The advantages of moving to cloud are vast, it is no wonder that the cloud services market is booming. The global public cloud services market is expected to grow to over $380 billion by 2020, according to a forecast by Gartner. By and large, organizations understand how they can benefit from moving their applications or infrastructure to the cloud. However, when it comes to choosing from different types of cloud models or the right cloud service, most organizations are unclear between IaaS, SaaS and PaaS and find it rather challenging to decide which one will best meet their needs.
In order to choose the right cloud service for your needs, it is important to first understand the difference and advantages of these three models.
What do IaaS, PaaS and SaaS mean?
For the uninitiated, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS are the three major types of cloud services. These abbreviations stand for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
IaaS is like a virtual data centre. It is a cloud service that provides basic computing infrastructure: servers, storage, and networking resources. IaaS allows businesses to purchase resources on-demand instead of investing in hardware. From hosting websites to running applications, IaaS serves a variety of purposes. Clients using IaaS are responsible for managing certain aspects such as applications, runtime, OS, middleware, and data.
Examples of IaaS: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP)
PaaS refers to a framework that provides runtime environments for developing, testing, and managing applications. PaaS offers built-in software components that can be utilized by developers for application/software creation. In this cloud model, the client can focus more on development and ensure that the development process is hastened and simplified, without having to worry about infrastructure middleware or OS maintenance.
Examples of PaaS: IBM Watson Cloud, Google App Engine, Heroku
In recent years, SaaS has become the most common category of cloud computing. The SaaS provider manages everything – all software and hardware are provided and managed by a vendor, so customers don’t need to install or configure anything. The application is ready to go as soon as the account is logged into with a username and password. SaaS software is hosted on a remote cloud network and can be accessed by the customers either through the web or APIs.
Examples of SaaS: Salesforce, Office365, Google Apps
Transport as an analogy
To understand the difference between these three models more clearly, we can take the analogy of transportation:
On-Premise – Hosting your IT Infrastructure on premise is like owning a car. With your own car, you are fully responsible for its maintenance, upkeep and if you want to upgrade, you will need to buy a new car.
IaaS: Using Infrastructure-as-a-service is like leasing a car. You can choose which car you want and drive the same whenever or wherever you want without owning the car yourself. You are not responsible for its maintenance and if you want to upgrade, simply lease a different car.
PaaS: Using Platform-as-a-Service is like hiring a cab. You don’t drive the cab yourself. You simply tell the cab driver where you need to go and pay for the ride.
SaaS: Using Software-as-a-Service is like taking the public bus. Buses have pre-determined bus routes and you need to take the same route while sharing the ride with other passengers.
Which cloud model you choose will depend largely on your goals. You may need to use a different cloud model for different needs. It also depends who is the target user and which model will satisfy the requirements of those users. If you are struggling with which cloud model is appropriate for you, our Cloud Experts can help you with choosing the optimal model.