Cloud choices between IaaS and PaaS

By : |August 20, 2012 0

BANGALORE, INDIA: Signs of advancement and awareness at a global level show a steady and promising acceptance rate of the cloud by SME’s and large enterprises alike. Though acceptance of the cloud has become a global phenomenon, there exists many a burning question, in the minds of organizations about the feasibility of using the cloud in their landscape and security.

Karthik T S, head, SOA, Cloud & Mobile Centre of Excellence at Torry Harris Business SolutionsOne of the very commonly asked questions being — Which model of the cloud should I consider to begin with? In plain technicality — the choice between IaaS (infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service).

Recent researches say that, the primary reason for organizations in opting for cloud is because it gives the most cost-effective offloading of, dealing with scalability and infrastructure upgrades, to a third party. However, this forms just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the massive challenges and issues that large organizations are trying to grapple with.

SaaS mainly defines an application delivery model in which the vendor develops an internet based web application and hosts it on the cloud. The cloud also holds the associated data for the application and involves paying a monthly fee for using the software over the internet, with no additional purchase of infrastructure or licenses.

This makes the choice of SaaS for an organization relatively easy when compared to that between IaaS and PaaS because of the numerous similarities between them.

Off late, the line of  division between IaaS and PaaS seems to be thinning down as compute resources and virtualization technology alone being rented out by cloud service providers has become uncommon. The current trend is to couple many utility services for the customer along with the supply of Infrastructure which has made the slow infusion of IaaS into PaaS visible, keeping the question of choice between the two still open for businesses.

So, here is a sneak peek into what these two cloud models can actually bring to the table for businesses.

IaaS in essence, is a package of essential infrastructure; inclusive of storage, network, compute resources and virtualization. However, configuration, operation and maintenance along with handling licensing issues of products installed, are on the task list of the customer. With the growth of business, these operational tasks could become increasingly complex and time consuming.

PaaS on the other hand is infrastructure packaged with a development platform which includes freedom from the hassle of continuous maintenance, environment upgrades and optimization. All of this is handled by the cloud provider himself and the customer is left free to focus on development and value adds to business.

In general, for firms that have strong operational knowledge and which need to have new development or test strategies set up with lower cost, IaaS would surely be the better option whereas PaaS is the best suited for mission critical applications where more of the  time and effort needs to be saved from menial operational inabilities. Added on to this, are lurking issues with liability, security risks and governance.

A good amount of help with questions of the like could come from CSB’s – Cloud Service Brokers who are other independent third party organizations which can help in evaluating the services from various cloud providers. The decision between SaaS, IaaS or PaaS model of the cloud is very pivotal but relative to the organization in concern. However, the starting point for anyone should be what they would like to achieve by using the cloud — for here, sky is the limit!

The author is head, SOA, Cloud & Mobile Centre of Excellence at Torry Harris Business Solutions.

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