Friday, 14 October 2011

SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS


SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS

To continue our cloud computing series, we discuss the three main areas in the cloud. Cloud computing has three primary branches: SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS. Each branch has different implementations and benefits.
Software As A Service
Software as a Service, or SaaS, generally takes the form of web-based software applications. Because SaaS can be paid for in the form of a regular monthly licensing or subscription fee, small businesses do not need to invest a huge amount of money for the equivalent of a technological 'down payment.' They can save tremendous amounts of money by not buying hardware to run and store specialized applications that would also require costly in-house IT personnel. This is especially convenient for start-ups or other fledging enterprises which need to maximize their earnings potential, and reduce overhead costs. By essentially purchasing all of these features through SaaS, businesses and government departments which experienced severe budget cuts are able to retain their productivity and accomplish business processes while simultaneously cutting costs.
Sales based businesses, such as brick and mortal retail outlets or advertising agencies, can save money by leasing SaaS on a monthly basis to complete their basic transactions.
Infrastructure As A Service
Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, supplies the building blocks of software and application development: programming languages, flexible storage space, and variable computing power. IaaS is excellent for use in development projects where different types of computing power will be needed at different stages of the project, such as the development of a major industry-specific or proprietary software project. Because IaaS essentially leases the tools to assemble the project, when the project is completed, the company can discontinue the service without having to lay off workers or sell equipment.
IaaS is used primarily by mid-scale to large companies that either develop software as a business, or that have a temporary project that directly impacts their business model. Architectural firms, for example, may use IaaS to develop software that allows them to quickly translate 3D models into digital plans. Once the software is developed, they no longer require IaaS.
Platform As A Service
Platform as a Service, or PaaS, provides a ready-made environment for the development of applications. Unlike IaaS, however, PaaS is accessible by a community of developers, as opposed to an individual business entity, who want to collectively build applications without necessarily owning the output or consequences of those applications. PaaS is a breeding ground for new ideas that, if successful, can bolster the career of an individual developer, but do not necessarily tie him or her to a particular project or entity. Many PaaS providers have licensing agreements that clearly delineate the rights of the individual developer and the how the PaaS may use that developer's contributions. Freelance developers can quickly build an easily accessible portfolio of work, while PaaS providers can cheaply develop innovative applications for future sale.



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