“Cloud” topic is nowadays pretty hot and the amount of companies discovering its opportunities is constantly growing. There is a variety of reasons why businesses of different domains choose in favor of using cloud services. It offers a plethora of scenarios for business development, is convenient, easy, and cost-efficient. But there exist several types of cloud services, which need to be carefully considered before choosing one of them which fits best to this or that company. They are: IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service). In the article we compartmentalize all the aspects of each option and give some tips on how to choose the right model and not to be mistaken.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
Infrastructure as a Service includes computing resources, such as virtual servers, storages and networks. It may be said that it can be imagined as virtual computers where operating systems, software, applications can be installed on. The IaaS provider’s responsibility is to purchase the necessary equipment and prepare for exploitation. A customer just needs to connect to the infrastructure via the Internet and use its capacity for own tasks completion. Therefore the crucial difference between using an on-premise infrastructure and IaaS is that your IT team is free of the need to deploy, configure and maintain the physical equipment used by your application.
IaaS Strong Points
- Scalability in Compliance with Your Needs
There exist several types of cloud storages and computational capabilities offered by providers, which gives you an opportunity to scale the application according to your needs.
The equipment failure is not what you have to care about in case of using IaaS. If any component of the hardware does not function properly, it will not affect your infrastructure, since the providers allocate the system workload among several data centers and servers.
You pay only for resources or services you have used.
IaaS Weak Points
- Team Training Is a Must
If you use Infrastructure as a Service, you should take into account that allocation of time and resources to the inner staff training is inevitable, since the team members need to gain some skills on how to manage the new infrastructure. The crucial reason is the necessity to deal with data safety and backuping, which require some skills.
- Relatively High Costs in Comparison with SaaS and PaaS
As long as you rent the hardware infrastructure, you should be prepared for the fact that the expenses will be more significant relatively to Software as a Service and Platform as a Service usage.
Use of IaaS Is Appropriate When:
- You Need the Highest Level of Scalability
IaaS is the most scalable and flexible option in comparison with SaaS and PaaS. If we consider an ecommerce marketplace where the demand is constantly changing, for example it significantly increases during the sales season. In such a case the company’s server may be overloaded due to the huge amount of visitors. Usage of IaaS presupposes the possibility to expand and reduce the computational capabilities within minutes.
- You Use Big Data
IaaS is able to deal with huge workloads and is compatible with business analytics tools.
- You Want to Allocate Your Resources Rationally
Maintaining the server with your own efforts requires significant investments as you need to pay the rent, hardware and licenced software. If there are no experts among your team members who can evaluate possible risks and additional hidden expenses, considering the deployment of the IT infrastructure on the cloud is a more reasonable option from the financial standpoint.
PaaS (Platform as a Service)
Platform as a Service is primarily designed for companies developing their own software. Companies using PaaS need to manage only applications and data with no necessity to manage the infrastructure. Therefore, the provider’s responsibilities include operating system management, server, storage and network management.
In other words, developers do not need to create the software from scratch and can concentrate on other aspects of software development, such as application testing and its deployment.
PaaS Strong Points
- Economic Efficiency
Use of Platform as a Service may be a great choice when you intend to solve a problem of limited resources and decrease the operating costs, since there is no need to create an application from scratch.
- Reduction of Time Needed for Development and Quick Launch
PaaS vendors provide access to different libraries, frameworks, templates and other tools. Also a ready-made inner infrastructure allows to create prototypes pretty quickly which means the product launch at the earliest opportunity, and therefore maximizes the chances of success.
- Simple Maintenance
The PaaS provider is fully responsible for the server maintenance (including its creation, making updates, and configuration).
PaaS Weak Points
- Binding to PaaS provider and Dependence on Changes
Some changes in the Platform as a Service architecture made by vendors may cause serious problems. For example, you use a particular framework compatible with the cloud solution. In case a provider releases an update which requires another framework for further compatibility, you will have to: whether to change a PaaS provider, or switch to another framework.
- Absence of Configuration for Obsolete Systems
In case you use obsolete applications, it may turn out that they do not function properly with PaaS products. Therefore you will need to improve your application and proceed with investments in configuration changes for its flawless functioning.
- Coding Knowledge is Essential
To use all the advantages and possibilities of PaaS you need to have some basic coding knowledge.
Use of PaaS is Appropriate When:
- You Intend to Use Machine Learning
Platform as a Service allows to quickly develop applications on the basis of deep learning, such as facial recognition systems.
- You Work with Big Data Analysis
PaaS helps to process data sets due to the tools available in the cloud, so you just choose the necessary configuration.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
We all use various types of software in our everyday life for working and personal purposes.
Long time ago, when such a thing as SaaS application development didn’t exist, we had to use CD disks and install necessary programs on the hardware. Such an approach was quite risky, since in case of any equipment failure your data may be lost irrevocably. In the case of SaaS, a user gains access to the software via a browser or API (Application Programming Interface), which means that your data integrity does not depend on your hardware condition.
Using SaaS, customers pay for the license and needed functionality, where a provider owns and maintains all the infrastructure.
Read Also Benefits of SaaS Applications. Why Choose in Favor of This Kind of Software
SaaS Strong Points
- Ready-Made Solutions
Software as a Service providers offer ready-made products which are easy to configure and use.
Users do not have any bindings to the concrete hardware and location, so you can use the software from anywhere in the world if there is Internet connection.
SaaS solutions are affordable since you pay only for the provided functionality and service. In case you need to expand the standard feature set, you can pay extra and purchase the necessary functionality.
SaaS Weak Points
- Internet is Our Everything
Flawless functionality of Software as a Service solutions is heavily dependent on stable Internet connection. Therefore wherever you are, you should pay particular attention to the quality of the Internet for seamless work.
SaaS possesses a wide selection of features and is considered to be a universal solution for many types of business. But if you have some specific requirements, this option may not be suitable for you due to the lack of flexibility. Another problem is that Software as a Service solutions can hardly be integrated with other tools and applications since vendors normally provide limited support on these tasks, which entails additional investments.
Using SaaS presupposes transferring data to a vendor. In case your working processes involve dealing with sensitive information, data breach may be a real problem. That is why you should think carefully before you decide in favor of a SaaS solution.
Use of SaaS is Appropriate When:
- You Work on Short-Term Project
In case your project is relatively not long-lasting, it is advisable to consider SaaS as it can be configured in the shortest possible time.
- Accessibility Is Important for You
If you use SaaS by means of a laptop or a smartphone, and both options are essential for you, Software as a Service is a suitable choice.
- You Need a Quick Launch
If you are a startup which intends to launch a project as fast as possible, without problems of dealing with servers, use of SaaS can provide you with such an opportunity.
Each model listed above offers a certain feature set and opportunities for business. To choose the model which would suit you best, it is necessary to understand the difference between them, have a clear view of the opportunities each model can provide, and of course to understand your business goals.
If you have a project idea and are in need of an experienced team, please contact us, we will be glad to assist.