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Cloud Computing Models

Types of cloud computing

Which cloud service models are you using to enhance your business’s digital software? From IaaS and Saas to PaaS, the cloud computing models available on the market are becoming more and more advanced each day. 

Understanding the difference between the three types of cloud computing, as well as the benefits each can bring your business, will help ensure that your infrastructure is as tailored to your needs as possible. Cloud consulting services are commonly used by businesses, to ensure they’re future-proofed and as streamlined as they can be. 

Read our detailed guide on cloud computing models, to help determine which is right for you and your business.

What is cloud computing?

Simply put, cloud computing is a way of delivering hosted services via a series of remote servers to your business over the Internet enabling you to process, manage and store data. The main benefit is that organisations and users don’t have to own the hardware they use which can increase their capacity and make it easier for businesses to grow. The majority of users now are all familiar with cloud as a service, with some of the most popular services such as Dropbox or GoogleDrive used around the world.  

The three main cloud models on offer are:

  • IaaS (infrastructure as a service)
  • PaaS (platform as a service)
  • SaaS (software as a service) 

These types of cloud computing differ from more traditional methods of web hosting thanks to three main characteristics; scalability, remote management, and cost-effectiveness as a result of their inherent elasticity.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, this form of web hosting has become invaluable as it allows multiple users to access data from anywhere with an internet connection. With a large proportion of the working population of the UK working remotely, this means collaboration is as easy as if staff were all office-based.

Cloud computing can be defined by public, private, and hybrid clouds. The more saturated the cloud market becomes, the more options and perks are on offer to your business – so, whether you’re looking for types of cloud computing to aid you with flexible working, or you need infrastructure that can cope with huge amounts of data processing, the chances are that the latest and greatest types of cloud computing have a solution ready and waiting for you.

Read our Guide on Cloud Computing for a detailed look at what cloud computing involves and how it works. 

Unsure of the security of it all? Read our article on cloud security here: Is the Cloud Safe?

IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service

What is IaaS in Cloud Computing?

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is also known as Hardware as a Service (HaaS) and delivers over the internet hardware required for storage, networking components, servers and operations. This means organisations can utilise complex hardware that may otherwise be unavailable to them due to cost in order to run applications. This service is provided using what are known as virtual machines which essentially means the organisation is ‘renting’ space on a third-party’s servers. 

Common examples of IaaS services are;

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

Such services are generally on a pay per use basis. The service provider is responsible for maintaining and repairing the hardware.

CiS can provide complete IT infrastructure maintenance to your business. Click here to read more about our IaaS solutions, or contact us today to see how we can help you. 

How does Infrastructure as a Service Work?

In regards to how Iaas works for the user, it is pretty straightforward. The IT management team identifies what services they require and then subscribes to the third-party supply who offers that service. Iaas can provide organisations with data centres, servers, networking and storage from remote services. 

The user can then use this virtual hardware as they would hardware within their premises – for example installing operating systems, creating virtual servers or creating storage buckets for data backups.

Benefits of IaaS

With IaaS customers can access various cloud-based alternatives to systems they would otherwise have to maintain in-house – therefore saving them money, personnel and time. With IaaS, buying hardware is unnecessary, and there is no requirement for IT specialists in house to maintain them as they are the responsibility of the service provider. 

There are a number of benefits of IaaS which include;

  • Customers being in control of their own infrastructure, but not having the expense of managing and maintaining it on-site. 
  • A pay-as-you-go service. The subscriber pays only for the services they specifically require.
  • IaaS services are flexible meaning subscriptions can change depending on the needs of the organisation meaning there is potential for growth. 
  • No requirement for a specialist administrator as the systems are straightforward, therefore overseeing IaaS platforms is easy. 
  • Accessibility to multiple users (multi-tenant functionality) within your organisation. 
  • Being secure, as IaaS service providers allow your team to build or implement third party security systems onto the infrastructures as necessary.
  • Running the latest hardware which is automatically updated by the IaaS service provider. 

So, what does this mean for your business? If you’re thinking of employing types of cloud computing to suit your growing business’s needs, IaaS could be the solution you’ve been waiting for. When it comes to types of cloud computing, IaaS is the most scalable, allowing users to build up resources as and when they need them. As well as helping your infrastructure to grow easily alongside your developing team, types of cloud computing like IaaS that are developed with elasticity in mind mean you’ll never spend more than you need to on your systems.

Read our IaaS Guide here, which discusses the versatility of IaaS as a service.

SaaS: Software as a Service

What is SaaS in Cloud Computing?

