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While the cloud is an extremely hot topic for organizations worldwide, it is still a pretty broad concept that covers a plethora of services and delivery models. As businesses begin to consider switching to the cloud, be it for application or infrastructure deployment, it is more important than ever to understand the differences between the various cloud services.

There are three main models of cloud service to compare: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Each having its own benefits, as well as variances, making it necessary to understand the differences between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS to know how to choose the best one.

Cloud-model

SaaS: Software as a Service
Software as a Service, also known as cloud application services, is the most commonly utilized option for businesses in the cloud market. SaaS uses the internet to deliver applications, which are managed by a third-party vendor, to its users. Most of the SaaS applications are run directly through the web browser and do not require any downloads or installations on the client side.
Due to its web delivery model, businesses don’t need to have IT staff download and install applications on each individual computer. Vendors manage all of the potential technical issues, such as data, middleware, servers, and storage, allowing businesses to streamline their maintenance and support, thanks to SaaS.

PaaS: Platform as a Service
Cloud platform services, or Platform as a Service (PaaS), provide cloud components to certain software and is mainly used for applications. PaaS delivers a framework for developers that can be built upon and used to create customized applications. All servers, storage, and networking are managed by the enterprise or a third-party provider while the developers maintain management of the applications.

The delivery model of PaaS is similar to SaaS, apart from the fact that instead of delivering the software over the internet, PaaS provides a platform for software creation. This platform is delivered over the web and gives developers the freedom to concentrate on building the software without having to worry about operating systems, software updates, storage, or infrastructure. PaaS also allows businesses to design and create applications built into the PaaS with special software components.

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service
Cloud infrastructure services, known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), is composed of highly scalable and automated computer resources. IaaS is fully self-service for accessing and monitoring things like computers, networking, storage, and other services, allowing businesses to purchase resources on-demand and as-needed instead of having to buy the hardware outright.

IaaS delivers Cloud Computing infrastructure, such as servers, network, operating systems, and storage, through virtualization technology. These cloud servers are provided to the organization through a dashboard or an API, and IaaS clients have complete control over the entire infrastructure. IaaS provides the same technologies and capabilities as a traditional data center without having to physically maintain or manage it. IaaS clients can access their servers and storage directly, but it is all outsourced through a “virtual data center” in the cloud.

Unlike SaaS or PaaS, IaaS clients are responsible for managing aspects such as applications, runtime, OSes, middleware, and data. Also, providers of the IaaS manage the servers, hard drives, networking, virtualization, and storage. Some providers also offer extra services outside of the virtualization layer, such as databases or message queues.

As we can see, each cloud model offers its own specific features and functionalities, and it is crucial for businesses to understand the differences. Be its cloud-based software for storage options, a smooth platform to create customized applications, complete control over the entire infrastructure without having to physically maintain it, there is a cloud service available. No matter which option companies choose, migrating to the cloud is the future of business and technology as we know it, and it is necessary to be properly informed.

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