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Different Types of Cloud Explained

Are you suffering from Cloud acronym overload? If you’ve thought about utilizing cloud computing for your business needs and have spent any amount of time looking into your options, you’ve probably come across enough jargon and acronyms for a life time. Public Cloud versus Private Cloud—SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, TaaS—what’s the difference anyway? And which one is right for your business? Never fear, in this piece we’re going to lift the veil on all that tech speak help you make sense of your options.

Public vs Private

An easy way to visualize the difference between public and private cloud is to think about transportation. Public transportation is available to anyone, provides efficient travel along the most heavily trafficked routes, and comes at a substantial cost saving when compared to buying or hiring your own means of transport (like a car). However, with that savings comes some tradeoffs. The public option lacks flexibility, forcing you travel certain routes and get on and off at certain stops. There are cargo limitations in terms of what you can bring with you, and of course, you’re utilizing a shared space filled with other travelers and all their stuff. Whether the benefits of the private option are worth the cost depend on your business requirements. How sensitive is your data? How customizable do you need your infrastructure to be? Private cloud customers tend to be those with the greatest compliance and security needs.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS applications bundle together cloud infrastructure and software to deliver a neatly packaged cloud experience for a specific application that’s accessible from your internet browser. There’s nothing to install, you just navigate to the vendor website, log in, and you’re off and running. SaaS tends to be the cheapest option on an app by app basis, since there’s no operating or file systems to contend with, and all the data is hosted on the vendor’s servers (which might be a negative if you have compliance concerns). In addition to compliance and privacy, other potential down sides include poor integration with desktop and other SaaS apps.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Unless you’re developing your own software in-house, you probably won’t have a need for PaaS. It’s a cloud based development environment where programmers can create new (usually cloud based) applications and deploy them publicly (to consumers) or privately (for internal business operations). The up side to PaaS is it allows you to develop and deploy your own software without a large capital investment. The down side is flexibility in terms of the coding languages that are support by the PaaS provider you choose, and cross platform compatibility.

Infrastructure as a Servcie (IaaS)

IaaS is the most common type of cloud for businesses of all sizes, and usually consists of virtualized servers of various types that deliver the closest thing to a local desktop/network experience you’re used to, but hosted in the cloud with all the associated benefits. In an IaaS environment you logon to a virtual desktop with all your files and desktop applications, all available and accessible from anywhere. IaaS comes in public and private varieties, and has the benefit of being rapidly scalable—making it the go-to choice for fast growing businesses.

Technology as a Service (TaaS)

TaaS is essentially IaaS bundled with premium support and IT management services. Going back to our transportation analogy, TaaS is like leasing a car that comes with a private chauffer who takes care of all the maintenance, make sure the car is filled with gas, and is on call 24/7 to take you where you need to go. TaaS providers are true one-stop-shops when it comes to IT. They deliver fully managed IaaS environments customized to meet any business requirement with all the ongoing support and training you could need.

Choosing the right cloud set up for your company comes down to your company’s requirements and your budget. Done correctly, cloud computing can be the competitive advantage that gives you the leg up over your competition. Trends are changing sharply in favor of the cloud with 79% of corporate workloads running in the cloud as of 2017 according to Cloud Computing Trends. Don’t get left behind, leverage the security and accessibility of the cloud today and revolutionize the way you work.