If you’re thinking about investing in cloud-based systems for your company, you may have some questions about the basics.
Terms like IaaS, PaaS, “hybrid” clouds, and other such jargon are thrown around by most vendors and IT companies – and it’s important to know what they mean, to make sure you get the systems that your organization needs to succeed.
So, in this quick guide, we’ll define some of the most common cloud-related terms, to help you get a better idea of what to expect from cloud systems, and make sense of the future of network-based computing. Let’s get started, and discuss both the most common web-based service models, as well as the ways in which the cloud can be deployed at your company.
Web-Based Service Models – SaaS, IaaS, And PaaS
First, we have to discuss the actual cloud products or platforms in which you can invest. A ”web-based service” is, essentially, any product that allows you to perform basic functions and tasks by using a cloud-based solution, rather than software that runs on your own computer, or your IT hardware. These take three primary forms:
- Saas (Software as a Service) – This is the most common web-based service model. You pay a company a certain monthly fee, usually based on your number of users. In exchange, you can use their software, which is usually accessible through a web interface. Microsoft Office 365 is a great example of this. Other examples would include the Salesforce CRM, and Adobe Creative Cloud software suite.
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) – As opposed to SaaS, which only allows you to run one particular application on a cloud-based platform, IaaS is much more flexible. Essentially, IaaS companies allow you to “rent” their IT equipment and platforms – like servers and computing power – and use them for whatever you want. Using IaaS, you can install and run just about any program on the cloud.
- PaaS (Platform as a Service) – PaaS can be thought of as a sort of combination of both IaaS and SaaS. The PaaS company delivers both hardware and software tools to their customers – usually those that are required for application development and deployment. A few examples of PaaS include Amazon’s AWS platform, and Microsoft Azure.
While there are some rare exceptions, most Vancouver cloud services & solutions fall into one (and sometimes more than one) of these categories.
Cloud Deployment Solutions – Hosted, Hybrid, And On-Premises
When it comes to actually deploying a cloud solution, you have three options, in most cases.
- Hosted – A hosted cloud solution is completely owned and managed by the cloud computing company. They’re responsible for the maintenance, upgrading, patching, and administration of the equipment or software that you’re using. This is the most common cloud deployment solution.
- On-Premises – Many cloud services and solutions can be hosted on your own, on-premises hardware. This is not as common, however, – because on-premises solutions eliminate many of the benefits of cloud computing, like unlimited flexibility and hands-off maintenance. However, in some cases, this deployment solution may be required for data security reasons.
- Hybrid – A “hybrid” system combines both on-premises IT infrastructure and cloud-based services. This is the model most commonly used by companies who are transitioning to a cloud-based model, but would like to maintain some control over their own equipment and software – while still enjoying the benefits of the cloud.
When choosing a deployment solution, you must consider the inherent advantages and disadvantages of each option – and which services your cloud provider offers. Do so, and you’re sure to make the right choice.
Stay Informed While You Navigate The World Of Cloud Services & Solutions
There are, of course, entire books you can read to gain a deeper understanding of the cloud revolution, and the business models and deployment solutions available to cloud companies. But, hopefully, this basic guide has given you the information you need to begin understanding the cloud – and how it can benefit your company!