Types of cloud computing services
The most common and widely adopted cloud computing services are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
What is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS):
IaaS is a cloud computing model where virtualized infrastructure is offered to, and managed for, businesses by external cloud providers. With IaaS, companies can outsource for storages, servers, data center space and cloud networking components connected through the internet, offering similar functionality as that of an on-premises infrastructure. Some examples of the wide usage of IaaS are automated, policy-driven operations such as backup, recovery, monitoring, clustering, internal networking, website hosting, etc.
The service provider is responsible for building the servers and storage, networking firewalls/ security, and the physical data center. Some key players offering IaaS are Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, GoGrid, Rackspace, DigitalOcean among others.
What is Platform as a Service (PaaS):
PaaS builds on IaaS. Here, cloud vendors deliver computing resources, both cloud software and hardware infrastructure components like middleware and operating systems, required to develop and test applications. The PaaS environment enables cloud users (accessing them via a webpage) to install and host data sets, development tools and business analytics applications, apart from building and maintaining necessary hardware. Some key players offering PaaS are Bluemix, CloudBees, Salesforce.com, Google App Engine, Heroku, AWS, Microsoft Azure, OpenShift, Oracle Cloud, SAP and OpenShift.
What is Software as a Service (SaaS):
SaaS is special in that it incorporates both IaaS and Paas. Here, the cloud service provider delivers the entire software suite as a pay-per-use model. SaaS lets users easily access software applications — such as emails — over the internet. Most common examples of SaaS are Microsoft Office 360, AppDynamics, Adobe Creative Cloud, Google G Suite, Zoho, Salesforce, Marketo, Oracle CRM, Pardot Marketing Automation, and SAP Business ByDesign.
Types of cloud deployments
There are three types of cloud deployments categorized based on an organization’s ability to manage and secure assets as well as business needs.
Public cloud, in general, is SaaS services offered to users over the internet. It is the most economical option for users in which the service provider bears the expenses of bandwidth and infrastructure. It has limited configurations, and the cost is determined by usage capacity. That said, the limitations of the public cloud are its lack of SLA specifications. Despite high reliability, lower costs, zero maintenance and on-demand scalability, the public cloud is not suitable for organizations operating with sensitive information as they have to comply with stringent security regulations.
As the name suggests, the private cloud is used by large organizations to build and manage their own data centers for specific business and IT needs/ operations. The private cloud provides more control over customizability, scalability and flexibility, while improving security of assets and business operations. This sort of infrastructure can be built on premises or outsourced to a third party service provider – either way, it has the ability to maintain the hardware and software environment over a private network solely for the owner. Large- and medium-scale financial enterprises and government agencies typically opt for private clouds.
Hybrid cloud is the combination of a private and public cloud, providing for more flexibility to businesses while having control over critical operations and assets, coupled with improved flexibility and cost efficiency. The hybrid cloud architecture enables companies to take advantage of the public cloud as and when necessary due to their easy workload migration. For instance, businesses can use the public cloud for running high-volume applications like emails, and utilize private clouds for sensitive assets like financials, data recovery, and during scheduled maintenance and rise in demand.