Cloud computing has three different types of services to offer. Depending on the users’ requirements, each type of cloud computing service is employed either individually or in combination with others. Following is a brief on the three types of cloud computing services.
Software as a service (SaaS)
SaaS is also known as “on-demand software”. The users of SaaS instead of completely buying the license of different software rent the software periodically and use them through an internet browser. The variety of software made available by SaaS is very wide. There are a number of software delivered by SaaS used by businesses that deal in content management, human resource management, accounting, ERP, customer relationship management and other relevant areas.
The software-as-a-service type of cloud computing is growing very fast while the largest market for software-as-a-service current is customer relationship management.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
(PaaS) provides computing platforms to users of cloud computing. It is also the link between the other two services provided by cloud computing i.e. SaaS and IaaS.
A normal computer requires a computing platform that includes hardware architecture along with a framework of software. Such a platform is the base of collaboration of the hardware and software that includes the computer’s operating system, architecture and languages. Hence, when it comes to cloud computing, in the absence of a real computer, it is Platform as a Service that provides the users with all that is required to compose a computing platform.
Some of the facilities that PaaS offers include hosting, deployment, testing, and application development and application design. Furthermore, cloud service providers offering PaaS include a number of features to design, test, deploy, host and run applications. All of these facilities can be availed by individual as well as business clients by subscribing to a single package with all of the features included.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS is the third type of computing via the cloud. Just like PaaS and SaaS deliver different software and hardware facilities based on a cloud platform, IaaS delivers a virtualized platform. The process of hardware virtualization shows users only the abstract computing platform instead of the physical features. Such virtualization leads to the creation of what is known as ‘virtual machine monitor’ or ‘hypervisor’ that enables the creation of the third part of cloud computing i.e. Interface as a Service.
Infrastructure that becomes available to the users of Interface as a Service includes software, servers, network equipment and data-center space. The cost charged by cloud service providers from customers generally depends on the amount of activity done by the user and hence, is not fixed. There is however, a minimum amount of charge depending upon the number of facilities a user has subscribed too.
There are a number of advantages of using this computer technology. However, each type of service comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. In order to make the right decision, it is imperative that users carefully weigh the pros and cons.