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IaaS, PaaS, SaaS: What is Cloud Computing?

IaaS, PaaS, SaaS: What is Cloud ComputingCloud computing (IaaS) offers efficiencies and conveniences to help your business succeed—and grow.

We talked earlier about cloud storage and the types of services available through managed Cloud providers. Although vendors offer different packages, Cloud services usually consist of these basic features:

  • Cloud services are usually cost-effective because the resource is spread over many consumers, or tenants. Instead of each business needing a server in their office, businesses buy into a larger utility. Similarly, each business no longer has to employ specialized IT staff to maintain their servers. Depending on your needs and budget, hybrid, public, and private Cloud computing options are available.
  • A big advantage of Cloud computing is the capability to spread end-user functionality across devices—desktop, tablet, or other mobile device.
  • Cloud computing is basically self-serve. Sign up for and use the services you want and need without the retooling and installation formerly associated with back office IT. With Cloud computing, you can rapidly scale up—or down—as business needs fluctuate.
  • Cloud subscriptions usually let you pay for what you use. Fees reflect the services you need along with metering of the amount of data that you use.

A Cloud computing environment has different components. Some of the first adopters of Cloud computing were companies that offered customer relationship management (CRM) services to help companies manage, improve, and respond to their customers. A CRM service is often a service-as-a-software (SaaS) tool.

SaaS is just one aspect of Cloud architecture. Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service are others. What’s the difference?

IaaS plus PaaS equals SaaS

Like the Information Superhighway, the Cloud can be loosely considered like the roads that connect our neighborhoods, cities, and country. The fundamental infrastructure is the roads and bridges ready for use.

Here some basic points about IaaS, PaaS, and Saas:

  • In a Cloud environment, you can subscribe to and use infrastructure (IaaS), a platform (Paas) and software that runs on the platform (SaaS).
  • When you subscribe to SaaS, you are actually getting a bundle that includes applications and services, plus the platform the apps run on (PaaS), and the infrastructure the platform depends upon (IaaS).
  • When you subscribe to PaaS, your bundle includes the operating system and middleware capabilities to develop and run your applications, plus the IaaS.
  • Subscribe to IaaS alone and gain the capability to manage your networking, virtualization, servers, and storage. These are the underlying infrastructure tools that would usually be included in a PaaS or Saas product.

Your choice of IaaS or SaaS, and what type of Cloud environment you select, is important to your business. While cost-effective, a public Cloud is a multi-tenant ecosystem. It is a shared space, with some tenants drawing down more resources than others at what could be pivotal times for your business.

In addition, if you have PCI DSS or HIPAA compliance concerns, a private Cloud option could offer your best security and control capabilities. Investigate and choose the Cloud solution that works for you.  Without the hefty installation and maintenance fees, you can always add or drop services as needed.

When you have questions about Cloud service options or network security, give us a call.

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