Types of cloud computing

There are 4 main types of cloud computing services: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Desktop as a Service (DaaS).

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

SaaS stands for “Software as a Service”. The provided service is software that is most cases centrally hosted and accessible through the internet by a browser client. With that customers can use the software without being concerned about computing resources or other money and time-consuming things.

SaaS has the following benefits:

  • No need for software installation
  • Data can be stored on the online
  • Software and data can be accessed by any device
  • Data can be shared easily and effectively between multiple users
  • Highly advanced software can be used almost instantly

Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS)

PaaS stands for Platform as a Service. The provided service is a platform that the allows users to develop, manage and run applications through the internet. This can include middleware that connects applications with operating systems, programming languages, web servers and other parts that build an environment that enables fast development and easy management of applications.

PaaS has the following characteristics:

  • By providing a ready-to-use development environment, you save development costs and time
  • You don’t have to worry about maintenances and backups as they are handled by the service provider
  • As the infrastructure is provided and set-up by the service provider you can start using the service right away
  • PaaS gives developers a lot of freedom such as choosing previously used applications for development and running them on the platform

An example of PaaS is Google App Engine on Google Cloud Platform, AWS, Azure which let’s users deploy application without spending time on the backend as it allocates and scales resources automatically and provides other automated tools for application development and management.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

IaaS stands for “Infrastructure as a Service”. The provided service is a complete infrastructure accessible through the internet containing networks, servers, operating systems and anything else that is required for building and running systems.

The user has a lot more freedom compared to SaaS and PaaS, however more responsibility as well. In order to set up the hardware, servers, network, security and other components, more technical expertise is required.

IaaS has the following characteristics:

  • It comes with a ready-to-use development environment
  • Gives the user the freedom of specifying hardware specs and setting up operating systems to use over the internet
  • Provides easy to use resource scaling options
  • Saves the user hardware maintenance and repair costs

An example of IaaS is the Google Compute Engine on Google Cloud Platform, AWS Compute and Azure Cloud. It give users the option to set up virtual machines (VM’s) which operate very similar to traditional computers. 

Desktop as a Service

DaaS stands for “Desktop as a Service”. The provided service is a desktop environment that is accessible through the internet and is also sometimes referred to as “cloud desktop” or “virtual desktop”. The hoster provides all the required resources to run the desktop environment and any application within it as well as storing and saving data for each session.

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