Cloud Computing Models: When To Use Which Models
By Kamal Jacob
These days the advancement in the technology industry is progressing towards the cloud at a faster pace. Everything at present is either getting migrated to cloud or running and gaining access from the cloud. Since the advent of computing era there always had been various hardships with the traditional style of running the business application mainly because of its complicated and expensive characteristics. In view of the fact, the process of procuring the hardware and software in the traditional way is troublesome and it requires specialists to configure and maintain them. There is no doubt that the future of innovation and modernization is in the hands of cloud computing. This brings us an opportunity to get a feel of the cloud model and scale our business applications.
The Need for Cloud Computing
Cloud provides us the flexibility and ease of computing by eliminating the responsibility of managing hardware infrastructure. The cloud provider is accountable for these resources and we pay only for what we need or use. The upgrades, maintenance, and scaling of applications are fast and automatic. It is important and worth mentioning that since the cloud-based applications use a shared infrastructure it is cost-efficient and easily approachable.
Due to the growing popularity of the cloud, it is appealing to thousands of corporations today and the companies are interested in rebranding their applications and services to cloud computing. The cloud computing gives an opportunity to the developers and the architects in the modern IT industry today to focus more on what matters the most i.e. more alignment towards the solution and the business needs. This further avoids any uninvited deviation on the processes and the procurement of hardware. Furthermore, the added advantage that the cloud-based apps offer is that the resources and services it tenders are up and running quickly.
Cloud Computing Models
The cloud has such a vast horizon and a huge number of services to offer, it has different models and various implementation strategies that have evolved during the time and are available to meet and comply with the needs of the users in every possible way. Each type of cloud models is differentiating from each other in terms of service, utilization, and ease of control. Hence it is important to know what each type of model does and what different levels of flexibility, control and management strategies do each of them caters in order to decide which model is appropriate and befitting our needs.
The cloud is tremendously gaining regular attention from small businesses as well as from the large corporations globally. As we begin to bear in mind about switching our businesses to the cloud, whether it be for application or infrastructure deployment, it is important to know that the cloud covers a prominent market area and is fairly a broad concept, hence this makes it very crucial to understand the differences, features, and advantages of the various cloud services.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS is the foundation layer in the cloud computing model as it comprises of the fundamental elements of the cloud. It arranges for the cloud infrastructure services and abstracts the user from the physical hardware resources. Here, the users are made available with access to various computing resources such as servers, networking features and data storage space by the cloud provider. This provides the highest level of flexibility to the consumers by engaging virtualization of the services i.e. creating, managing, and controlling the infrastructure resources in the cloud.
IaaS provides the organizations especially the small startup firms with a major advantage, by allowing them to progressively expand their technology infrastructure without investing a huge sum of money in physical hardware systems and peripherals. This entitles them to use their own platforms and applications within a service provider’s infrastructure.
For Example, Amazon Web Services(AWS) and Google Cloud Compute etc.
When to use IaaS Cloud Model?
IaaS platforms are the most flexible cloud models and are best adapted in situations when there is a need to have control over the hardware infrastructure. This model comes to the great rescue for large enterprises looking to save costs and refrain from buying all the physical hardware upfront. It offers a good alternative for small companies as well where the computing resources can be accessed quickly and can be paid as per the resources consumed. It is a safer and more reliable option when it comes to scaling and managing the resources as per our requirements. Due to its greater flexibility and control than the other models, it is comparatively costly.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the second layer in the cloud computing model. It removes the need to manage the underlying architecture and resources such as servers, network, operating systems, or data storage. It allows us to focus more on the deployment and management of our applications. In other words, it provides a framework for the developers so that it helps them build upon and use it to create any customized applications and additionally providing the required control over the deployed application.
For Example AWS Lambda, Windows Azure and Google App Engine, etc.
When to use PaaS Cloud Model?
PaaS is beneficial in scenarios when there is a requirement to set up all the necessary computing and networking resources and minimize the overall organizational cost. It is suited for organizations where there is focus more on the development less on the underlying infrastructure. This platform also facilitates flexibility and collaborative work amongst the development teams and provide speed by simplifying the other processes. On the contrary, it is less flexible than the IaaS cloud model and provides less control over data processing.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service (SaaS) is the final layer in the cloud computing model and the most sophisticated one. It provides us with a complete product that is being run and managed by the cloud provider. They are generally the end-user applications that do not reside on our local systems. Instead, these applications are present on a remote cloud system and are accessed through the network or any web API. Hence, we only need to think about using particular software and no longer have to worry about maintaining the underlying infrastructure or managing the services. The SaaS-based software is hosted on a remote server and is easily accessible from anywhere in the world on any device over the internet. For Example Salesforce, and Dropbox etc.
When to use SaaS Cloud Model?
SaaS is ideal for scenarios where the user wants an application running up quickly with minimal or no intervention. It is best suited for a startup or small companies that require web and mobile access for applications and needs to get started quickly with worrying much about the servers or software. Since SaaS-based applications are purely managed by the cloud vendor, so there is an entire absence of control and lack of charge to the user in terms of both the software updates and the hardware allotted.
There is no doubt that the cloud is becoming the primary computing resource for both large and small scale organizations. This implies that if we are not making good use of this technology then we might be left behind in the industry. Soon, all the traditional business will have the need to quickly adopt the cloud in order to grow and leverage its flexibility and reap its wide range of benefits. So, it is crucial to understand each of the cloud models in detail and then analyze to choose from them when making this transition. Overall each of these models differs from each other and has various advantages and some disadvantages over the other.
Hence, there is need to be properly informed about all its specific features and functionalities and dig deeper when evaluating the cloud offering keeping in mind its characteristics. Moreover, it depends on the size and complexity of the business when it comes to choosing one of them or all the three models. It is purely up to us to address our concerns by selecting the correct one that fits apt as per our needs.