In the world of cloud computing, there are several different delivery models to choose from. Different delivery models vary with respect to complexity, ease of use, cost, and suitability for any particular application. Choosing the right service type for any given situation will almost always involve an alphabet soup of acronyms. If you’re new to cloud computing it can be easy to get lost quickly. Lets take a look at three of the most basic and important cloud computing related acronyms that you should be familiar with as you evaluate how the cloud can benefit your business.
SAAS – Software As A Service
If you’ve used Google Apps or Salesforce.com, then you’ve used Software As A Service already without knowing it. SAAS is the generic term for any service that allows you to perform functions online that previously required installing and maintaining software on your local PC or laptop. The benefits of SAAS include no up-front cost for software licensing, perpetual upgrades that happen behind-the-scenes, and hardware independence. SAAS solutions are often the least complex for end-users, but the most complex for service providers. Examples: Salesforce.com, Google for Work, Office 365.
PAAS – Platform As A Service
Generally the realm of developers, PAAS providers manage all server and datacenter related issues. This allows developers to concentrate on designing, coding and testing. Application code is simply uploaded to a PAAS provider cloud, becoming immediately available for use without the need to to configure or manage server hardware, software or network elements. Not all PAAS involves complex applications written in languages like Ruby or Java. If you’ve written your simple business web site in HTML, and you upload that site to a web hosting service, you’re already familiar with the basics of PAAS service delivery. Examples: Heroku, Google App Engine, Amazon Elastic Beanstalk.
IAAS – Infrastructure As A Service
In the IAAS model, customer managed virtual machines run within a physical infrastructure owned and operated by a cloud services vendor. IAAS providers take care of rack space, power, cooling, server hardware, storage hardware, physical security and networking elements, allowing customers to concentrate on building and managing virtual servers that handle enterprise or public-facing applications. If you want to install and configure your own operating systems and server software, and you want to handle your own data management, backup, and scaling tasks, then you’ll choose IAAS over PAAS. IAAS is the most powerful and flexible of all cloud computing delivery models, but it also requires the most in-house technical expertise to use properly. Examples: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Engine.
Most businesses use a combination of cloud services spanning all three delivery models, so its easy to mix-and-match cloud services to meet your specific needs. If you’re interested in moving some of all of your operations into the cloud, but you’re just not sure where to start or what solution will best meet your needs, ask us! We’re happy to help.