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The Benefits of IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS for Cloud Computing

By Kireeti Gudipati

More businesses than ever are adopting the use of the cloud into their larger operations but businesses may be curious as to the fundamental basics of how the cloud works. 

The cloud stores your data on the internet rather than bogging down your memory in your hard drive. Essentially, whereas in the past you’d need adequate memory space on a device like a computer to even dream of running a business, the cloud makes business on a much larger scale possible. 

As a consultant and cloud specialist for Deloitte Consulting, my work involves converting large-scale businesses to systems implementing the cloud and integrating the technology into their larger processes. 

One piece of fundamental information is the differences between forms of cloud computing and their respective benefits of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and SaaS (Software as a Service). 

Infrastructure as a Service allows organizations to manage business resources on the cloud, simplifying systems by holding their network, data, and servers on the platform. Examples of IaaS services include Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Amazon Web Services.

An obvious advantage of using IaaS is the ability to run your business without your own hardware, hosting your entire infrastructure in the cloud. DNS services, storage, networks, VMs, and other services can be hosted from the cloud, saving you massive costs and allowing you to only pay for the cloud services that you need. You also potentially save yourself from dipping into your budget for the purposes of installation or hardware costs.

These cloud services, additionally, can be configured using IaC (infrastructure as code), allowing you to create full digital spaces that are easily duplicated to other domains. However, services like DNS, VMs, and IaC still require maintenance and updates to keep your processes running efficiently. IaaS should specifically be employed by a business with a large enough scale to maximize the value (and space) offered by cloud services.

PaaS-driven operations help businesses to easily develop, release, and host consumer-centered applications. Commonly regarded as a graduation from IaaS, PaaS introduces the resources for your services to be hosted on the cloud as well, holding the database and installation files as well as a compute resource such as VM. Examples include the Google App Engine, Apprenda, and Kinsta.

PaaS, however, has less computing power than IaaS with an integrated IaC and does not offer low-level system access for applications. Since it cannot access a corresponding system or hardware and offers less mobility overall, it might not be the best choice for everyone. However, PaaS is intuitive and effective for brands hoping to utilize specific software on a server to run apps effectively.

Considered widely to be the most common and easy to use, SaaS products offer users cloud services for everyday use. Examples like DropBox and DocuSign have integrated systems that come with a subscription or purchase and require no upkeep on the part of your tech team. 

While SaaS tools’ are incredibly easy to use, they have a major setback in the sense that you have significantly less control compared to IaaS and PaaS tools. As the cloud-based infrastructure is integrated into the software, outages or security breaches may occur and leave your business heavily affected. Additionally, SaaS products are often not compatible with other hardware or processes you have already integrated into your business operations. Without the promise of greater integration on the part of the service, this renders SaaS ineffective in many businesses. 

When deciding what type of cloud services to integrate, the most important factor is understanding your operation and its specific needs. With attentive research and a game plan, any business has the potential to benefit greatly from the use of cloud services.

ABOUT: Serving in a leading and critical role, Kireeti Gudipati is responsible for designing and architecting innovative and transformative Cloud-based technology solutions that address the next generational needs. Creating effective IT visions, strategies, and roadmaps, he works in direct alignment and support of business and technology objectives. Kireeti Gudipati deploys end-to-end journeys from on-premise to cloud operations, performing design and development within the Cloud messaging, ground-to-Cloud connectivity, Cloud Strategy, Cloud Development, Cloud Integration & APIs, Cloud Migration, Cloud Infrastructure & Engineering, and Cloud Managed Services. He manages the design and implementation of large-scale data ecosystems including data management, governance, and the integration of structured and unstructured data to generate insights leveraging Cloud-based platforms. Kireeti Gudipati currently works as a manager for Deloitte Consulting, a subsidiary of Deloitte, the largest professional services network in the world.

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