Cloud technology has ushered in lots of impressive tech solutions that are helping businesses of all kind optimize their operations. Basic tech functions like hosting and data backup are now more efficiently executed thanks to the use of tools that incorporate cloud technology.
It is, however, important for businesses or organizations that intend to utilize cloud technology to understand the various models of the innovative tool as well as their functions.
Conventional cloud services are split into three important models; there is the Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and of course, the much popular Software as a Service.
While a disparity in the functionality of several features is responsible for the differences between these cloud service types, the most apparent factor that controls the classification of these models is the number of the functions that are handled by the user or left in the hands of the service provider.
As a Service
Before delving into the description of the three major cloud models, it is important that a little light is shed on a critical part of these cloud services. The term “as a Service” can be used to describe tech solutions that are scalable, paid on-demand, self-service, and API accessible.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service, which is often referred to as cloud application services, is certainly the most widely used option in the corporate world among the trio of cloud service models. Using the internet as a portal, the service delivers the application to end users under the management of a third party vendor.
In layman’s terms, this simply means that the entire software is hosted on the infrastructure of another party and then presented to the user base of the client in the form of a website portal.
With this model, the client only has to connect to the hosting server of the software; every other aspect of the management process like the installation of upgrades are handled by the third party. If the client is fortunate enough, however, access to a few customization tools may be granted.
Software as a Service Delivery
The web delivery model applied by SaaS helps to ease the IT burden usually placed on the personnel of the firm. By bypassing the process of download and installation, the client will only have to deal with managing the user-end of the application even as the vendor handles the technical aspect.
The framework of the SaaS model is designed in such a way that the infrastructural elements of the software like servers, middleware, and data remain under the control of the cloud service provider; hence, meaning all technical queries from end users will have to be rechanneled to them.
Features of Software as a Service (SaaS)
There are apparent features that can be used to identify a SaaS-based application and they are briefly listed below:
It is always managed from a central location
The server used to host the software is remotely located
It is most often times accessed via the internet
The clients aren’t really in charge of managing the application’s infrastructure; hence, aren’t responsible for the downloading and updating of software as well as the repair of hardware.
Advantages of Software as a Service (SaaS)
The advantages of using SaaS for a software project are enormous but they mostly fall under the umbrella of usability.
One of the major perks of applying SaaS to a tech project is that it is pretty cheap compared to the available options.
The SaaS also saves clients lots of time that would have been wasted on cumbersome installation processes.
With most companies and organizations enduring frustrations when attempting infrastructure maintenance, it is a huge relief to have a solution that completely removes such a burden from them.
The client also doesn’t have to worry about upgrading software and updating features.
Managing the software becomes less stressful since the client only has to worry about handling issues at the user end of the system.
When to Use Software as a Service SaaS
There are certain circumstances that are ideal for the use of the SaaS model though it does seem as if it is perfect for most projects. The use of SaaS is, however, paramount in the following cases:
When a startup wishes to launch an e-commerce platform but doesn’t want to deal with the installation and management of servers and software.
SaaS also comes quite handy for short-term projects that involve collaboration between multiple entities.
Most organizations that own less popular applications make use of SaaS because the services that they offer aren’t really in demand and SaaS is both easy and cheap to maintain.
If an application requires web access to properly function then the solution for it is to use the SaaS model. This is also the case for those that must be accessed via a mobile device.
Examples of Applications using the SaaS Model
The most popular tools that belong to this list are Dropbox, Google Apps, Cisco WebEx as well as Salesforce.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Like the name suggests this cloud service model functions by incorporating cloud technology into the core component of the software but limiting its influence and leaving the rest of the software customization process in the hands of the developers.
Simply put, the application executes its function with the aid of its cloud component but still remains accessible to the client who is able to modify various customizable features.
In a PaaS arrangement, the storage and networking infrastructure, as well as the servers, are either managed by the client company or the cloud service provider. The development of the application itself, however, is overseen by the team of developers.
This PaaS model is usually implemented when the company or organization still wants some level of control perhaps because the application plays a critical role in its operations.
Platform as a Service Delivery
Though PaaS has a delivery mechanism that is akin to SaaS, it still has few modifications that slightly alter the way it is delivered to end users. The PaaS model is simple really; while the more conventional SaaS provides an application that is displayed to the final user via the internet, PaaS only makes available a platform that is used for the development of the software.
