The Three General Categories of Cloud Computing

Last week we discussed how Cloud computing is a catchall phrase, for anything that delivers hosted services over the Internet, and how those services are divided into three general categories – IaaS, Paas, and SaaS.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

Suppliers offering cloud infrastructure as a service or Infrastructure-as-a-service provide the servers, data center space, network equipment, and software for your organization, as a fully outsourced service. Generally these services are charged to you much like power, water, and other utilities, in that you pay for the amount of the service that you receive. In other words, you pay for IaaS services based on your level of usage or activity.

Platform-as-a-Service (Paas)

Cloud platform service, or Platform-as-a-Service is the provision of the hardware architecture and software framework layers that allow applications to run. The commitment from the supplier to the software developer, organizations like JASZ Technology and others who build robust, flexible, web-based applications, is that it will deliver an environment from which the developer’s software/source code, byte code, and machine code, will operate consistently, generally irrespective of the operating system. Think of it this way, Windows, Linux, and Apple provides a platform that programmers build software to operate on. Google, Amazon, and Heroku, for example provide a development platform also, except it’s delivered from the cloud.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Cloud application services, or Software-as-a-Service is the provision of commercially available software that is accessed over the Internet. The software is licensed and maintained by the service provider so you, the end-user, don’t have to purchase the software licenses, install patches, and bug fixes, upgrades, and the like. It’s all handled by your SaaS provider. You’re probably wondering what types of software you can purchase as a service, you’d be surprised at what’s available. Imagine, providing email, office productivity, customer relationship management, project management, scheduling, website content management, and much more, to your employees without having to pay for the hardware, software, or salary and benefits of the personnel required to install, configure, and maintain these applications? That is a huge savings for any cash-strapped company or one whose IT department can’t keep base with end-user demand. You can free up your IT staff to deliver new services or reduce your IT budget and power and cooling bills dramatically with Software-as-a-service.

Next we’ll discuss various cloud deployment models – Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Community Cloud, and Hybrid Cloud.

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AJ Malik

Development as a Service (DaaS) is a set of development tools/API that can be used to develop
cloud applications that run under the PaaS model.

Antoinette Taylor

Thanks for the comment on DaaS, this is one area we didn’t cover. We at JASZ Technology are doing DaaS for Google Apps

Sandy Barsky


Should there not be a fourth general category, Business Process as a Service? The new business paradigm of delivering automation as a Service, based on SOA/SOI, will allow us to move from IT to Business Centric and with it to focus on Business Transformation, if providers begin to offer a BPaaS.

BPaaS would allow the business owners to model and workout the business process changes needed to succeed, test those, and then promote those so that the provider then deals with delivering the right products through SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, without the customer being concerned with those.

Antoinette Taylor

Sandy you might be on to something here. I’ll consider that for a bit and maybe follow up on it. For more information on this and other topics (Cloud computing deployment models diagram, SharePoint 2010 cool features, MVC…) check out jasztech.com/blog.