In this jungle of information we get to walk through everyday, it’s sometimes difficult to find exactly what we need and all these new words and concepts that are thrown out there don’t help the process at all.

Last week we talked about Cloud Server showing how this word is used to refer more to the provider’s features than to the server itself, so you might wonder, what happens if we have the need to manage a larger group of servers with multiple connection as we would do in a physical datacenter? Is that still possible in the cloud? The answer is of course yes, but as you can imagine there are many different ways to do that. Once again there are many different possible solutions out there depending on what the aim of your business is. We are going to give a short overview of the main groups and we will then go more in depth in each one of them in the following posts.

Cloud Computing services: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

The 3 main categories of cloud computing services

As with a single server, when you combine the word “cloud computing” with a group of servers, you are giving a specific accent to the fact that it is possible to increase or decrease resources on demand and move the servers easily from one host to another one without any outage in case of a hardware failure. Once again what we are doing here is abstracting completely from the physical level and assuming that our provider will take care of this for us. Since we are now talking of multiple servers, it is logical to introduce network and storage components in the picture. While with a single VPS CPU, RAM and DISK are the only dynamic resources needed, when we are using more than one server we will immediately have the need to request on demand network components like switches, vLAN and IP in order to interconnect our servers with firewalls, load balancers and routers choosing each time on which different type of storage we want a server to run.

Depending on how much you want to abstract from these elements, the answer for your need will be different, but in every scenario your provider will play a crucial role, so once again it’s absolutely important to choose the right partner for your business. Let’s introduce the 3 three main categories of cloud computing services pointing out on what level of the stack they are focused.

IAAS – Infrastructure as a Service:
The focus of this type of cloud computing service is the Datacenter level. IaaS providers give their customers access to a virtual datacenter and consequently to all the duties and knowledge that it requires.

PaaS – Platform as a Service:
The focus of this type of cloud computing service is the Application level. It provides a platform allowing customers to develop, run and manage Web applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the underlaying infrastructure. It is abstracting from the datacenter level to the development level.

SaaS – Software as a Service:
The focus of this type of cloud computing service is the Service level. It is a software distribution model in which providers host applications and make them available to customers over the Internet. This is the highest level of abstraction.

We will talk better about each of them in the next articles.

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