The IT industry, like other specialist industries, is brimming with jargon that is familiar to industry specialists like managed IT services providers, but can be confusing and frustrating to the clients utilising these solutions. Here’s some insight into the different as-a-service solution categories that you will come across when searching for managed IT services for your business, what they mean and examples of these services.
What are As-A-Service Categories?
There are three standard cloud computing models that are recognised as as-a-service solutions – IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). These offer different degrees of cloud management, with on-premises service models having zero cloud management and IaaS and PaaS having cloud management for specific, limited functions to SaaS having full cloud functionality.
IaaS utilises application programming interfaces (APIs) to manage only the lowest levels of network infrastructure. It is the as-a-service category with the most limited cloud management, utilising the cloud for basic applications like networking, data storage, virtualisation and servers.
Organisations using this solution access several considerable benefits, including access to the most flexible cloud computing model, the ability to easily automate networking, servers, processing power and more, and significant control over their infrastructure. It is also an effective cost-control solution, as cost scales according to consumption and resources can be onboarded as needed.
It’s the most common option for businesses with basic cloud computing needs, and good examples of IaaS include the more limited deployments of Amazon Web Services (AWS), as well as solutions like Cisco Metapod, Microsoft Azure, DigitalOcean and Rackspace.
Usually, it is the solution of choice for start-ups who are anticipating rapid growth, businesses looking for scalable cloud solutions, and larger organisations wanting the benefits of cloud technologies while still retaining a significant amount of on-premises data control and data management.
PaaS offers greater cloud capabilities while still retaining some on-premises control of applications and data but leaving the headache and cost of maintaining the underlying infrastructure to cloud providers. Organisations are able to access the resources and tools needed to create new solutions and deploy custom apps rapidly without having to employ and manage a highly-skilled on-site IT team.
It’s usually a good solution for IT in hybrid cloud environments, and good examples of PaaS include AWS ElasticBeanstalk, OpenShift, Heroku, and Google App Engine.
PaaS solutions are widely utilised because they are simple and cost-effective, they allow developers to customise apps while eliminating software maintenance tasks, their wide availability, and because they automate business policy.
SaaS is a fully cloud-based solution, allowing organisations to utilise and access the cloud provider’s applications that are running on the provider’s infrastructure. It is a fully off-premises solution that suits organisations that require multiple users to access applications internally and remotely, and are ideal where businesses want to dramatically minimise on IT maintenance. These are widely-used applications that include Salesforce, Dropbox, Cisco WebEx, MailChimp, and Slack.
Because of the way that the SaaS delivery model works, users don’t need to download and install the applications on each individual device, and the vendors manage all aspects of security and app management, including technical issues, servers and data storage. As a result, it is a very effective solution for business that want to eliminate time-consuming IT administrative tasks, and is widely used in ecommerce applications, for short-term projects, for applications that are only used intermittently, and for applications that need mobile as well as web access.
Find the Right As-A-Service Solution for Your Business
If you are interested in finding out more about IaaS, PaaS or SaaS, or comparing different cloud solutions, be sure to talk to our team. We are fully independent, so we work to find the best solution for your needs rather than trying to push your business in a particular direction. We put customer service, ethics and reliability first – not profits.