Essentially, SaaS or cloud-based software is a software distribution model in which a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the Internet. It is thought that in 2020, every business in the world accessed some form of SaaS solutions. 

SaaS enables software to be accessible for any device with an internet connection, which is becoming a staple of the remote working trend at present, and many of them will run through your web browser. The software itself is hosted by a third party on remote servers, meaning users are not responsible for any maintenance of hardware or software. 

Some of the most commonly used SaaS software includes: 

  • Google Apps, 
  • DropBox
  • MailChimp
  • Slack
  • Hubspot
  • Netflix

In fact, SaaS is such a common part of the modern world that many people think little of the software they are using and how it is managed, maintained and stored.

How Does Software as a Service Work?

Traditionally, software was delivered by a number of installation files that were downloaded to your computer. However, although these are still available for some software, many organisations moved away from purchasing software and the associated licenses and instead moved to subscription-based SaaS products. 

The user (IT admin) identifies which SaaS product fits the requirements, and then each user generally is required to set up an account. Therefore, organisations are never paying for users they don’t need, and they are not responsible for the maintenance and updating of the software. As the company grows more users can simply sign up for the product.

Benefits of SaaS

One of the greatest benefits of subscribing to SaaS is that it saves money and time for the IT specialists within your organisation (if indeed you have any). 

  • Subscription method – meaning you only pay for the users and software capabilities that you require. 
  • There is no need to purchase expensive hardware as SaaS software is run on third-party hardware. 
  • Time is saved as there is no need to load software onto each user’s machine which was a time consuming and therefore expensive process. 
  • With SaaS you will always have the most up to date software as the third-party service provider is responsible for maintenance, updates, middleware and servers. 
  • Subscribers are able to customise the user interface to ensure the software is in line with their own branding and requirements. 
  • As Saas delivers through the web browser this eliminates the need for IT specialists within your team to maintain the software. 

So, what does this mean for your business? While IaaS makes sure your files can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection, types of cloud computing that incorporate SaaS are more of a subscription-based model, letting you choose the software you want to use from a shared hosting space in the cloud, either as a business or as a consumer. 

Perhaps you’re on the hunt for secure accounting and invoicing software, a performance monitoring system or even simply a messaging app for your office. Whatever your subscription needs, SaaS is one of the best types of cloud computing solutions when it comes to easily and securely accessing a whole range of services, without costing the earth.

PaaS: Platform as a Service

What is PaaS in cloud computing?

When service providers offer a computing platform or a solution stack via the internet this is known as Platform as a Service (PaaS). This enables inhouse developers to build, test and iterate custom applications. 

Commonly used PaaS services include:

  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk
  • Heroku
  • Windows Azure
  • Openshift
  • Apache Statos
  • Google App Engine

PaaS offers a wide array of services without the subscriber having to invest in expensive hardware. This provides an integrated development environment where developers and users can design, develop and test the web services, database integration and team collaboration that they require. 

How does Platform as a Service work?

In a nutshell, PaaS provides the subscriber with development tools, both hardware and software over the internet, enabling the developer access to what is required without having to invest in hardware in-house. 

The IT management team identifies the tools they need and then identifies a third-party provider who offers what is required. With PaaS you only pay for what you need, with flexible packages so as your business grows (or downsizes) the subscription is flexible too. 

Benefits of PaaS

Using PaaS rather than investing in hardware or software can save a lot of money, as; 

  • Subscribers are able to run specialist software without purchasing hardware on which to do so. 
  • Maintenance of the hardware and operating systems is the responsibility of the service provider. 
  • Developers using the PaaS cloud service don’t have to start from scratch as the PaaS offers a foundation starting point. 
  • It is accessible by multiple users and can grow with your business. 

A valuable benefit of PaaS is that developers can use it to build custom applications without needing to manage storage and data service issues. 

However, the administrators using the PaaS only have control over the software built on it. Therefore, should there be a system outage anything on the PaaS will be inaccessible. However, this is a concern being addressed and Google App Engine have a Service Level Agreement which guarantees 99.95% uptime meaning they can accommodate numerous service outages without the system going down. 

Whether you’re interested in incorporating all three types of cloud computing into your business model, or if you’re making the change to a digital workplace, CiS’s secure solutions are always made simple. 


Our expert team is always on hand to guide you through the types of cloud computing that will optimise the changes and improvements to your systems. You can explore our cloud consulting services here to find out more about making a scalable, cost-efficient, easily accessible infrastructure a reality.





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