Published: May 11, 2022

what is cloud as a service


The advancement of technology encompassing networks and storage gave birth to cloud computing - a necessity that changed the way businesses and organisations operate. To keep up with the ever-changing demands of customers, organisations resorted to cloud computing to make their processes more laminar. Cloud-as-a-service offers companies what they want - simplicity and flexibility.

Companies that use cloud-as-a-service (CaaS) can focus more on the business without worrying about buying, running, or upgrading servers and software. It allowed them to offer new services faster, create applications quickly, and find out what customers genuinely like.

What is Cloud as a Service?

Cloud-as-a-Service (CaaS) is a term for a wide range of cloud services delivered on-demand to its end users. These cloud computing services include servers, networking, software, storage, databases, analytics, etc. Service providers designed such facilities to offer easy and affordable access to cloud resources and software tools without the need for an underlying infrastructure or hardware.

Many companies have considered cloud adoption to offload the duties of maintaining their IT management chores. And since cloud computing services come as a subscription or pay-per-use model, companies can predict the realistic figures they have to pay monthly. This shift allows them to switch their expense model from capital to operational. The changes in expenditure inevitably increase their IT’s efficiency, not to mention the resources they’ve saved instead of dealing with storage, security, and networking issues.

A cloud service provider manages and takes care of the user data and allows it to flow from front-end clients (desktop, laptop, on-premise servers) through the internet to the provider’s systems and back. These cloud services are available on-demand and almost instantaneously from the provider’s server to users without needing host applications or any on-premise supporting infrastructure. 

Applications 

Companies are starting to lean on cloud services mainly to reduce their capital expenses, but it doesn’t stop there. There are reasons why companies favour cloud services instead of relying solely on on-premise servers, hardware, and software tools.

Cloud services can:

  • Streamline and automate the delivery of services

  • Reduce underlying costs (infrastructure, maintenance, energy, real estate)

  • Expedite the time to value of new projects and applications

  • Handle immediate scaling to adapt to evolving demands

  • Drastically strengthen overall IT security

  • Free up existing IT infrastructure for other uses

  • Radically improve employee productivity

Is it Important?

Here are some reasons why Cloud-as-a-Service is a significant asset for companies and organisations.

Accessibility. Cloud apps such as Slack, Google 365, and Asana made it possible for teams scattered worldwide to work cohesively and for business operations to run smoothly, despite the pandemic. Cloud applications are readily accessible, even if you're only using a smartphone.

On-demand Scalability. Cloud-as-a-service solutions offer its users almost instantaneous scalability not only of applications but also storage and bandwidth. CaaS can readily provide an entire cloud infrastructure that’s upgradeable anytime the organisation needs it.

Disaster Recovery. One of the biggest strengths of CaaS is its ability to back up the client’s data on its cloud storage. An automatic failover means that a location struck by a disaster will not impact the entire operation. Cloud services can make a seamless transition for both employees and customers possible if said disaster occurs.

Benefits of Cloud as a Service

Companies lean on CaaS mainly for cost savings. If an organisation subscribes to a cloud service, there’s no more need to over-purchase infrastructure for futureproofing because the monthly expenditure matches with the services consumedOther than costs, there are other benefits of using CaaS.

  • Time to Value. CaaS can help organisations speed up the process of application development and deployment. As for PaaS platforms, it can further simplify development thanks to the environment it provides.

  • Resiliency. Utilising SaaS services eliminates the need to worry about any on-premise infrastructure issues.

  • Can Support Multiple Users - The multi-tenancy support of hyper-scale cloud providers is beneficial to organisations with multiple users with separate IT systems.

  • Heightened Security. Organisations usually adopt the “never trust; always verify” mentality regarding security. Cloud providers mirror that sentiment, as they offer one of the strongest physical security to date.

  • Predictable Fees - Signing up for pay-as-you-go subscription models means that an organisation can predict the monthly fees they have to pay depending on the service they’ve consumed volume-wise and the number of users.

  • On-Demand Service - Organisations can start and stop consuming a provider’s cloud services whenever they see fit. 

  • Competitive Advantage - Subscribing to cloud-native tools and software can put an organisation one step ahead of its competitors, as said tools can produce designs that will help deliver riveting applications and better user experience.

