Cloud Computing in general is a very broad term that encompasses any computing resource delivered over the internet. However, it can be broken down to one of three different types of solutions; PaaS, SaaS, and IaaS.
PaaS (Platform as a Service) provides a framework and supporting services for your company to develop custom applications that run on the providers platform. Since the application runs on the providers platform, it can scale from just a few users to millions of users very easily. It’s perfect for providing a web-based service to the public that may grow at a fast pace. Examples of these are Comcast and Netflix, both of which run on Amazon Web Services Lambda Platform.
SaaS (Software as a Service) is probably the most common cloud type. If you go to a webpage and login to use a piece of software, you are using SaaS. As many traditional software vendors are moving to this model. Instead of selling software for a one-time cost and hoping for renewals or service agreements, they are billing per month per user and providing their application over the internet as SaaS. Examples are QuickBooks Online and Salesforce.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) provides virtual servers, workstations, and networking equipment over the internet. It’s the most flexible but also the hardest to maintain, usually requiring the same level of IT support traditional infrastructure would require. Because it provides full desktop and server functionality, the user isn’t limited to only applications supported or offered from the vendor. They can run anything that can be installed and configure the environment any way they want but they are also responsible for security and maintenance of the virtual servers and workstations.
The best choice is different for every business. Some industries are well served by multiple SaaS vendors while others have been slow adopters and may need to leverage an IaaS approach. Moving to the cloud is a big decision that requires a lot of research and planning. If your company is considering a move to cloud, please reach out for a free assessment!