Helping you to understand the three cloud computing models

Cloud computing has created new horizons that have required a shift in perspective for many organisations. The language that we now use to talk about this model of computing has changed too and there are many new acronyms to tackle. The three key computing models come with their own set of comprehension challenges. If you want to ensure you’re getting the most from cloud computing then you need to make sure you have the basics covered - ‘Saas’, ‘PaaS’, and ‘IaaS’ are the best place to start.

IaaS (Infrastructure As A Service)

Many people view IaaS as Level 1 when it comes to cloud computing. It is the simplest form of cloud computing with no applications or operating systems involved for the customer – instead, you’ll be given access, via a virtual interface, to pre-configured hardware resources. This could be something as simple as additional storage that you can use to take the pressure off your own hardware or extra bandwidth for your servers. Many of us don’t even realise that we’re already using IaaS services. Some of the most common include IBM SoftLayer and Amazon EC2.

PaaS (Platform As A Service)

The PaaS model of cloud computing is very much what the name suggests – the cloud computing approach is used to provide access to a platform that you can use to develop, initialise and manage applications. It’s incredibly useful because it removes the need for a business to develop its own infrastructure to handle applications – this can save a lot in terms of cost, resources and time. This model could include an operating system and a range of development tools and applications. IBM BlueMix and Google’s App Engine are two very popular examples of PaaS cloud computing models that have been widely used in software development. This model is also sometimes referred to as ‘middleware,’ as it is positioned between IaaS and Saas in terms of concept.

SaaS (Software As A Service)

If you’re looking for access to software that is simple, streamlined and easy then SaaS provides it. This computing model essentially makes it possible for a fully licensed and functional software product to be made available online on a subscription basis to users located anywhere in the world. All that you need to access this type of service is a web browser so it doesn’t usually matter what kind of operating system you’re working with. Salesforce and Office365 are two incredibly popular examples of SaaS, which is a model of cloud computing that has become very widely used, often without users realising that they are working with the cloud. One of the major benefits of SaaS is that it can be charged on the basis of services consumed, as opposed to a monthly fee that may not reflect the value that a user is getting.

The way that IT infrastructure is designed, managed and deployed has changed forever with the arrival of cloud computing. Together, SaaS, IaaS and PaaS provide the tools and systems to meet almost every possible IT need.

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