Cloud computing solutions offer a wide range of benefits to businesses, from lowered costs to better disaster recovery, and UK businesses are catching on. The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) found that 88% of UK businesses are now using cloud services, which is an increase of 83% since their research first started in 2010. But once the decision has been made to utilise cloud computing, IT managers must determine which model of cloud services to use: IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS. Most modern companies use a combination, as each offers a different type of solution, which our IT experts explain below.
What is IaaS?
IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service, works in a similar manner to traditional computer hardware (i.e. servers, networks, operating systems) but operates in a virtual capacity. Instead of buying the physical hardware, IT managers can purchase the infrastructure as a virtual service through an IaaS provider. These are easily scalable and offer flexible cloud computing as well as complete control over the infrastructure for your company. Examples of IaaS include Amazon Web Services and Google Compute Engine.
What is PaaS?
PaaS, or Platform as a Service, refers to cloud services that provide a framework that companies and developers can use to quickly and easily build (and customise) applications. This model allows developers to focus on the application software without having to manage operating systems, software updates, and other infrastructure matters. IT managers simply need to think about the management of the application software itself. PaaS examples include Microsoft Azure, the Google App Engine and Apple Developer Xcode.
What is SaaS?
Software as a Service (SaaS) is the most prevalent type of cloud service and provides software like email, word processing, collaboration software, design software and a whole host of other applications. SaaS applications are usually accessible directly through a web browser, removing the need to install applications on individual workstations. Operating systems, applications, data, servers, storage, and more are all managed by the vendor, so the IT manager only has to worry about the use of the software and providing access to employees. Examples of SaaS include Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365 and Google G Suite.
IaaS vs. SaaS vs. PaaS
The main differences between the IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS models lie in control and cost.
With SaaS, companies have less control as the vendor manages applications, data, operating systems, storage, networking, etc., but the cost is relatively lower. SaaS is ideal for smaller companies looking to use cloud computing to reduce costs and for companies in industries with fluctuating demands.
PaaS offers companies control over their applications and data while the vendor manages operating systems, middleware, runtime, etc., and the cost is moderate. PaaS is ideal for companies looking to create and control their own applications without the hassle and complexities of networking, running servers, and coding from the ground up.
Finally, the IaaS model offers companies more complete control over their applications and infrastructure without having to commit to investing in physical servers, networking, and storage (which are taken care of by the vendor). The cost is higher than the other cloud computing models due to the greater complexity of the services offered.
Which is best for you?
Depending on the needs of your business, you may want to pursue one, or all three, types of cloud services. Many larger businesses retain a combination of traditional hardware and cloud computing solutions, but increasingly SMEs are adopting cloud based services as well. For a free consultation to find out what is best for your organisation, click below, or contact CMI—the business IT experts on 0800 023 2696.
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