How does Cloud as a Service work?

Organisations subscribed to cloud services can use the service provider’s infrastructure to assist them with their requested services. But before they can enjoy said cloud services, they must consider some things first.

  1. Determine whether or not the required bandwidth is available. There’s no denying that broadband is readily available and cheap, but a cloud service that requires massive input/output traffic may overwhelm the broadband the organisation is currently using. Before an organisation subscribes to a particular cloud service, it must first consider its upload and download traffic.

  2. Specify the functionality required. Adopting Saas (software-as-a-service) is relatively easy, but the other subsets of Cloud-as-a-Service will require an organisation to deeply examine what cloud resources they will and will not need.

  3. Pick the right cloud service provider. While most cloud providers offer similar services, some will be a better candidate for an organisation’s needs.  For instance, a Windows workload will work great on Microsoft Azure, Linux users may benefit more from IBM Cloud and Google Cloud has superior data analytics and can analyse data faster than its competitors.

Selecting the right cloud service provider is crucial, so organisations must pick wisely depending on what they need.

Difference Between Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service

There are three main types of cloud services, namely Software-as-a-Service (Saas), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).

SaaS, also referred to as either cloud-based software or cloud applications, is the most popular. Whether offered as a private cloud service or a public cloud service, SaaS solutions are ideal for organisations that seek something cost-effective yet highly scalable and flexible.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service

It’s the most basic category of Cloud-as-a-Service. With IaaS, an organisation is practically “renting” a cloud infrastructure instead of maintaining an on-premise one. This service is an on-demand pay-as-you-go and includes the essentials: computing resources, storage, servers, operating systems, and network. 

Examples:

  • Google Compute Engine (GCE)

  • Microsoft Azure

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Platform-as-a-Service

PaaS providers can give organisations an on-demand environment that can cater to software deployment, development, testing, and network. PaaS solutions aim to make developers’ lives easier by allowing them to swiftly create apps without worrying about the underlying infrastructure necessary for the application’s development.

Examples:

  • Google App Engine

  • SAP Cloud

  • Amazon Lambda

Trends

Below are some of the trends gaining attention in the cloud service industry.

AI Ops

AIOps (artificial intelligence for IT operations) are multi-layered platforms that automate and enhance IT operations by using predictive data analytics and machine learning. Cloud service providers do this through monitoring, automating, and predicting an organisation’s operational challenges. AIOps utilises big data from various IT operations tools and devices to identify and respond to issues in real-time.

5G/Edge/Hybrid Cloud

5G

As 5G (fifth generational mobile network) rolls out globally, many experts already see its impact on cloud services. This latest iteration of cellular technology will significantly increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks. The combination of 5G and the cloud brings exciting possibilities that will massively affect the operational efficiency of businesses while simultaneously changing the industry IT. 

EDGE 

Edge is a cloud architecture that decentralises processing power towards an organisation’s network edges. Instead of using the computing power of servers, an edge cloud architecture utilises “edge devices” to perform “intelligent” tasks such as data minimisation - with little to no loss in the server’s computing power.

HYBRID CLOUD SERVICE

Hybrid cloud based services combine the power of private cloud services (on premises infrastructure) and public cloud services and allow data to move between the two. Such a cloud service can give organisations flexibility, security, and more deployment while extracting more value from their existing on-premises hardware and software.

AI/ML in Cloud

Enterprises leverage artificial intelligence to help them to improve their efficiency, be more strategic, and be more insight-driven. The advent of cloud technology made it easy for organisations to experiment with machine learning and use it to scale projects. Integrating this concept with cloud computing and infrastructure can experience a massive change. The marriage between machine learning and cloud computing can result in an “intelligent cloud.”

Key Takeaways

Cloud-as-a-Service covers a wide array of cloud services that help organisations keep up with the advancement of technology and its challenges. The three main segments of cloud computing services (SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS) cover different clouds (public, private, and hybrid). These cloud services can boost an organisation’s productivity while reducing the upkeep costs necessary to maintain on premises infrastructure.

Developing a solid cloud strategy and picking the right cloud service providers can give your organisation a leg up against its competitors.


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