Wednesday 28 June 2017

Cloudy Judgement - SaaS, Paas and IaaS

While everyone understands cloud computing, most of us do get confused over Saas, Paas and Iaas. There are numerous articles on this topic all over the web, however there are very few which clearly distinguishes the differences between these cloud computing models. This article aims to bring those differences in a easy to understand.

Cloud computing is the umbrella term for various information technology related service which are provided on demand using consumption model.

The most common Cloud computing models are

SaaS: Software as a Service
PaaS: Platform as a Service
IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service

Each of these models has its own intricacies and hybrid cloud models also exists, but today I am going to help you develop an understanding of the high-level differences between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS.

SaaS: Software as a Service

Email systems like Gmail and Web based Cloud hosted apps like Workday, Salesforce or Concur are examples of SaaS.  Basically, anything that is considered as on-demand software which you can run without elaborate installation or setup is SaaS. In some ways, SaaS is like the well-known thin-client software model. In thin-client model, software sits in the server and web browser is used to access the software in the server. In case of SaaS the software sits in Cloud and accessed via internet/internet using browser or another interface. 
While most SaaS can be run without any installation, some require installation of plugin or interface.

SaaS Examples: Gmail, Quickbooks online, Salesforce, Dropbox, Google Apps, Salesforce etc.

PaaS:  Platform as a Service

PaaS functions at deeper level than SaaS and provides a platform on which software can be developed and deployed. PaaS providers enable the developers by providing a framework in which they can build or customize applications. 
PaaS makes the development, testing and deployment of applications quick, simple and cost-effective.

PaaS Examples: Google App Engine, Red Hat’s Openshift, Apprenda etc.

IaaS : Infrastructure as a service

As we move down the stack as per the below image we see IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service. These are the fundamental building blocks of the cloud services. 
IaaS contains highly automated and scalable computer resources which are coupled with cloud services and network capability. These resources can be self-provisioned, metered and are available on demand for the users. 
Instead of buying hardware outright, users can buy IaaS based on consumption, like electricity, gas or other utilities.

IaaS Examples: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metapod, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine (GCE) etc.

The right model to choose:
Choosing the right model depends on the requirement. In case of SaaS there is nothing to setup, users simply access the software / application hosted in the cloud. Also, you have no or very less control over cloud infrastructure. On the other hand, with PaaS, user needs to do some configuration or setup on the provided platform.  PaaS provides a little more control in the predefined environment such as .NET or SQL server.  Or the maximum control over the server resources and other basic building blocks of the application development and hosting IaaS is the right fit. 
However, with more control in IaaS, users also need to take more responsibility.They must take care of major responsibilities such as patching the server as and when needed.
While one may be able to setup applications via SaaS without any IT or software consultant support, it is often dangerous as many fails to implement the security and other critical aspects of the application. It is vital to work with the right consultant who can help with proper model and configurations per the needs. Thanks for stopping by and Have a great day!

   Srivatsan Aravamudan
   Telephone:+65 62689551
   Fax:+65 62689858
   Business Analyst - Snr Software Consultant.

  Title image inspiration - 

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