How to Choose the Best Cloud Computing Model for Your Business
Cloud computing is on the rise. It is faster, secure, scalable, economical, and immediately available. As a result, not just corporate bigwigs, but even small and medium businesses are moving their workload to the cloud.
According to Logic Monitor’s recent survey, 83% of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020. On the other hand, Gartner predicts that the worldwide public cloud services market will reach $278.3 billion up from just $145.3 billion in 2017.
In short, now is the time to jump on the cloud computing wagon if you already haven’t. However, not all cloud computing models are made equal. You will need to choose the one that suits your business requirements.
Here are a few cloud computing models you can choose from.
1. Software as a Service (SaaS)
One of the most popular cloud computing models, Software as a Service is a license-and-use model where the vendor offers cloud-based software, programs, and applications. Users can quickly access these programs and applications by paying a monthly, quarterly, or yearly subscription fee.
SaaS does not require any installations or downloads as you can access the applications through a browser and an internet connection. That’s why SaaS has become a default alternative to the traditional software-on-premise installations.
- Affordability – Unlike a traditional software-on-premise option, you don’t have to pay the licensing cost. You also don’t have to pay for installation, maintenance, and upgrades of the hardware. You will be paying only for the services you use.
- Scalability – As it is a cloud-based solution, you can adjust your level of service as your business grows. Most SaaS vendors allow you to add new features with just a few clicks. So, you can quickly upgrade or downsize your services.
- Accessibility – Unlike on-premise software, SaaS has no accessibility limitations. As it is available through the internet, you can access SaaS from anywhere anytime as long as you have connectivity.
- Lack of Control – The inherent nature of a SaaS-based application leaves users with minimum or no control over it. Vendor controls and owns the SaaS software and hardware.
- Connectivity Issues – Although the vendor will provide you with an up-time guarantee, the performance of your SaaS application will also depend on your internet connection. Poor connectivity will affect the performance of your SaaS application.
- Security – SaaS will require you to share your most sensitive information with a third-party vendor, raising a few security concerns. You can, however, use different access management tools to make your application more secure.
- Google Apps
2. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
Infrastructure as a Service provides ready-to-use computing infrastructure such as storage, servers, and networking resources. IaaS uses Virtual Machines (VMs) instead of physical servers to store your databases, applications, and software. So, you don’t have to buy and maintain private server rooms.
The vendor takes care of infrastructure maintenance and support. Users can employ an operating system of their choice. As this is a pay-as-you-go cloud computing model, you can also scale up or scale down your VMs anytime.
- Scalability – IaaS is suited for fast-growing SMBs as it is considerably scalable. You can quickly add new products and features to your IaaS, reducing your time to market.
- Pay-As-You-Go – Most IaaS vendors provide pay-as-you-go IaaS models, allowing you to pay only for what you use. Thus, small companies can use high-end and expensive software that they can’t afford to buy as stand-alone in-house applications.
- Data Recovery – As your data won’t be in the same place, you can recover it quickly in case of a data breach.
- Monitoring – Most IaaS vendors will offer 24/7/365 monitoring and support, allowing you to focus on growing your business instead of worrying about your data or infrastructure.
- Security – IaaS-based cloud computing models may have data security concerns due to its multitenant architecture. However, you can minimize the security risk if the vendor adheres to strict industry standards.
- Upgrades and Maintenance – You are often responsible for updating and maintaining the software, hardware, and database systems you have developed. The vendor will upgrade and maintain only its infrastructure.
- Downtime – Although rare, vendor downtime will prevent you from accessing your applications. Your business may suffer significant losses or lose its credibility.
- Control – You have control over the applications and infrastructure developed by you. However, you don’t have control over the data centers or infrastructure owned by the vendor.
- Google Cloud Platform
- Microsoft Azure
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
3. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
In a Platform as a Service cloud computing model, vendors provide you with a cloud-based platform where you can develop, test, and deploy various applications. The PaaS ecosystem is still in its infancy.
PaaS usually comes with programming languages, operating server, and database server required for building cloud-based applications from scratch. You can access PaaS through a web browser.
- Lower Costs – PaaS can reduce your overall costs considerably as you don’t have to invest in multiple hardware or software. You can develop, test, and run all applications in one place. You also have to pay only for the resources you use.
- Remote Accessibility – Whether you are trying to access cloud computing services from Genève or Tokyo, PaaS allows you and your team members to access the app development hub from anywhere and at any time.
- Better Control – Although the vendor owns the PaaS resources and architecture, you have complete control over developing and deploying your application.
- Automated Updates – You don’t have to worry about installing the latest updates and security patches as most PaaS vendors offer automated updates.
- Vendor Lock-In – Each PaaS vendor has unique architecture and the resource configuration. As no two PaaS vendors use the same programming language or deployment platform, moving from one provider to another is often difficult, resulting in vendor lock-in. You will need to rebuild the entire application from scratch if you switch vendors.
- Runaway Costs – Generally, the cost of running an application in a PaaS is directly proportional to its scale. In other words, running a large application can result in runaway costs.
- Data Security – Most PaaS vendors use public or multi-tenant environment for storing their databases, applications, and other resources. As a result, running applications with sensitive information or having strict security compliances on PaaS is not a good idea.
- Google App Engine
- Windows Azure PaaS
- AWS Elastic Beanstalk
- AWS Relational Database Service (RDS)
As you can see, each cloud computing model comes with distinct advantages and drawbacks of their own. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, there is a suitable cloud computing alternative for every type of business IT needs. Hopefully, these tips can help you choose a cloud computing model that fits your needs. Which cloud computing model would you pick and why?