Many businesses in today’s economy simply cannot operate competitively without cloud computing. By the end of this year, total end-user spending on cloud services is set to reach over $600 billion. Additionally, the cloud market itself is set to surpass $1 trillion before 2030.
Spending on cloud infrastructure has been rising steadily for years now, and many businesses now depend on cloud operations to deliver critical IT functions. And while the cloud isn’t necessarily the right answer for every business situation, it is important for all IT managers to understand the range of services available to them in the cloud and to assess the applicability of those services to their business.
To that end, let’s examine the most common cloud computing service models:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
As usual when it comes to technology, it’s easy to find yourself buried under acronyms, abbreviations, and jargon. However, all of these terms serve a purpose, and understanding what they mean and how they can help you leverage the solution best suited for your business’s needs.
Understanding Different Cloud Service Models
One of the most attractive features of Cloud services is their flexibility and customizability. In general, businesses are able to tailor specific cloud services packages to provide all the functionality required in a way that minimizes waste and maximizes the return on infrastructure spending.
But before you can build your ideal cloud infrastructure, you need to determine which service model works best for your business.
It’s important to note that the cloud computing service models all have different strengths and weaknesses and will be better at supporting some types businesses over others.
Here is a quick overview of each service model and provide examples of industries that each model would typically be best suited for.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
With an IaaS model, your cloud infrastructure is provided by a third party vendor but managed by you. Generally, it covers:
- Data storage
- Networking resources
- Access to virtual or dedicated computers
In an IaaS model, you’ll be able to use these assets much in the same way you would on-premise hardware, only they will be owned and operated by a third-party provider in their own data centers. You’ll have access to your IaaS via your web browser.
Typically, you’ll be able to select from virtual machines (VMs) hosted on shared (public) physical hardware with the cloud provider managing virtualization, or on private physical hardware that is dedicated to your company. This is typically called private vs. public cloud deployment.
Using a graphical dashboard and application programming interfaces (APIs), you’ll be able to provision, configure, and operate your servers and cloud infrastructure resources as you would using an on-premise deployment model.
You’re more than likely aware of IaaS – some of the largest companies on earth offer these services, including:
- IBM Cloud
- Google Cloud
- Microsoft Azure
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
IaaS tends to help businesses cost effectively meet changing demands due to the seamless scalability offered by the service model. You’ll also avoid the upfront costs of equipment procurement by essentially renting use of the hardware from your third-party provider.
You’ll also encounter far fewer instances of downtime due to the multitude of redundant servers in use. The ubiquity of third-party providers means that you will have data centers located in your area, reducing latency.
With the IaaS model, you are provided with access to virtually unlimited computing resources, but your internal IT team is still responsible for configuring those resources properly to meet your company’s business needs.
Some examples of businesses for whom IaaS is typically a good option:
- Startups that need scalability to quickly respond to evolving needs
- Businesses that need to store and process huge amounts of data (IoT, AI, etc)
- Ecommerce businesses that may be subject to large swings in the business cycle
- Software development companies that need access to a wide variety and number ofspecialized computing resources to support a rapidly changing array of development, test and production environments.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS is designed to provide developers with the framework, software and tools needed to build and manage software and applications – all available via the internet. Your provider will host and manage the hardware and software that are connected to the platform. This includes:
- Data storage
- Operating systems
- Networking resources
PaaS providers offer easy access to a wide range of computing resources such as OSes, middleware, databases and DevOps tools They’ll also handle your security and data backup services.
WIth PaaS, you can manage the entire development process of your applications faster and more efficiently than using on-premise hardware. PaaS differs from IaaS in that you access it through a graphical user interface (GUI), allowing for collaboration throughout the entire development process of the application.
PaaS best supports:
- Businesses that are working with a wide variety of programing languages, tools, and application environments, like in IoT application development and real-time data processing
- Software development, especially those that leverage Agile development, requiring access to a wide variety of development and DevOps tools.
- Businesses using hybrid cloud deployments as PaaS solutions support a variety of technologies
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS is designed for you to make use of a single or a group of applications that are able to support your business without any management demands. You’ll pay a monthly or annual fee and have access to a fully operational application within a web browser. SaaS services are ubiquitous. Some common examples of SaaS services include Google Workspace, Salesforce, DropBox, and Slack.
In the SaaS model, the provider will manage servers, software, middleware, etc, as well as patching, upgrading, security services, and pretty much all tasks running the background necessary to keep your applications functioning appropriately.
The list of SaaS applications you use daily includes emails, social media, cloud storage, CRMs, CMSs, chat services, and so on.
SaaS is the ideal cloud model for businesses that would rather not get lost in the technical details of running a cloud application. The vendor (or a managed services provider) can offload your entire technology management burden so you only ever see the benefits and can ditch the hassle.
The SaaS cloud model is relatively low risk due to generous trial periods and typically affordable payment plans. As with all cloud services, SaaS applications can typically be used anywhere, anytime, on a wide variety of devices (so long as you have the proper credentials) – with built-in cybersecurity defenses.
SaaS platforms are perfect when you need a particular application to run smoothly and reliably with minimal reliance on your IT resources. SaaS solutions are extremely common and the right SaaS solution can provide value to almost any business.
Finding the Right Cloud Model for Your Business
Depending on your industry and your specific business needs, any one of these cloud computing service models may be a strong fit. However, it’s important to remember that cloud computing technology has a huge range of applications and capabilities.
By working with experienced cloud experts, you can truly maximize the returns on your tech investment. A managed services provider often has cloud specialists on staff who can help you find the right cloud model and assist you with the migration process.
Find the Right Cloud Computing Service Model by Working with a Trusted Partner
Now that you have some insight into the different types of cloud services, their benefits, and what they offer, you may be ready to make an educated decision.
At ITSco, our goal is to ensure the transition to cloud computing is as smooth as possible for your business. Our team of cloud specialists can help you determine which cloud model is the best fit for your needs, and guide you through the migration process.
Our premier cloud services include:
- Fair and transparent pricing
- Leading security and vulnerability management
- End-to-end IT consulting from expert C-level IT managers
- Tailored solutions matched precisely to your business’s needs
- A highly-skilled network operations team who understands your business
- A true partnership
For more information, contact us today to experience the benefits of the cloud.
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