Are you confused by all of the ‘aaS’ this and ‘aaS’ that are popping up in promos, ads, blogs, and news articles these days? If so, you’re in luck, because here is your breakdown of what each of these terms means and what services they represent.
SaaS – Software as a Service
SaaS is the concept of cloud hosted software applications. In this business model, the customer maintains their own computers, networks, databases, and other IT infrastructure, and leases an application from a cloud service provider. These solutions are faster to build and deploy and at lower cost than developing the same services or applications in house. Other applications available as a SaaS include CRM (customer relationship management), accounting software, project management solutions, and marketing automation software.
PaaS – Platform as a Service
PaaS is a step up from the level of hosting offered in a SaaS model. In PaaS, the cloud service provider hosts and manages a platform (or framework) on which the customer can develop, build, test, and deploy their own custom applications. Leasing a platform from a cloud host is faster, easier, and cheaper than buying the infrastructure needed for those development projects, and the equipment would likely go to waste after the job was complete, anyway. The cloud service provider assumes responsibility for managing operating systems, virtualization, servers, storage, and networking, while the customer is only responsible for the applications they are developing.
IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service
IaaS is another step up from PaaS in terms of what the cloud service host provides. In IaaS, the host (or vendor) provides the customer with computing resources, which includes everything that would be considered an IT infrastructure — hardware, software, servers, storage, etc. The vendor takes responsibility for maintaining the systems, backing up systems and data, and resiliency planning. The advantages of IaaS are the low cost and high scalability.
As with most aaS or cloud services, the customer pays for either the amount of time the infrastructure is used (such as a monthly fee for unlimited usage) or for the virtual space that they actually used. This is a far cheaper way to obtain an IT infrastructure (especially if it is only needed temporarily) than purchasing and operating the equipment in house.
DBaaS – Database as a Service
DBaaS is a cloud based service in which the cloud host stores and manages data for the customer. In most cases, this is structured data that resides in a relational database, such as SQL and MySQL. The database is self-service, and the service usually includes some type of monitoring service so that the customer can keep track of the performance of the database. This is ideal for temporary workloads, such as data analysis following a large marketing campaign.
In all cases, buying services and equipment via the cloud, or aaS, is cheaper, faster, and easier than the same services or equipment could be purchased, operated, and maintained in house.