Getting to Know the Cloud: What are IaaS, SaaS and PaaS?

Getting to Know the Cloud: What are IaaS, SaaS and PaaS?

The cloud is host to thousands of applications and services that add on to an existing business network. The cloud is quickly becoming more popular, because it allows businesses to have enterprise services at a much lower cost than hosting these services internally. With cloud networking, several acronyms have popped up such as IaaS, SaaS and PaaS. Before you jump into the cloud, here is an explanation of the three main services providers offer.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS offers businesses virtual hardware. It offers any type of virtualized computing power that the internal network needs. Need extra hard drive storage? IaaS offers virtualized storage. Need extra IP addresses, load balancers or network connections? IaaS can handle these requests at a fraction of the price to companies that don’t have the funds to buy the equipment outright.

IaaS is also beneficial for companies running out of real estate space. Server rooms and networking equipment take up a lot of office space. With IaaS, the company can leave the space requirements to the cloud provider while still adding equipment to the network.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is probably the most popular and common cloud service on the Internet. Many people use SaaS and don’t even realize they are using it. SaaS provides companies with the servers and computing power to run software in the cloud. Users connect to that software using their browsers, so the company doesn’t need to worry about supporting multiple executables for multiple operating systems. The browser supports the application’s functionality.

The advantage for businesses is that the software runs in the cloud and remains available from any location. The business doesn’t need extra servers or hardware to run SaaS applications. The added benefit is for employees who travel. SaaS supports mobile devices, so employees who travel can open important business applications from anywhere in the world using a mobile device.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS is a type of service mostly beneficial to software developers. PaaS offers businesses a way to add environments to a network such as a data center, web farm or operating systems. Developers are given access to specific tools used to develop against these platforms. If your company supports multiple operating systems and customized coding, PaaS is beneficial for testing, coding, staging and production deployment.

PaaS is also beneficial if you need data processing power. SQL servers are generally expensive, especially if you need to support thousands of requests per day. PaaS gives businesses access to data centers that the business would otherwise not be able to afford. With big data, companies can generate high-level reports within seconds, which a single SQL server generally cannot accomplish.

These three services are the foundation of cloud services. Cloud services aren’t just for the business, any individual can take advantage of these services. Because you only pay for the resources you use, these services are generally much cheaper than purchasing hardware. Virtualization can turn the small business into an IT powerhouse with scalability for large, long-term growth. With hosted solutions businesses can focus on conducting their business while benefitting from the latest technology.

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