It’s safe to say now is the perfect time to adopt cloud computing and boost efficiency while future-proofing your business. But with several infrastructure options presented by the cloud, you might be confused by terms like IaaS, SaaS, PaaS and more. We don’t blame you. Although there’s no question that the cloud can bring various benefits to your organization, you must choose the right cloud infrastructure to ensure exactly that. So let’s take a look at the each of these services as well as their various benefits and drawbacks.
Infrastructure as a Service
Haas delivers cloud computing as an on-demand service. This means you’ll be able to access, monitor and manage remote datacenter infrastructures. These include computers, storage, networking, and networking services like firewalls. IaaS features a vast array of resources that are completely scalable. This makes it ideal if you’re looking for a cloud infrastructure but have a limited hardware budget.
However, regulatory compliance might affect whether your business can outsource data storage, or not. If so, IaaS may not be the best cloud model for your company. Managing applications, data, and other IT systems by yourself is probably overwhelming, and your best option is to enlist the help of a managed services provider to help you carry the burden.
Software as a Service
SaaS represents the largest cloud market and uses the web to deliver applications designed for end users. Think collaboration software like Office 365 or customer relationship management software like Microsoft Dynamics CRM. These applications are managed by a third-party vendor and can be run directly from a web browser -- no downloads or installations required.
SaaS software is easy to manage and doesn’t require any upgrades from your end. This helps streamline your cloud experience. What’s more, SaaS is beneficial if you deal with applications that need internet or mobile access. Everything can be managed by vendors, from applications and data to virtualization and servers.
Despite all that, SaaS might not be a good fit for you if you deal with applications restricted by the law or you are restricted from sharing data. While most vendors have adequately addressed these concerns, consult with your technology provider about any concerns you might have regarding data ownership issues.
Desktop as a Service
In a DaaS model, a service provider hosts your desktop in the cloud. This allows you to access your virtual desktop over the internet from most any device. Because you’re no longer tied to your office desktop system, you can leverage work mobility and in turn, productivity.
DaaS is easy to use and is highly customizable, allowing for easy migration to another platform. With DaaS, you won’t have to maintain any workstation software yourself or handle data, storage, backup, security and upgrades. This is ideal if you’re a small business that finds cloud computing necessary but have limited resources. Because all software and backend systems are taken care of for you, you’ll be able to allocate your IT resources for managing more important matters instead.
Still, you’ll be outsourcing your computing to a third party, which means trust is imperative for handling data. Data must be stored securely with full compliance. On top of these concerns, some DaaS vendors provide a service level agreement (SLA), a contract stating the level of service you can expect from the service provider, with hidden clauses. For example, they might provide 99.9% guaranteed uptime but take hours to fix issues. This is why you must be careful when examining your SLA.
Platform as a Service
PaaS is similar to Software as a Service, but offers a platform for creating software rather than offering software delivered over the web. With PaaS, your software can be completely scalable, feature high-availability, and work with SaaS.
Additionally, PaaS lets you test, host, deploy and maintain applications in various stages of development easily and cost-effectively. With that in mind, PaaS will benefit organizations that have multiple developers working on the same development. This is because it allows for a multi-tenant system whereby multiple users can manage a single account.
However, this is less than ideal if your business application needs to be portable or if development requires customization of hardware and software. Not only that, but integration of existing data within in-house legacy systems and PaaS-based applications can be complex and time consuming.
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to the world of cloud computing, but the reward will be worth your time. Remember to think about your business structure. What’s the size of your organization? Do you need control over the environment for customizations? What regulatory constraints do you face? What’s your budget? If you’d like to talk to a cloud expert, or are ready for a simple migration to the cloud, please feel free to give us a call. We’ve operated in the IT industry for years, and have leveraged the cloud since its inception. We’re sure we can address any of your concerns.