What are the 3 types of Cloud Services?
Cloud Services give developers and IT departments the ability to focus on what matters most and avoid undifferentiated work such as procurement, maintenance, and capacity planning.
As Cloud Services have grown in popularity, several different models and deployment strategies have emerged to help meet the specific needs of other users.
Each Cloud Service and deployment method gives you different levels of control, flexibility, and management. Understanding the differences between Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Software as a Service, as well as what deployment strategies you can use, can help you decide which set of services is suitable for your needs.
What are Cloud Services?
The term “Cloud Services” refers to a wide range of services provided on demand to companies and customers over the Internet. These services are designed to provide easy and affordable access to applications and resources without the need for internal infrastructure or hardware. From checking email to collaborating on documents, most employees use Cloud Services throughout the workday, whether they know it or not.
Cloud Services are infrastructure, platforms, or software that are hosted by third-party providers and made available to users over the Internet.
Three Types of Cloud Services
Generally speaking, there are three basic types of cloud services: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Each facilitates the flow of user data from front-end clients over the Internet to the cloud service provider’s systems and back—but they differ in what is provided. Let’s have a look at the three types of cloud services:
1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS means that a Cloud Service provider manages the infrastructure for you—the actual servers, network, virtualization, and data storage—through an Internet connection. The user has access via an API or dashboard and essentially rents the infrastructure.
The user manages things like the operating system, applications, and middleware, while the provider takes care of all the hardware, networks, hard drives, data storage, and servers; and has responsibility for taking care of outages, repairs, and hardware issues. This is a typical deployment model for cloud storage providers.
Infrastructure as a Service, sometimes abbreviated IaaS, contains the basic building blocks for cloud IT and typically provides access to network functions, computers (virtual or on dedicated hardware), and storage space. Infrastructure as a Service gives you the highest level of flexibility and management control over your IT resources and is most similar to the existing IT resources that many IT departments and developers are familiar with today.
2. Platforms as a service (PaaS)
PaaS means that the hardware and application and software platform are provided and managed by an external cloud service provider, but the user manages the applications running on the platform and the data the application relies on. Primarily for developers and programmers, PaaS provides users with a shared cloud platform for developing and managing applications (an important component of DevOps) without having to build and maintain the infrastructure typically associated with the process.
Platforms as a Service remove the need for organizations to manage the underlying infrastructure (typically hardware and operating systems) and allow you to focus on deploying and managing your applications.
This helps you be more efficient because you don’t have to worry about resource acquisition, capacity planning, software maintenance, patching, or any of the other undifferentiated hard work involved in running your application.
3. Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS is a service that delivers a software application to its users – managed by a cloud service provider. SaaS applications are typically web applications or mobile applications that users access through a web browser.
Software updates, bug fixes, and other general software maintenance are handled by the user and connected to cloud applications via a dashboard or API. SaaS also eliminates the need to have the application installed locally on each user’s computer, allowing for better methods of group or team access to the software.
Software as a Service provides a finished product that is operated and managed by a service provider. In most cases, people referring to Software as a Service refer to end-user applications.
With a SaaS offering, you don’t have to think about how the service is maintained or how the underlying infrastructure is managed; just think about how you will use that particular software. A common example of a SaaS application is web-based e-mail, where you can send and receive e-mails without having to manage the add-on features of the e-mail product or maintain the servers and operating systems on which the e-mail program runs.
As the availability of Cloud Services gradually expands, so will their applications in the corporate world. Whether a company chooses to expand existing on-premises software deployments or move 100% to the cloud, these services will continue to simplify the way organizations deliver mission-critical applications and data to the workforce. From application delivery to desktop virtualization solutions and a wide range of options in between, Cloud Services are changing the way people work and the way businesses operate.
Choosing the best model of Cloud Services for an organization should be based on benefits, usability, cost efficiency, unique needs, and the size of the business. As Cloud Services can be a complex topic to navigate, consider speaking with an experienced Cloud Services expert to learn more about these models.
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