When it comes to cloud services, avoiding technical abbreviations, jargon and acronyms, in the world of business, you can run but you cannot hide. They are out there, and we have to know them to remain competitive. Everyone has heard about Cloud computing, and, unless you are living in an offline cave, you use at least two cloud services: your access to the web and your e-mail host.
So, with Cloud computing at least, it all boils down to the final three quarters of some very important abbreviations in learning about the different types of cloud services. Those three letters would be “aaS,” signifying “as a service.” Look at them as responses to your business S.O.S. in leveling the playing field.
Let’s focus on four popular cloud services and supply an initial capital letter in front of the “aaS”: IaaS, SaaS, PaaS. and DRaaS.
Each is a cloud service, accessible through a web browser:
- IaaS is Infrastructure as a Service. It is a basic cloud service model where the host provides most of the client’s hardware, the floor space and network connectors–usually across many physical locations. Using IaaS, the client can scale (contract or expand) the service without loss or increase in capital investment.
IaaS customers typically can subscribe on a pay-per-use basis–by the hour, week or month. Again, the savings in not having to deploy more local hardware, software and tech care make IaaS especially attractive and flexible.
- SaaS is Software as a Service. Software applications–office, accounting, etc.–used to be available only from a dealer’s shelf out of a box, and someone had to install it, maintain it, and deal with bugs and updates. SaaS, on the other hand, comes ready to plug-in and use over your Internet connection. The SaaS provider keeps the package up to date and fixes bugs.
Leading the pack in SaaS is Microsoft’s Office 365. This web-based suite of Microsoft’s office applications is a monthly subscription service. Tailored for individual, small business and corporate subscribers, Microsoft updates this SaaS product about every 90 days. Subscribers don’t have to pay upgrade fees.
- PaaS is Platform as a Service. Many businesses rely on a proprietary database for their products, procurement, distribution and inventory. PaaS is the cloud-based developer’s platform already programmed and compatible with customer data entry. PaaS provides subscription services to online programming software without the costs of coding, hardware and data storage.
PaaS has two other advantages: (1) It streamlines the deployment ad development of database applications, building, hosting and testing; and (2) It provides a single location to do all the foregoing as well as update those applications in an especially streamlined environment.
- DRaaS is Disaster Recovery as A Service. DRaaS, according to WhatIs.com “is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual services by a third-party to provide failover in the event of a man-made or natural catastrophe.” (Failover is the term for what a standby system does–i.e., takes over–when the primary system fails.)
As a cloud-service, DRaaS can be a blessing for small to mid-size businesses that need insurance from data loss, but lack the local expertise to put everything back together if disaster strikes. DRaaS also has the advantage of flexibility and the aforementioned scaling inherent in the cloud.
So the similarities between the above listed types of cloud services are in their accessibility and scalability. The differences are in the scope of the services they provide to subscribers.
Want to learn more about cloud services and the associated benefits of colocation and managed hosting? The Cloud levels the playing field when it comes to IT support for your growing business. We’re your full-service host, consultant, and service provider.
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