The different cloud service types

With your head in the clouds

The cloud is a comprehensive name. In short, it’s storing and retrieving data, software and files in a location other than your own location. There are people who always have their heads in the clouds, but for those who are less familiar with the cloud terminology, we would like to explain what the different cloud service types are.

Cloud service typen

Which cloud types are there?

The cloud consists of multiple layers. It starts with the foundation, or the infrastructure. A platform is built on this. This platform ensures that the applications can be run. This creates three layers: from infrastructure to platform and applications. Either IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. Each layer has its own goal, which often supports the next layer. There is a connection between the control and the responsibility between these layers. Which layer an organisation chooses, therefore, is highly dependent on how much the organisation wants to hand over and what they would like to keep in-house.

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service is the foundation of the cloud. It’s the basis on which all other cloud layers are built. This means that it’s also the minimum layer you can outsource. It can be compared to the on-premises service that was often used before. But IaaS has moved the entire infrastructure to the cloud. As a user, you manage the operating system, the database, applications and data yourself.

In short, IaaS offers you virtual machines, but also scalable storage that can be provided in the form of a subscription. This gives you maximum control and responsibility over your own environment.

Fundaments’ IaaS has a number of advantages. For example, you no longer need to buy and maintain hardware. You can now subscribe to Fundaments cloud services. You only pay for what you use and won’t have to make any major investments. Another advantage is that it’s a lot more secure with Fundaments, because we have an environment where strict certification requirements have to be met.

PaaS (Platform as a Service)

PaaS stands for Platform as a Service. This cloud type requires a little more management than IaaS. As the name implies, PaaS offers a platform. As a user you can install software to offer SaaS services for example. With PaaS, in contrast to IaaS, you don’t have to set up a virtual machine yourself. This means that the supplier has more control than with IaaS. Hardware is rented (in the cloud), and the virtualisation layer and related services (middleware such as Java and .NET) are managed by the supplier. Software is installed and managed for you. However, more management tasks have to be performed at PaaS than at SaaS. For example, you remain responsible for your data and the management and development of the applications. The advantage of PaaS is that a test, development or deployment environment can be set up quickly and easily.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

SaaS, or Software as a Service, is the cloud type most often used. This is mainly because this cloud service offers a lot of convenience and is completely controlled by the supplier. So the user doesn’t have to worry about it. The management of the servers, network, storage and application is done entirely by the supplier. The downside to this is that the user can’t make changes to the package. If there’s something you’re not happy with, you can submit a request to the supplier, but you depend on them whether the request is granted.

Simply put, SaaS is about offering software from the cloud, so that on-premises resources don’t need to be used and nothing is visible from the underlying infrastructure.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

There is a proportionate relationship between the degree of control and the degree of responsibility between these cloud layers. As a starting point, the customer’s requirements should concern the degree of responsibility the customer wants, can or must have (by regulators). The advantages and disadvantages are so different for each situation, through specific services on the one hand and preferences on the other, what is perceived as a disadvantage for one person can be an advantage for the other. For example, an accountant will perhaps purchase a SaaS service from Twinfield, because this fits in with the level of knowledge, and the system administrator of that accountant would prefer to purchase a IaaS from Fundaments directly.

The different cloud forms don’t stand alone. Often this is combined according to requirements. For example, an IT service provider can purchase an IaaS in order to create workplace services on it. He could combine this with Office365 for email. He then offers this combined end product as a SaaS service to his customers. By cleverly combining these services you and your customers can benefit from the best of all worlds.

And even more types of cloud …

In addition to IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, there are other types of cloud. Think about public, private, hybrid or shared cloud.

SaaS, or Software as a Service, is the most used cloud type.  
PaaS stands for Platform as a Service. This cloud type requires a little more management than with IaaS.  
IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service is the foundation of the cloud. It's the basis on which all other cloud layers are built.  
Your data in the cloud?