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30/04/2020

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The Cloud Explained – IaaS vs PaaS

All industries are familiar with cloud services, and most people use cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox and Google Drive for their data storage, be that business or personal.; Google Docs is a collaborative cloud solution, and, Microsoft 365 can be used by businesses for a complete cloud-computing solution.

However, there is a lot more to cloud services than simply storage alone. Cloud services offered also include Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS), which enable cloud service providers to provide their platforms to their customers over the internet. This allows organisations to access data from several different cloud-based servers remotely, therefore increasing their business capacities and increasing efficiency as a whole.

What is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)?

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS),  sometimes also called Hardware as a Service (HaaS), delivers the infrastructure required for storage, networking components, servers and operations over the internet. This allows the subscriber to make use of sophisticated hardware they wouldn’t otherwise have access to, to run software and applications.

This service is provided using virtual machines and is essentially ‘renting’ space on other people’s servers.

Common examples of IaaS services include:

  • GoGrid
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Google Compute Engine
  • Digital Ocean

The user will generally pay on a per-use basis, and the service provider is responsible for maintaining the hardware.

What is Platform as a Service (PaaS)?

Platform as a Service (PaaS) refers to the service where providers offer a computing platform or a solution stack (a subsystem required to run software) to their customers. This is provided via an internet connection, enabling company developers to build, test and iterate custom applications at their discretion.

The commonly used PaaS services include:

  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk
  • Heroku
  • Windows Azure
  • Openshift
  • Apache Statos

PaaS enables the subscriber to offer a more comprehensive array of services without having to invest in expensive hardware.

PaaS provides an integrated development environment typically, meaning developers and users can easily design, develop and test the web services, database integration and team collaboration that they require.

Difference between IaaS and PaaS?

The main difference between the two is that IaaS provides hardware resources, whereas PaaS delivers a computing platform.

IaaS provides the means through which application developers can run code, and forms the base infrastructure upon which PaaS can be utilised.

Without the hardware (IaaS), developers are unable to build their customised applications (PaaS).

Benefits of Infrastructure as a Service

The main advantage of IaaS is that customers can utilise several cloud-based alternatives to systems they would otherwise have to maintain in-house – therefore saving them money. Buying hardware is unnecessary with IaaS, and it removes the need for an IT specialist for maintenance  – it is all maintained by the service provider.

Other benefits include:

  • Allowing customers to control their infrastructure without the inconvenience and expense of having to manage and maintain it on-site.
  • The fact that it is a money-saving solution, as the subscriber-only pays for the storage, networking and virtualisation that they use (pay as you go)
  • Being scalable; the services are flexible, meaning it is easy for a company to expand as and when they need to.
  • Straightforward systems meaning overseeing IaaS platforms is simple, so the administrator doesn’t require specialist qualifications to do so.
  • Being accessible by multiple users (multi-tenant functionality) within the organisation.
  • Being secure as the service providers allow your team to build or implement third party security systems onto the infrastructures as necessary.
  • Always running on the latest hardware as the service provider automatically updates this.

Benefits of Platform as a Service

PaaS is incredibly cost-effective, as:

The organisation can run a piece of specialist software without the need to purchase specific hardware on which to do so.

  • The maintenance of the equipment and operating systems is the responsibility of the service provider and not the user.
  • When developers use the PaaS cloud service, they do not have to start from scratch every time as the PaaS offers a foundation from which to start. This will eventually save time and money.
  • It is accessible by multiple users and is scalable depending on the size of your business and its budget.

Another is that PaaS enables developers to build custom applications without having to manage storage, as well as dealing with management and data serving issues.

However, the administrators only have control over the software built on PaaS, so if there is a system outage the software will go down as well.

When to use IaaS and PaaS

If a business already utilises  a code package, then IaaS will be a suitable option, but if a company is looking to produce a custom computing solution from scratch,  a PaaS system is the appropriate option

IaaS can be compared to foundation block in building a cloud-based service; PaaS operates as the platform for developers to build applications, without the need to host them.

IaaS is suitable for businesses of all sizes, and uses a pay-as-you-go model, meaning users have complete control over what they are paying for, as well as total flexibility And scalability as and when required.

It will enable the developer to concentrate on building new applications without the need to implement support roles, such as managing software updates, for which the service provider is responsible for.

For a reputable, reliable and experienced team who can manage and oversee the installation of IaaS or PaaS on your network, contact the team at CIS. If you have any questions relating to how IaaS or PaaS can help your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

CIS have been our go-to IT supplier for nearly 20 years, and have throughout that time they have been flexible, consultative, and above all putting our business at the forefront of their advice. I would be very pleased to recommend them for any company that needs to have a real partnership with their IT company.

Graham Hughes, Managing Director, Rovema UK Ltd

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