Understanding

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service) are the models of cloud computing and can be termed as the building blocks of modern computing. These on-demand cloud services are greatly considered by organizations during application and infrastructure deployment. The IaaS provides the user with the highly automated and scalable computing services with extreme flexibility and control. PaaS provides a platform to develop and deploy applications automating infrastructure provisioning. SaaS use the internet to avail the applications to its users, therefore, eliminating the need for installing and running the programs on the personal devices thus customer or an organization doesn't need to purchase additional hardware. The services provided automatically scale with an increase in demand and the users are charged based on the resources and services usage rather than on a monthly fee.

IaaS

The third party provides automated IT infrastructure resources which are only charged based on the rented resources by the company. The model performs monitoring of services such as networking and storage whereby it allows the customers to purchase the resources as required rather than buying hardware outright. IaaS delivers infrastructures to organizations through virtualization technology and allows the user to take full control of them. Some of IaaS providers include NaviSite, Google Compute Engine, Microsoft Azure and Exoscale.

CHARACTERISTICS
Resource Control:  The users/organizations are provided with complete control of infrastructure.

Flexibility:  IaaS is the most flexible cloud computing model and enables the automated deployment of servers, networking, and storage.

ADVANTAGES
Cost saving:  The pay as you go model provides cost savings since the IaaS is metered thus the organization pay for the required capacity at a given time. The model also helps in avoiding fixed monthly charges for unused services.

The IaaS saves IT staff time:  The cloud provider takes responsibility for the organizational stored resources thus making the IT team concentrate on building the business innovations to enhance productivity.

Scalability:  The customer can scale up and down in response to business requirements.

IaaS Allows You to Focus on Business Growth:  Organization which adapts to this model are able to focus their time and resources on business innovations which allow for profit maximization.  

DISADVANTAGES
Lack of Transparency:  Since the infrastructures are owned by the IaaS providers, the infrastructure configuration and performance are barely transparent to the user leading to difficulties in system management.

Poor Service Resilience:  When the IaaS providers experience internal or external downtime, the users’ workloads are greatly affected.

PaaS

The PaaS provides users with the environment and prebuilt tools to develop and deliver applications as well as customizing and testing those applications. The developers manage and maintain the applications while the enterprise manages all the servers, storage and networking. The PaaS is almost similar to the SaaS except that, it offers a platform for software development instead of delivering the software over the internet. The developers access the platform on the web and have freedom of building the software without having to worry about the software updates, storage, and operating systems. Example of PaaS providers is Google App Engine, Heroku and OpenShift.

CHARACTERISTICS
The PaaS is built on virtualization technology. The resources can be scaled up and down based on the business changes.

It provides various services to help with the development and deployment of applications.

Databases and Web services are integrated and many users can have access to the same development application.

ADVANTAGES
Cost Reduction:  The organization is only supposed to pay for what it needs thus saving for other business operations. There are also no software maintenance, upgrade, and replacement costs.

Application Testing:  With PaaS, it is easy and quick to test and implement newly developed applications. This ensures better business success.

Dynamic Scaling:  It is possible to scale up and down the resources based on on-demand features.

DISADVANTAGES
Platform Lock-In:  The applications are build using the vendors’ specific platform tools thus becoming too hard to switch or migrate the application to another PaaS providers.

Security Challenges:  The external vendor might store the application data and the databases via a further third party thus making it hard to completely access and test the security of those applications.

SaaS

The SaaS provides the users with access to software managed by a third party vendor where they are required to log in to the web or an API to access the application residing in a remote cloud network. The Saas customers enjoy the applications without worries about software development, maintenance, updates, and backups. They don't have to download or install the applications in their devices since the majority of the applications are run directly via the web or browser-based interface. The customers pay for only those applications they use which is cheaper than paying for a licensed application. Some of the leading SaaS providers include Microsoft, DropBox, Salesforce, Amazon Web Services, and Google G Suite.

CHARACTERISTICS
Managed from a Centralized Location:  The applications are installed at a central server rather than on individual machine thus no hardware installation is required. Applications are virtually accessible anywhere using the internet-connected devices.

No Customer Intervention in Software Updates:  The vendor is responsible for the software performance and maintenance thus obviating the need for customers to download the upgrades.

ADVANTAGES
Automatic Updates:  The customers are not required to purchase new hardware and software since the SaaS automatically perform patch management and updates. This reduces the work overload to the IT staff.

Affordable:  SaaS doesn't require an organization to install and run applications in data centers thus eliminating the expense of hardware acquisition, maintenance and software licensing.

Scalable Usage:  The SaaS provides the user with an opportunity of accessing the only on-demand features thus cutting unnecessary expenses. Accessibility and reliability- The users are able to access the services from anywhere as long as they have networked devices. The services can be obtained at any time since they are stored on the online servers on the internet.

DISADVANTAGES
No/Poor Internet Connection, No Application:  Low bandwidth can hinder customers from accessing the applications.

Security Breaches:  Service providers may bring unwanted changes to the services which may pose insecurity issues to customer data.

Suitability

SaaS Suitability:  Short-term projects requiring collaboration:  SaaS is ideal in cases where the application should run smoothly with minimal input.

In applications with demand for web services as well as mobile access and start-up businesses which don’t care much about software updates and server configurations.

IaaS Suitability:  Useful to organizations which require complete control over their applications and those don't wish to spend resources to procure hardware and software resources.

Suitable to growing organizations which have not yet decided on the application and don’t want to commit to hardware /software resources.

PaaS Suitability:  Suitable to organizations which have adapted to the agile methodology for software development and the ones which want to customize their applications.

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