to produce custom apps. The company or a third-party vendor can handle all servers, storage and networking while the developers can maintain program management.
The PaaS delivery model is similar to SaaS, except for when PaaS offers a software platform for creation rather than providing the software over the Internet. This system is distributed over the internet, giving developers the ability to focus on developing the app without thinking about operating systems, software updates, storage or infrastructure.
PaaS enables companies to design and create applications that have special software components built into the PaaS. These applications, sometimes referred to as middleware, are scalable and highly available since they take on certain cloud features.
No matter the size of your company, using PaaS offers numerous advantages, including:
- Simple, cost-effective development and deployment of apps
- Highly available
- Developers can customize apps without the headache of maintaining the software
- Significant reduction in the amount of coding needed
- Automation of business policy
- Easy migration to the hybrid model
PaaS has many characteristics that define it as a cloud service, including:
- Builds on virtualization technology, so resources can easily be scale up or down as your business changes
- Provides a variety of services to assist with the development, testing, and deployment of apps
- Accessible to numerous users via the same development application
- Integrates web services and databases
When to Use PaaS
The use of PaaS in several situations is useful, sometimes necessary. For example, if multiple developers work on the same development project, PaaS can streamline workflows. PaaS can offer a high rate and flexibility for the entire process if other vendors are to be include. PaaS is particularly helpful if custom applications must be built. This cloud service can also significantly reduce costs and eliminate other problems if you quickly develop or deploy an app.
PaaS Limitations and Concerns
- Data security. Organizations can use PaaS software to manage their apps and services, but data from third-party cloud servers with supplier-control raise security risks and concerns. Your security choices may be limit because customers cannot enforce special hosting policies.
- Vendor lock-in. In the future, business and technical requirements which drive decisions for a particular PaaS solution may not apply. Where the vendor has not provided convenient migration policies, it may not be possible to switch to alternative PaaS options without affecting the business.
- Customization of legacy systems. PaaS might not be a plug-and-play solution for outdated mobile apps and services. Instead, some customizations and configuration changes may be necessary to work with the PaaS service for the legacy systems. The resulting customisation will lead to a complex IT system that can totally restrict the value of the PaaS investment.
- Runtime issues. In relation to limitations associate with specific apps and services, PaaS solutions might not be optimize to suit your choice of language and frameworks. With the PaaS service, particular framework versions may not be available or perform optimally. With the platform, clients may not be able to develop customized dependencies.
- Operational limitation. With PaaS applications, personalized cloud operations with management automation workflows may not apply, as the application appears to restrict end-user operating capacities. While this is design to reduce the operational burden on end users, the loss of operational control can affect how PaaS solutions are controll, supply, and operate.
Examples of PaaS
Popular examples of PaaS include AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, Heroku, Force.com, Google App Engine, and OpenShift.
IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service
Cloud infrastructure services, known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), are compose of highly scalable, automate computing resources. For computers, networking, storage and other service access and monitoring, IaaS is fully self-service IaaS enables businesses to buy on-demand and as-needed resources instead of purchasing hardware outright.
IaaS provides the cloud computing infrastructure through virtualization technology, including servers, network, operating systems, and storage. Usually, these cloud services are delivere to the enterprise via a dashboard or an API, allowing IaaS clients full control over the entire infrastructure.
IaaS offers the same technology and functionality as a conventional data center without the need to operate or handle all of it physically. IaaS clients still have direct access to their servers and storage, but everything is outsource in the cloud via a “virtual data center”.
Unlike SaaS or PaaS, IaaS clients are responsible for the management of things such as programs, runtime, operating systems, middleware, and results. But, IaaS companies handle the servers, hard drives, networking, virtualizing, and processing. Some providers even provide more services beyond the virtualization layer, such as databases or queuing messages.
IaaS offers many advantages, including:
- The most flexible cloud computing model
- Easy to automate deployment of storage, networking, servers, and processing power
- Hardware purchases can be based on consumption
- Clients retain complete control of their infrastructure
- Resources can be purchase as-needed
- Highly scalable
Characteristics that define IaaS include:
- Resources are available as a service
- Cost varies depending on consumption
- Services are highly scalable
- Multiple users on a single piece of hardware
- Organization retain complete control of the infrastructure
- Dynamic and flexible
When to Use IaaS
Just like with SaaS and PaaS, when IaaS is most useful there are specific situations.
Startups and small businesses that prefer IaaS to avoid spending time and money on hardware and software purchases and creations. Larger companies may want to retain full control of their software and infrastructure, but they only want to purchase what they actually consume or need. Organizations experiencing rapid growth need IaaS scalability, and as their requirements expand, they can easily change new hardware and software. Whenever you’re unsure of the demands of a new application, IaaS offers plenty of flexibility and scalability.
IaaS Limitations and Concerns
Many limitations associated with SaaS and PaaS models – such as data security, cost overruns, and vendor lock-in and customization issues – also apply to the IaaS model. Particular limitations to IaaS include:
- While the customer controls the software, files, middleware, and OS layer, the host or other virtual machines (VMs) may still provide security threats. Insider threat or device vulnerabilities can expose unauthorized entities to data communication between the host infrastructure and VMs.
- Legacy systems operating in the cloud. Although customers can run legacy cloud apps, the infrastructure may not be design to provide specific controls to secure the legacy apps. Minor enhancement of legacy apps may be necessary before migrating to the cloud, possibly leading to new security issues unless adequately tested for safety and performance in IaaS systems.
- Internal resources and training. For the workforce, additional resources and training may be need to learn how to manage the infrastructure effectively. Data security, recovery, and business continuity will be the responsibility of clients. Nonetheless, due to inadequate oversight of the infrastructure, it can be difficult to monitor and manage the resources without sufficient in-house training and resources.
- Multi-tenant security. Additional resources and training may be need for the work force to learn how to effectively manage the infrastructure. Clients will be responsible for data security, recuperation and business continuity. Nonetheless, due to inadequate infrastructure oversight, it can be difficult to monitor. It manage resources without sufficient in-house training and resources.
Examples of IaaS
Popular examples of IaaS include DigitalOcean, Linode, Rackspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metacloud, Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine (GCE).
SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS
Each cloud model offers specific features and functionalities, and understanding the differences is crucial to your organization. Whether you need cloud-based storage solutions apps, a seamless framework that allows you to build personalized programs. Or complete control over your entire infrastructure without having to maintain it physically, there’s a cloud service for you. No matter which choice you select, the future of business and technology is a migration to the cloud.