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As-a-Service: Understanding IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

By: Chaz Chalkley

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Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS); they are all connected to the cloud unlike traditional on-premise services, but do you understand the differences between them?

Think about them in terms of cookies. You can bake them, you can buy them, and you can go out to a bakery and order specialty cookies for dessert. Let’s indulge in Cookies-as-a-Service:

On-Premise: Baking from Scratch

To start, let’s take a look at what these 3 offerings are not: on-premise offerings. An on-premise offering is a lot like making chocolate chip cookies from scratch. You’re in charge of everything; the ingredients, shaping the dough balls, cooking them in the oven, and even the chair and table you’ll sit at as you enjoy your cookies with a glass of milk. By being solely on-premise, your business (and IT team) is in charge of every technological need, from hardware to data and applications.

IaaS: A Gigantic Tub of Cookie Dough

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a lot like going to the store and getting a big prepared tub of cookie dough. Although you’ll still have to go home and bake the cookies in your oven, the core of your cookie is prepared and ready to go. Similarly with IaaS, your network and infrastructure is prepared and handled by a cloud provider rather than your internal IT team. The benefits of IaaS is that it saves your business from having to spend upfront costs on hardware, and may provide increased performance and scalability.

PaaS: Store-Bought Deliciousness

If even baking cookies requires too much time and effort, you can always go to the grocery store and purchase the cookie of your choice, and then enjoy the pre-made bakery cookies in the comfort of your own home. You could even widen your options by going online and having cookies delivered right to your door. With a Platform as as Service (PaaS) offering, you are able to develop and deploy applications in a virtualized environment (just like cookies being fully made by a third-party), but you enjoy the cookies at home and maintain control and management over the deployed applications and configuration settings.

SaaS:  Would you like to take a look at the dessert menu?

SaaS is the pathway to cookies for those who want less stress and mess. Rather than making or buying your own to eat at your house, you can order cookies for dessert at a bakery without having to use any of your own resources. SaaS means that the entire application or service is accessed through the web and your business only needs to worry about managing who has access, which allows you to avoid having to deal with complex software and hardware management.

Just as there are different ways to get cookies, there are different ways to manage your technology. Interested in learning more about IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS? Contact us today to see which option is the best fit for your business.

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