Cloud computing and its associated advantages have taken the corporate world by storm; whether cloud technology is used to deliver services (like Netflix) or used internally (like Microsoft Azure) no one can deny that this is the future of computing.
According to the most recent reports, nearly 90% of all organizations currently use some form of cloud computing to facilitate day-to-day tasks.
This is because the various forms of cloud computing like IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are faster, cost-effective, and much more secure than housing servers capable of processing data that flows through any given organization.
As with all new revolutionary pieces of technology, all the hubbub clouds (pun intended) the technical nature and the specific potentials of said technology.
Frankly speaking, cloud computing has uncovered potentials that we haven’t even fully utilized—which is why there’s still a lot to learn and a lot more to discover.
Having said that, we should continue revisiting the latest developments in the field to see what new tools we have at hand to become better service providers and organizations.
What Is Cloud Computing And How Does It Relate To IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS?
Traditionally, before cloud computing came on the scene, most organizations had to construct in-house server rooms to run their networks and software.
These servers cost immense amounts of money to acquire, maintain, and secure. The in-house servers handled all of the data computing needs for the organization from email management, right down to the various software subscriptions the company took on.
Cloud computing, on the other hand, eliminates the need for in-house servers and server rooms by allowing you to access remote servers which house your networks and software. You only need to pay for the cloud computing services that cover all your computing requirements instead of paying for a server room.
Most cloud computing services offer a wide range of tools at a fraction of the cost because they can divide the cost among their various clients.
For example, Microsoft Azure gives you access to the latest AI technology, basic data transfer, Virtual Machines, and a lot more.
You can basically run an entire organization without needing a single server at your location; instead, you simply access Microsoft’s servers through the internet to access all of these facilities.
IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS as Part of Cloud Computing
Computing is a generic term for what is really a complex concept; similarly, so is cloud computing. Cloud computing can be divided into three basic sub-categories:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)— You house your entire network infrastructure in remote servers; this can include virtual machines and storage space for your applications and data.
- Platform as a Service(PaaS)— Where a certain section of your IT infrastructure is outsourced to a service provider to get access to higher computing capacities.
- Software as a Service (SaaS)— You get access to specific software without needing to update your software; the vendor deals with upgrades, maintenance, and other issues related to the software itself.
IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are examples of cloud computing where various parts of your IT infrastructure are housed in server clouds based in remote locations.
Now that we have a basic understanding of cloud computing, IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS, let’s take a closer look at each of these sub-categories in greater depth.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Traditionally, organizations had to construct and set up these huge servers on-premises that could support their IT infrastructure.
Modern-day server costs are estimated at $1500 per month for a single rack; not counting the human resource costs incurred to maintain these servers.
Downtime could cost $100,000 a year—and this is just the minimum cost for a medium-sized server room; the larger your server room, the more these costs will rise.
IaaS is the modern-day solution to the hassle of getting your hands on and maintaining in-house server rooms.
The idea is simple; instead of getting servers of your own, you rent out servers at a remote location that are maintained by your service provider. The entire IT infrastructure is housed in these servers with state-of-the-art security and multiple failsafe protocols to make sure that your networks never go down.
Let’s look at some of the advantages of IaaS:
Your chosen cloud service provider will naturally have a much more robust infrastructure than what you could feasibly afford. It’s an industry standard to have redundancy rates of up to 99% to make sure that your networks never go down and the host continuously invests in improving their technology and hire experts to maintain your servers.
There are fewer functionality hiccups, and you also get more data processing power because of the infrastructural superiority.
Since your networks can process data much faster; you can use better software, work more efficiently, and make decisions much faster than your competitors. If you’re working with private servers, you can expect far more efficiency improvements than you would’ve thought possible.
Scalability Is Much Easier
As you grow and expand your business, you’ll need access to more infrastructural resources than before. Instead of acquiring more hardware for an in-house server room, you can ask your service provider, for more server space than before. This is a far more cost-effective model than expanding your own server capacities that takes up less time too.
