In the Realm of Information Technology, What are SaaS, PaaS and other “as a Services”?

In the Realm of Information Technology, What are SaaS, PaaS and other “as a Services”?

May 21

With Cloud Computing becoming a popular alternative to physical storage, this information technology trend is beginning to impact product development and their distribution channels. Most people don’t understand the various components that the Cloud has to offer and how these services are being used by organizations. The most popular services can be broken down into two categories – Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). The aim of this article is to highlight the main distinction between the two, while explaining the pros and cons that each component has to offer.

Software as a Service

Software as a Service refers to applications or services that are sent via the internet. The software provider offers their products using a licensing model in which the user pays a monthly or annual subscription fee. Although rare, these services can be offered free of charge. This scenario usually occurs when the supplier receives external advertising revenue.

If you have ever used Dropbox or Netflix then you have come in direct contact with SaaS. Both of these products meet two necessary criteria: they are accessed using the web and are hosted on a non-localized server. You must also sign-in to an online account before the application or service can be accessed.

The Pros and Cons of SaaS

SaaS has a number of advantages over traditional methods; the most popular being Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The purpose of CRM is to develop an automated system to manage customer activities and data. By creating effective mobile programs, an organization can confidently grow their business while maintaining existing clients.

A secondary advantage of SaaS is that it allows employees to work on projects outside of the office. For example, programs such as Google Apps allow teams to compose a single document even when individuals are vast distances apart. This type of collaboration is unique to the Cloud.

The main drawback of SaaS is that internet connectivity is not always an option. Furthermore, program speed can be hindered by a poor signal; a significant problem when fast data processing is required.

Platform as a Service

Platform as a Service refers to programs that aid in software development, also delivered via the web. In short, PaaS are computing platforms that help businesses to design and create their own online applications. The main goal is to reduce the time, effort and complexity behind app development.

The Pros and Cons of PaaS

The main allure of PaaS is that it allows geographically-distant software developers to work on a single project. A secondary advantage is that both capital and recurring costs can be reduced by using a single PaaS service, rather than having to run multiple hardware facilities, many of which serve the same basic functions. Finally, Platform as a Service can help developers to both test and distribute their programs.

The downside of PaaS is that app developers sacrifice customization; a direct result of the pre-defined components that make automation possible. For example, a proprietary language could affect the future development of a product, or prevent the organization from switching over to another provider. This situation is often referred to as a ‘vendor lock-in’.

Backup as a Service and Recovery as a Service

Backup as a Service is a specific type of SaaS software that helps users to protect and store their data. Instead of storing important information on a physical hard drive, the data is transmitted via the web and is hosted on a server at a professional data center. Although this method may initially seem less secure than its physical counterpart, it does have several advantages. Foremost, off-site backup means that the info is generally protected against theft, fires and any natural disasters.

The sole purpose of Recovery as a Service (RaaS) is to prevent service interruptions from occurring. These interruptions are often the result of man-made or natural disasters which can make user data inaccessible. By implementing RaaS, an organization can ensure that its most vital systems are still running. The main advantage of a Cloud-based recovery system is that the offsite vendor is rarely affected by the same disaster that has taken down enterprise operations. Furthermore, an enterprise might not have the expertise or time to properly test a data recovery plan. By offloading this duty onto a third-party professional, they can be confident that their business is prepared.