Cloud Services

Navigating the Cloud: Understanding Different Cloud Service Offerings

Overview - On-Premises and Cloud Offerings

The traditional business has grown with On-Premises IT Services. The technology behind On-Premises IT services uses physical infrastructure and data storage of the organization. The services include everything from hardware like servers and storage devices to software like operating systems and applications. 

An organization will have better control over the technology environment and can ensure that the data remains secure. The organization benefits from better bandwidth and faster communication, which can be essential for businesses with large amounts of data processing. |

Many organizations are still relying on On-Premises IT services due to reliability, security, and flexibility despite Cloud Services becoming famous.

Though On-premises IT services allow organizations to store and manage their data and software within their premises which provides a high-level control, security, and the ability to customize the infrastructure as per business needs, it comes with many challenges as well; Higher upfront costs for the IT infrastructure, need for skilled IT professionals for maintenance of the systems and compatibility issues of software and hardware are common.

On the other hand, cloud computing and offerings have evolved a lot; Cloud computing provides more scalability and flexibility for resources. Organizations feel a seamless experience while increasing or decreasing resources required based on demand from business and thus save time and money. Another critical benefit is in terms of data security; As cloud service providers have better solutions and are more equipped with such tools and software for security measures, protecting data becomes easier.

Transition from On-Premises to Cloud Services

As technology is getting advanced, businesses are encouraged to remain in line with the same. Cloud computing provides improved operations to run the business. Moving from On-Premises to Cloud Services may require evaluation of various cloud offerings on which to shift the business.

The offerings will provide different levels of advantages, and flexibility, and costs will vary based on the selection according to the use case of your business.

The following picture provides a high-level overview of On-Premises Deployment along with different Cloud offerings including Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Software as a Service.

On-premise IT Service is preferred when you want your data to be stored on your own servers, and you want to install and manage the required software and tools which means that all the software is stored on your hardware on your organization's premises. It will require your IT department to maintain the infrastructure on its own.

Cloud Services

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service

IaaS is on-demand access to cloud-hosted physical or virtual servers, storage, or networking. It is a backend IT infrastructure for running applications in the cloud. IaaS customers will be required to pay mostly on the basis of usage time like hour, week, or month. Some providers charge customers based on the number of virtual machines they need. 

It provides the underlying operating systems, security, networking, and servers for developing applications, services, deploying development tools, databases, etc.

Various companies providing Infrastructure as a service are AWS, IBM Open stack, and Microsoft Azure.

Advantages of IaaS

  1. Cost-Effective: Expenses on hardware and managing physical Data Centers are eliminated. Instead, the cost will be per-user basis, typically by the hour, week, or month.
  2. Security: The IaaS Cloud Provider may have better security than the On-Premises System and software.
  3. Maintenance: Managing the underlying data center or upgrading the underlying software is not needed as it is taken care of by the IaaS cloud provider.
Disadvantages of laaS
  1. Limited control over infrastructure: IaaS providers manage the underlying infrastructure and take care of maintenance and updates which implies that the users will have less control over the environment and may not be able to make certain customizations on their own.
  2. Security concerns: You are relying on the data and system security provided by the Cloud Provider. You might be compromising on implementing it as per your wish. 
  3. Limited access: Though it might be country or region-specific due to legal policies that Cloud computing may not be accessible, you have no choice but to go with On-Premises IT services.
Use cases of laaS
  • Disaster recovery: Setting up redundant servers in multiple locations is a challenge if you want to maintain On-Premises IT services. IaaS can deploy its disaster recovery solution to the cloud provider's existing geographically dispersed infrastructure.
  • E-commerce: Online shopping software solutions that face frequent spikes in traffic, it is easy to maintain the IT infrastructure with the help of an IaaS cloud service provider. The ability to auto-scale up during periods of high demand and scale down based on the demand going down is very crucial.
  • Startups: It is a big challenge for startups to afford on-premises IT infrastructure. IaaS gives them access to enterprise-class data center capabilities without the up-front investment in hardware and management overhead.

PaaS: Platform as a Service

The PaaS provider will host, manage, and maintain all the hardware and software included in the platform - servers like development, testing and deployment, OS, any required specific software tools, storage, networking, databases, middleware, runtimes, frameworks, development tools, etc. The PaaS also offers related services for security, operating system and software upgrades, backups, and more.

Advantages of PaaS
  1. Faster time to market: PaaS enables development, testing, and production environments set in minutes vs. weeks or months making it much faster to go to market than spending time in setting up environments.
  2. Low risk on testing and adoption of new technologies: PaaS platforms include access to a wide range of the latest resources which allows organizations to test new operating systems, languages, and other tools without the need to make heavy investments in them or in the infrastructure required to run them.
  3. Simplified collaboration: PaaS provides a shared software development environment, giving development and operations teams access to all the tools they need from anywhere.
  4. A more scalable approach: With PaaS, organizations can purchase additional capacity for building, testing, staging, and running applications whenever they need it.
  5. Less to manage: PaaS offloads infrastructure management, patches, updates, and other administrative tasks to the cloud service provider.
Disadvantages of PaaS
  1. Limited control over infrastructure: PaaS providers typically manage the underlying infrastructure and take care of maintenance and updates which implies that users will have less control over the environment and may not be able to make certain customizations.
  2. Dependence on the provider: Users are dependent on the PaaS provider for the availability, scalability, and reliability of the platform which can be a risk if the provider experiences outages or other issues.
Use cases of PaaS
  • API development and management: PaaS provides built-in frameworks that make it easier to develop, run, manage, and secure APIs for sharing data and functionality between applications.
  • IoT (Internet of Things): PaaS supports programming languages like Java, Python, and many more, tools and application environments that are used for IoT application development and real-time processing of data from IoT devices.
  • DevOps support: PaaS covers all the requirements of DevOps tools and provides built-in automation to support continuous integration and continuous delivery (CICD).
  • Software development starting: With PaaS, the infrastructure for testing and development can be started much more quickly than on-premises or IaaS.

SaaS: Software as a Service

SaaS also referred to as cloud application services is a cloud-hosted and ready-to-use application software. Users might be paying monthly or annual bills for the usage of the application be it in a web browser, desktop client, or mobile app. The infrastructure and the application, servers, storage, networking, middleware, application software tools, and data storage are hosted and managed by the SaaS provider. The SaaS provider takes care of all upgrades and patches to the software, availability, performance, and security part usually invisibly to end users or customers.

Advantages of SaaS
  1. Offload infrastructure and Application Management tasks: The SaaS provider takes care of infra and application management tasks. The user is just required to create an account, pay the fee, and start using the application.
  2. Minimal risk: SaaS product providers offer a free trial period and low monthly fees that let customers try the software to evaluate against their needs with little or no financial risk.
  3. Anytime anywhere: SaaS apps make it possible for users to start working from anywhere and anytime on any device with a browser and an internet connection. 
  4. Scalability: Very easy to add users by just registering and paying for new registration; Customers can purchase more data storage for a nominal charge.

Disadvantages of SaaS

  1. Customization challenges: Making customization on SaaS is a bit challenging. It might be difficult for customers to make the customization by the SaaS Providers.
Use cases of SaaS
  • Social media, e-mail and cloud file storage solutions such as Dropbox are some of the examples of SaaS applications used in everyday life.
  • Some of the famous enterprise SaaS solutions include Salesforce CRM, HubSpot marketing software, Trello workflow management, Slack collaboration, and messaging.

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