The flexibility offered by IaaS is unparalleled and allows you to shift scales with much more fluidity than expanding in-house space. It’s a great advantage to have someone with space and capacity to allow you to expand your organization’s network infrastructure without too many problems arising in the process.
Much More Cost-Effective
If it wasn’t obvious enough, using IaaS is a much more cost-effective method of setting up IT infrastructure than investing in servers of your own.
Service providers have ample room to distribute their costs among each of their clients to lessen the financial burdens of setting up and maintaining server rooms.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
You can think of PaaS as a kind of specialization within an IaaS model—where IaaS only gives you access to only servers to use as you please, a PaaS model gives you access to an entire computing framework hardware, software, tools, and all.
The purpose of PaaS is to help facilitate the application development lifecycle from developing prototypes, the testing process, right down to the deployment of application and scaling—you have all the tools needed to complete it.
Most PaaS models also come equipped with licensed software and tools that you will need to complete all kinds of work. Common applications of PaaS include app development, business analytics, and much more. Think of it as a ready-to-hand environment, with built-in tools to help you complete your projects without the hassle of building one yourself as you would with IaaS.
Some advantages of PaaS include:
Shorter Time To Market
Since you don’t have to manage tool licensing or server maintenance, you can get right down to completing your various projects. The service provider will take full responsibility of keeping your systems up and running, while also providing you access to licensed analytics and development tools.
You only have to focus on making sure that your projects are meeting stipulated timelines.
With the elimination of logistical uncertainties and access to a server capable of processing huge amounts of information, you can expect higher productivity and efficiency. This reduces lead times and accelerates development lifecycles for a shorter time to market.
Reduces Development Costs
There are no resources that you will have to fully pay for because all the services are covered in the charges you’ll pay as part of your package. Even expanding your server space or getting your hands on new tools is more affordable compared to working with in-house servers. This can significantly reduce your overall development costs.
Cross-Platform Development Is Easier
One major advantage of PaaS is access to tools that help you develop apps for different platforms at the same time. Whether you’re looking to develop apps for mobiles, computers, different OSs, or other kinds of devices; it’s much easier to develop them through PaaS than through your own servers.
Frees Up Internal Sources
There are many organizations that use PaaS solely for development or to run business analytics. This allows them to maintain in-house servers that they dedicate to day-to-day work while dedicating their application development to only the servers they’ve hired through PaaS. This reduces the pressures on your internal hardware and resources to run two streamlined work processes in parallel without any delays.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service is the final kind of cloud computing that’s focused on application delivery rather than application development or IT infrastructure.
The most common application of SaaS as mentioned before is Netflix that works on a subscription-based model whereby Netflix subscribers can access the application through the internet on their personal devices in exchange for monthly payments.
This need not mean that you as the creator of an app can use this model to deliver your app; rather your service provider can give you cloud access to apps on their servers.
The licensing fees are covered as part of your subscription and are generally less costly than getting licensing yourself, which is why plenty of organizations go for SaaS instead of getting subscriptions of their own.
The advantages of using SaaS include:
Your service provider will manage all the updates and will make sure that the software keeps working without your intervention. All you need to do is keep up with your payments and the host will handle the rest. Some service providers even offer training on how to use the software to its full potential.
Cost Advantages and Flexibility
Your service provider will charge you a fraction of the cost that you would have to pay if you got a subscription on your own. The server owner usually invests in bulk subscriptions that they divide between customers and even allow you to scale up to acquire new functionalities as your organization grows without much-added cost.
Lower Time To Benefit
Service providers preconfigure all the software depending on which functionalities you need to hand you a ready-made software equipped with only those tools that you will need. This makes it easier to integrate your software to make them a part of your work processes.
IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are great alternatives to getting your own servers and subscriptions.
The low costs, ease of integration, greater flexibility, and reliability of working with remote servers gives you a greater degree of freedom and efficiency compared to in-house servers.
Given the potential of cloud computing and the various outsourcing options associated with it, it’s no surprise that IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS have taken the corporate world by storm.