We’ve been talking a lot about cloud computing and how businesses and individuals rely more and more on online platforms and applications. Around 60% percent of all corporate data is stored now in the cloud, according to a study by Statista.
In case you’re now making the decision to move to the cloud or maybe you want to go for a different cloud service model, and you’re wondering what terms like IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS mean, well, this is the article to read.
These are the various cloud service models that are at the heart of every digital transformation and understanding them is key to making the most out of the cloud.
So, what do these acronyms mean? How do they differ, and which one suits your needs the best? Read on and find out.
First up, what’s the Cloud?
Before we get into the specifics, let’s see what the cloud really is, just in case you’re not sure.
In simple terms, the cloud is made of a vast network of servers that store data and run applications over the internet, rather than on your local computer or server. And users can access and use the cloud power and storage based on needs.
Now, worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services was estimated by Gartner to reach $591.8 billion USD in 2023 (which is a 20.7% growth) with IaaS registering the highest growth rate (29.8%), followed by PaaS at (23.2%), and SaaS at (16.8%).
As IaaS is the cloud service model that has the biggest growth at the moment, let’s start with it.
IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service
IaaS provides the foundational building blocks that your business needs to manage and operate software.
It works like this, the cloud provider owns the infrastructure, and your business rents it. This means you have control over your rented infrastructure, including the operating systems, applications, and databases, but the underlying hardware and infrastructure are the provider’s responsibility.
This services model is perfect for businesses that want to start from zero but don’t want to invest in hardware.
With IaaS, you get:
- You’re renting virtualized hardware resources online, including servers, storage, and networking.
- It’s flexible, you only use and pay for what you need.
- Access to platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud.
- Perfect if you’ve got a tech team ready to build and maintain your applications but need the underlying infrastructure.
PaaS or Platform as a Service
Once you have your basic building blocks (from IaaS), you need a foundation and a structure to start. That’s PaaS – a platform that allows developers to focus on coding and innovating without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.
In this case, the cloud provider not only supplies the infrastructure but also provides a platform with tools for developing, testing and delivering applications. to build, deploy, and scale applications without worrying about the underlying infrastructure.
It’s a great option for development teams who want to create without worrying about the foundation.
- A platform to develop, test, and launch applications.
- Access to tools like databases, development frameworks, and application hosting.
- Access to platforms like Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure, Heroku.
- Ideal if you want to focus on building an application and not managing an infrastructure.
SaaS or Software as a Service
Software as a Service is the most popular type of cloud computing and that’s because it delivers a fully functional application over the internet.
In other words, SaaS allows your team to access and utilize software from a cloud-based environment, making it accessible from anywhere in the world.
This is ideal for companies who need access to complete software but don’t want to worry about their installation, setup, or maintenance, for example, Google Workspace, Dropbox, Slack or Salesforce.
With SaaS, you have access to:
- Ready-to-use software applications over the internet, without the need to install anything on any device.
- Subscription-based applications that are typically billed monthly or annually, with updates and maintenance handled by the provider.
Choosing the right cloud service model
So, which model should you choose? Well, it depends on your business goals and needs.
If you want your team to have full control and also manage all the systems, then IaaS is best for your business.
If you want to develop applications without worrying about the underlying platform, choose PaaS.
And if you want a cloud computing solution where everything is made and ready for you, then SaaS is the choice.
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all in the cloud. Your needs may change, and that’s why the cloud is amazing: it’s flexible and scalable. For example, you could start with IaaS, move to PaaS as your team grows, and use SaaS for specific applications.
Why does knowing these matter?
As you start your journey to digital transformation, understanding the differences between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS is crucial, each offering a unique set of features, benefits, and pricing models.
So, whether you’re a CTO in search of optimizing business operations, a developer creating the next big app, or just a tech enthusiast, you need to first know all about these cloud models so that you can take full advantage of all their benefits.
As always, reach out to us if you have questions about your move to the cloud.