Cloud & SaaS (Software as a Service)

What is the cloud?

Cloud-based software is not a new technology. It’s used regularly and you use it every day whether you know it or not. Cloud-based business applications range from organisational software like Office 365, Google Mail, and even that simple Hotmail or Yahoo account you setup as a youngster. The Cloud can be thought of as the internet.

In technical terms, cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage (cloud storage) and computing power, without direct active management by the user. Large "clouds" often have functions distributed over multiple locations, each location being a data center. Cloud computing relies on sharing of resources to achieve coherence and typically using a "pay-as-you-go" model which can help in reducing capital expenses but may also lead to unexpected operating expenses for unaware users.

What Is Software as a Service (SaaS)?

Software as a Service is a software delivery model in which a cloud-based software application is licensed to a user. The application is accessed via the internet, meaning the user doesn’t install and maintain the software locally.

The application itself runs on the SaaS provider’s servers, making them responsible for the security, performance, and maintenance of it. Typically, SaaS applications are licensed on a subscription basis. You pay a monthly fee based on level of service and number of users needed. In this way, a SaaS provider delivers and maintains their application to you over the internet, as a service.

Some well known examples include:

  • Office 365
  • Google Workspace (Gmail)
  • SalesForce
  • Dropbox

What Is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)?

Cloud infrastructure services, known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), are made of highly scalable and automated compute resources. IaaS is fully self-service for accessing and monitoring computers, networking, storage, and other services. IaaS allows businesses to purchase resources on-demand and as-needed instead of having to buy hardware outright.

Some well known examples include:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Vultr
  • Google Compute Engine