IT Focus Area: Cloud
May 9, 2017
The Top 3 Cloud Computing Service Models
The cloud means something different to your enterprise vs. the enterprise down the street.
According The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.
One of the cloud’s biggest benefits is automation. When your organization utilizes cloud correctly, you remove layers of management. You won’t be responsible for the physical data centers, operating systems and hardware.
By removing these layers, you can cut costs and minimize the time spent on mundane IT tasks. Instead of maintaining hardware, you can focus on innovation and scale your applications on demand. More enterprises are turning to cloud to reinvent their applications and take advantage of new deployment strategies.
What Are the Three Common Cloud Service Models?
There is confusion around the three main categories of cloud service models: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Let’s define each cloud service model.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a self-service model for managing remote data center infrastructures. IaaS provides virtualized computing resources over the Internet hosted by a third party such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google. Instead of an organization purchasing hardware, companies purchase IaaS based on a consumption model. It is like buying electricity. You only pay for what you use. This model enables companies to add, delete or reconfigure IT infrastructure on-demand. Many IT organizations rely on IaaS because they are more familiar with IaaS, especially if they have years of experience with virtual environments or strict security and regulatory requirements that can only be met through IaaS.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platform as a Service (PaaS) allows organizations to build, run and manage applications without the IT infrastructure. This makes it easier and faster to develop, test and deploy applications. Developers can focus on writing code and create applications without worrying about time-consuming IT infrastructure activities such as provisioning servers, storage and backup. PaaS brings more value to cloud. It can reduce your management overhead and lower your costs. PaaS also makes it easier for you to innovate and scale your services on demand.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a service (SaaS) replaces the traditional on-device software with software that is licensed on a subscription basis. It is centrally hosted in the cloud. A good example is Salesforce.com. Most SaaS applications can be accessed directly from a web browser without any downloads or installations required. However, some SaaS applications require plugins.
Find the Right Model for the Right Business Outcome
A successful move to cloud isn’t about IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS. The trick for any organization is knowing which model to choose, based on what it needs to accomplish. A long migration roadmap and good planning will help you achieve value from cloud.