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PaaS, IaaS, SaaS – choosing what you need.

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  • Synergy Research reported that IBM had 7 percent of the cloud infrastructure market
  • These major platforms probably only went all-in on flexbox fairly recently
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For someone who isn’t very closely following the IT industry, the number of acronyms they use can be cruelly confusing, especially when it’s about cloud computing. There are three essential sectors in cloud computing services, namely; Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

In this article, we will explain each one on them, along with its benefits and drawbacks, to make sure you choose the right one for your company.

Infrastructure as a service

SaaS is known for its freshness and flexibility in the entry, but that doesn’t mean you should regularly change the direction of your organization’s objectives to ‘have it all.’ It is essential to define your strategy and stick to it. 

IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) gives its users cloud-based alternatives to on-premise Infrastructure to aid businesses cut down costs in on-site resources.

In the IaaS model, customers can make provision, manually or automated and code, infrastructure resources for compute instances, storage and data repositories, networks, security services, and other fundamental utility services such as backup. IaaS is also used to build and implement their software, including an operating system as well as off-shelf tools for inside use. 

They are used for managing the cloud stack operations like operating system layer, operating systems, data, and application stack security (databases, middleware, programming language framework).

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Compute Engine (GCE) are some examples of IaaS.

Platform as a service

PaaS (Platform as a Service) provides the application stack layer to the user. The application stack is on top of the infrastructure layer to ensure the application layer functions as a service to the user. PaaS consists of a development and deployment environment, including the software development framework of operating systems, development tools, and programming interfaces such as .net, java, and python.

Features such as scalability, high availability, and multi-tenancy are also made available in PaaS. Users can focus on building and deploying software as Infrastructure and application stack management is taken care of by the PaaS providers.

Customers also have access to database systems and business analytics in this model.

Microsoft Azure, Oracle, IBM, Pivotal Cloud Foundry are some popular PaaS providers.

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SaaS (Software as a service) is relatively new to this game. SaaS companies deliver the complete application to the customer through the internet. The SaaS provider will handle all the Infrastructure, application logic, and deployment. Users have to manage the parameters and user management.

Google Apps, Salesforce, Dropbox, and Slack are some well-known SaaS providers.

Benefits and drawbacks

PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS are all build based on cutting costs of purchasing entire software by renting softwares on a subscription based model and to enable the even smaller business to use the benefit of reducing-edge technological developments at a nominal price. But there is also an issue of trust by letting a cloud-based party handling all your data. Some people fear that there is too much at stake in doing so.

These services are used for proper communication, collaboration, and cooperation to help an enterprise function smoothly for increased efficiency. 

IaaS can be highly useful if appropriately deployed due to its highly flexible and scalable tendencies. 

IaaS requires a fully developed and functioning operations model, and undeniably trustworthy security stacks that go will work with the users without being much of a hindrance while operating. 

But due to the vast availability of these services, organizations work vendors of their preference like Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce etc. that best suits their needs.

They reduce the need for an internal development team to build an application from scratch, which saves time that goes into development efforts. They are usually extremely costly and will take years to make. By choosing a service provider, you also don’t need to worry about fixing the bugs and errors.

And for PaaS, there are some limitations such as vendor lock-in in terms of features and the inability to create extreme customizations. It is hard to migrate to another platform if there is a need to switch. 

With SaaS, there are no requirements for any development or deployment. It requires minimal effort from the user. Software is accessible from anywhere on most devices, based on subscription. 

But at the same time, custom developments on SaaS are not possible, and you have to wait or the developers to release new features.

Choosing what you need

Though these appear similar, when you are choosing between these three, you should analyze what your business needs. Your purchase should aid the business. You should decide if you are going to upload your data in the cloud as some companies prefer to keep some data in-house.

Some of your regularly used applications may not be suitable for the cloud and will require expensive investments or the need to switch to an alternative that might not be as comfortable as the one you prefer.

Any services that you are using or building should be suitable for cloud-based computing and should use cloud models.

You must make sure that you will be able to achieve your goal by comparing it against its cost and feasibility.

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