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Types of Cloud Services(IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS)

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

To understand better what is cloud services let's take a look at the three most common types (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS), which you must be familiar with to determine your strategy.

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

IassS means that the cloud provider provides the underlying platform (Storage, Compute, and Networking) while the customer is responsible for all the rest. From the client's perspective, this model allows the purchase of computer hardware, storage devices, and networking services from a third party rather than buying this infrastructure outright. After the relevant infrastructure is set, you can install the Os and other services you desire and then scale it up or down depending on the actual need and usage.

The classic example of using this model is a customer who needs only the infrastructure without investing in purchasing the hardware. Instead, he can create VM's on a cloud provider that hosts the machine, networking, and storage. So the remaining work is to install the software on it, maintain it, etc. So, it is the client's responsibility to ensure that the VM's are up and running and the cloud provider has nothing to do with it.

Most Common Examples:

DigitalOcean, Linode, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Rackspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metapod, Microsoft Azure

PaaS (Platform as a Service as a Service)

The cloud provides a platform for developers to create and run their applications using the PaaS method. Using PaaS, developers can focus only on creating their code without handling different aspects such as compute, storage networking, scaling, etc. Also, PaaS offers crucial elements that the business can benefit from, including Scaling, high availability, security, and more. So to summarize, as a customer, all you have to do is bring the code and run it on a platform.

A small thing to remember when working with PaaS is that the client has no access to the underlying virtual machines (it is the cloud provider's responsibility to make sure that everything is working fine). In contrast, with IaaS, we can and should access the servers and make sure that everything is working for us.

Most Common Examples:

AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, OpenShift, Heroku,, Google App Engine, Apache Stratos

SaaS (Software as a Service as a Service)

SaaS applications are running entirely in the cloud, meaning the user doesn't need to install anything on his local environment or machine. The cloud provider provides the infrastructure, platform, and support for the application and its data. This eliminates the need for IT teams as all the technical work (e.g., deployments, maintenance, etc.) are handled by the cloud provider. The SaaS user only uses the software but can't and shouldn't mess with the underlying infrastructure (Simply by accessing the application via the web, typically requiring only the use of a standard browser.)

Most Common Examples:

Office 365, Google Workspace, Dropbox, Salesforce, Cisco WebEx, Concur, GoToMeeting

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