Various Business Models for Cloud-Utilization
SaaS, PaaS and IaaS – these are terms that are constantly mentioned in connection with the cloud. But what is behind these terms and what do they mean? Let’s look at the term cloud in general. Cloud means „Wolke“ and exactly this is described by the term. A cloud of IT-infrastructure, computing power and data storage.
What Exactly Is the Cloud?
The cloud is a summary of all computing powers connected to the cloud. The computing powers are provided to the user – dynamically adjusted to the user’s needs – via a network. From a user’s point of view, this bond of computers seems to be opaque, just like a cloud. By virtualization, the solutions from the cloud are scalable as desired. The usage of these resources can only take place via defined interfaces and protocols.
Every business has different needs when it comes to the question which applications and services should be placed in the cloud. In order to meet these needs, there are various business models, known under the acronyms SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.
SaaS stands for Software-as-a-Service, which means the concept of rentable software from the cloud. In concrete terms this means that an access to software, somewhere running in the cloud, is provided. This can be any type of software. Most people probably know the storage solution Dropbox. Apart from these simple solutions there are also complex applications from the cloud. For example there are CRM- and ERP-solutions which are completely obtained from the cloud.
For users of these applications there are a number of benefits. The user can for example access these applications from everywhere. Provided, he has an internet-enabled terminal device. Due to this very small hurdle regarding the access to the application, the application can be spread out quickly in a business. As a rule, the announcement of the URL and the corresponding access data will be sufficient. With most providers, the products are available within short time so that no lengthy procurement processes need to be traversed. Due to the fact that it involved rentable software, there are no high early stage investments and the costs are reasonable.
PaaS stands for Platform-as-a-Service and means a development environment from the cloud. There are two differend kinds: first of all there are development environments for new development of an application. On the other hand there is the possibility to extend an existing SaaS application. In both cases the user gets a complete solution, comprising of a development environment, for example an Eclipse plugin, and an execution environment, in which the software is running.
Naturally, it is advantageous for the user that an execution environment is directly available, without having to configure an environment in the first place. In addition, there are no costs for the server that would be needed alternatively.
IaaS stands fort Infrastructure-as-a-Service. Think of a virtual computer center from the cloud. However, the choice for the customer is not limited to virtual servers. Storage space within the cloud and a virtual network environment are also possible.
The great advantage for the customer is the scalability. Due to the fact that the server is no longer bound to the limits of a computer, one can handle the available resources much more flexible.
A disadvantage for all cloud-solutions must be seen in the data protection problem. It cannot be guaranteed that the data stored within the cloud will stay on servers within Germany. In order to tackle this problem, a lot of providers offer to limit the storage of data broadly regionally. Thus, Amazon offers the choice between the regions USA Standard, USA West (Oregon), USA West (Northern Californian), EU (Ireland), Pacific Asia, (Singapore), Pacific Asia (Tokyo), South America (Sao Paulo).