The platform, however, is delivered to the developers across the web and gives them the freedom they need to be able to concentrate on the development process. The PaaS also gives the developers the luxury of not needing to concern themselves with other issues like the updating of the software, the management of the operating system as well as the management of other infrastructures like storage.
With PaaS, businesses and organizations can have both creative and technical control of the design process and basically create ideal applications that are incorporated into the cloud framework, which is delivered by the third party vendor.
Applications built with the aid of the PaaS model are usually quite scalable since the development process is assigned to experts that apply bespoke methods in order to create highly customizable software.
Its cloud component simply helps to facilitate a smooth delivery process to the end user and optimize the software for efficient performance.
Features of Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS has a lot of apparent features that distinguish it from other cloud service models. Among them are:
Resources that are quite scalable for a variety of businesses since the model is created with the framework of virtualization technology.
The presence of components that help businesses manage every stage of app development including testing, development, and of course, deployment.
Multiple end-users are able to make use of a single application, which helps in creating uniformity.
It also allows for the integration of an extensive database as well as the incorporation of web services.
Advantages of Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS comes with some perks that make it the best option for certain businesses. Lots of its advantages, however, stems from the flexibility of the development process, which makes it very customizable.
The PaaS model is also simple and pretty much cost-effective when one considers the amount of control it allows businesses to have.
Its scalability is perhaps its most prominent feature since it can be upgraded or downgraded based on the status of the business.
It also makes it easy for developers to customize the applications they build since they will not have to worry about managing them.
The amount of coding that is needed when implementing the PaaS model is lower.
PaaS allows businesses to incorporate their brand into the developed software and it, hence, strengthens the relationship they build with their clients.
It facilitates the migration to a hybrid model
When to Use Platform as a Service (PaaS)
While multiple situations warrant the use of PaaS as a cloud service solution, the circumstances where the Platform as a Service model becomes the obvious option include:
When there are more than one developers working on a project and the business is in need of a speedy and flexible development process that is void of design errors.
PaaS also comes in handy when the business wishes to include the cloud service vendor in the development process.
With many businesses looking to have highly customizable software, the PaaS model provides them with the avenue to incorporate distinct elements that modify the designs and functions of the applications.
With the cost of the service being quite affordable, the PaaS is certainly one of the better options available for businesses and organizations.
Examples of Applications using the PaaS Model
Examples of software developed using the PaaS Model include Windows Azure, Force.com, Heroku, Google App Engine, and AWS Elastic Beanstalk.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS is a less commonly used cloud service model in which the entire cloud infrastructure is procured by the client and used to set up the application. With this arrangement, the business is in charge of the computing, storage, and network management. It also has control of the O/S in use and is able to customize every feature of the developed software.
Infrastructure as a Service Delivery
The IaaS model is implemented by delivering the infrastructure for cloud computing to the organization or business via virtualization technology. This includes elements like network, servers, storage as well as operating systems. The cloud server as usually is accessed via an API or a dashboard with the client having full control of the infrastructure’s management.
Simply put, IaaS offers a setting that is quite similar to conventional data centers with the main difference being the absence of physical facilities. The clients are able to directly access their virtual servers and storage, which are outsourced through virtually located data centers.
Though the client is given direct access to the virtual servers, the management of the servers still remains the responsibility of the third party vendor.
Features of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
The main features of the IaaS model are:
Access to both the service and the facility, which gives the business a great level of control
It is quite costly since the client is also requesting access to the infrastructure
It is highly scalable and can be modified to fit different businesses
Most often time it involves different organizations pulling their resources together in order to make use of one cloud service
It is very flexible and also quite dynamic
Advantages of Infrastructure as a Service IaaS
It is definitely the most flexible option for businesses and organizations
It is able to facilitate the automated deployment of networking, storage, processing powers as well as servers
Clients are able to control and manage their cloud infrastructure
It is very scalable
When to Use Infrastructure as a Service IaaS
IaaS is definitely the best option for large corporations that wish to have control over the operations of their cloud backed software.
It is also an ideal solution for fast-growing businesses that want to upgrade their cloud delivery system and optimize the performance of their software
Examples of Applications using the IaaS Model
Examples of applications using this model include Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, DigitalOcean, and Google Compute Engine etc.
No cloud service model can outrightly be regarded as the best option available; however, each of the options exhibits unique features that make it suitable for a particular group of corporate entities. Therefore, businesses on the lookout for cloud solutions should only focus on services that perfectly fit their operations.