The cloud is one of the most important elements for companies today, from small to global companies. But in practice, it remains a broad concept that encompasses many possibilities. As you begin to consider moving your business to the cloud, be it for application or infrastructure implementation, it is essential to understand the differences and advantages of different services.
Although the types of services are growing every day, there are generally three cloud models that you should consider as the most sought after:
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
These acronyms are everywhere and are often used indiscriminately and even mistakenly. Our goal here will be to put a little bit of clarity on what they are and how they can be used to help you plot your cloud computing strategy.
For each of them, we will examine the concept, the benefits and their applications. We will also help you understand the main differences between SaaS, PaaS and IaaS so that you can choose the right option for your organization.
IaaS, PaaS and SaaS definitions
We will now know the definition of one of these solutions:
SaaS: Software as a Service
Software as a Service, also known as cloud application services, represents the most common option used by companies in the cloud market. SaaS uses the internet to deliver applications, which are managed by a third party provider, to its users.
Most SaaS applications run directly through your web browser, which means that they do not require any client-side downloads or installations.
SaaS offers numerous advantages for professionals and companies, significantly reducing the time and money spent on software installation, management and updating tasks. This frees up a lot of time for the technical team to devote to more urgent issues and issues within the organization.
PaaS: Platform as a Service
Cloud platform services, also known as Platform as a Service (PaaS), provide cloud components for certain software.
In practice, this service provides a framework for developers who can build and use it to create custom applications. All servers, storage and network can be managed by the company or by a third party provider, while developers can maintain complete application management.
No matter the size of your company, using PaaS offers a number of advantages, including:
- Development and implementation of simple and economical applications;
- It is highly available and scalable;
- Significant reduction in the amount of coding required.
IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service
Cloud infrastructure services, known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), are highly scalable, automated computing resources such as a virtual machine. IaaS is fully self-service to access and monitor computers, network, storage and other services.
IaaS allows companies to purchase resources on demand as needed, rather than having to purchase hardware immediately.
IaaS offers many advantages, including:
- The most flexible cloud computing model;
- Easy to automate the deployment of storage, network, servers and processing capacity;
- Customers maintain complete control of their infrastructure;
- Highly scalable.
How and when to use IaaS, PaaS and SaaS solutions?
We will understand when solutions can and should be used, depending on the problems that exist in organizations.
How to use IaaS
If you are responsible for an enterprise data center, you know that in order to activate and maintain any application it is necessary to consider absolutely all aspects related to the system’s hardware and software.
The first block of concerns includes basic issues such as physical space, energy and cooling, in addition to the assembly of the entire internet access infrastructure, local area network, load balancers and secure remote access. Completing this block you should think about your servers and storage devices that your application requires.
When we move to the cloud environment, this first block of elements is offered as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). In other words, when hiring an instance or virtual machine like IaaS, you take a server with storage that is connected to a network and you don’t have to worry about any physical aspects of that hardware.
It is up to you to access these machines and install all the necessary software. Major IaaS providers include Amazon Web Service, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform.
How to use PaaS
We know that for the application to work properly there is still a concern with important issues such as the Operating System, its updates, adjustments and protections. We also need some kind of front end like HTTP servers or session virtualizers. Finally, we need to install and maintain a database on the available storage device.
When this second block of elements is part of the cloud offering, we are talking about Platform as a Service (PaaS). PaaS offerings are often tied to specific development frameworks.
This is important because the operating system, database and front-end issues are tuned to work well in a given environment. That way you can hire PaaS to run your .NET, Java, PHP, Ruby on Rails or Django application among others.
Typically the PaaS provider offers some environment options for each type of framework and you will have to adapt to these restrictions. That way, you are responsible for developing the application code and just have to follow some procedures to export that code to the PaaS infrastructure.
The maintenance of the production environment is the responsibility of the PaaS provider who keeps the entire system completely automated. In addition to Google and Microsoft, other providers are available and scaling an application is very simple.
How to use SaaS
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a complete proposal where you only use the software that the provider has developed. In this case, your only concern is with the customization of the software in order to guarantee its efficiency and good use.
The vast majority of SaaS offerings are based on Web applications where all users access via a browser. The most common examples include Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365 where you can purchase email services and office applications in the cloud, or SalesForce and Pipedrive that offer sophisticated CRM solutions.
Solutions to Different Problems
As can be seen, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS serve different purposes and are therefore complementary solutions. If you have a specific application with many peculiarities, it is likely that only IaaS can serve you in the cloud.
If you have an application developed on the most well-known frameworks on the market, it is likely that PaaS is the fastest and easiest way to migrate to the cloud, taking advantage of all the automation that this model offers.
Finally, if your needs fit into ready-made solutions, SaaS offers the fastest alternative to using the cloud.
Orchestration and Automation
For IaaS and PaaS models, it is essential to analyze the orchestration and automation tools that are available from the provider and how you can interact with them to ensure that the solution’s scalability is as smooth and automatic as possible.
In addition, this tool facilitates all tasks related to the high availability of your system and the assembly of Disaster Recovery strategies. The offers vary between different providers and generally the most complete and flexible solutions allow your application to be more easily ported to the cloud, enjoying the benefits of this environment more efficiently.If you want to take this important step and rely on IaaS, PaaS and SaaS solutions, contact our team and check out the options that Sky.One can offer and support your organization!