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What Are Cloud-Based Services?

With cloud computing services, we refer to many solutions and systems that are also very different from each other. Think of the mail providers or sites that offer file storage and sharing commonly used by individuals to give two simple examples known to all. But the topic is much broader. There are mainly three types of services based on cloud computing, to which three more recent ones can then be added. 

These are SaaS (Software as a service), PaaS (product as a service), and IaaS (infrastructure as a service) services. In practice, they all offer products and services directly in the cloud, without downloading Anything on your PC.

  1. SaaS, i.e., programs installed on remote servers accessed via web servers.
  2. PaaS platforms for the development of applications in the cloud.
  3. Iaas, i.e., services that provide a cloud infrastructure to carry out the processing, data storage, etc.

Let’s see in detail the different services available thanks to cloud computing. As will be seen below, many further combinations of cloud-based services can be made available to the user to offer him resources, be they hardware or Software.

Software As A Service (SaaS)

What is the approach to cloud computing intended with Software as a service (SaaS)? SaaS is a software distribution model (management, middleware, programs for the management of e-mail, videoconferencing as well as modules of CRM, Business Intelligence, HR management and so on) in which a manufacturer develops, operates (directly or through third parties ), and manages a web application, making it available to its customers via the Internet. 

With SaaS, the company that uses the service does not control the infrastructure that supports the Software: at the network, server, storage, and operating systems level, management is entirely the provider’s responsibility. The customer company can only limit the Software’s functionality by establishing identity management policies and access prioritization through a dedicated configuration set. The SaaS provider differs from the Asp(Application Service Provider) because it initially distributed Software via the Internet based on client-server architecture. 

In this perspective, an HTML layer is added to the core of these solutions. Unlike this approach, applications based on a SaaS model are natively built in web logic and optimized for delivery over the Internet. These offers are generally hosted and provided directly by those who produced them (at most by relying on external infrastructure for public cloud computing). At the same time, the manufacturer entrusts the Asp tools to a service provider. Another difference concerns the license: while the ASP uses a traditional system, which passes from the signing of a contract lasting one or more years.

Platform As A Service (PaaS)

What is the Platform as a Service? The term Platform as a Service (PaaS) means an offer in which the client company is guaranteed a platform that supports the development of cloud computing applications. The Platform includes programming languages, libraries, services, and dedicated tools, entirely developed by the provider. The elements that makeup PaaS allow you to program, test, implement and manage business applications without the costs and complexity associated with purchasing, configuring, optimizing, and managing the basic hardware and Software needed for development activities.

The advantage of this formula? A company can, in turn, develop advanced applications and application services such as, for example, collaboration solutions to support teams, integration of Web solutions, database integration, and security management. All through a Web-based interface. Also, in this case, the client company does not have to worry about managing or controlling the cloud infrastructure at the network, server, operating systems, and storage level but has complete control over the applications implemented and the related configuration settings. The technological drifts of PaaS are the iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) and the dPaaS (Data Platform as a Service).

Infrastructure As A Service (IaaS)

What is Infrastructure as a Service? IaaS is advanced outsourcing of all ICT resources. In the meaning of cloud computing, today we mean a group of technologies by now so mature that it is possible to move Anything on the cloud: the principle is that thanks to a new generation of software programming, the physical resources are transformed into a logical resource. So you can use software servers, storage, appliances, switches, security devices, firewalls, routers, and so on.

Today, providers have come to offer a large part of the network in the cloud: in practice, an entire virtual data center can reside on the cloud. This, in short, is the meaning of Iaas – Infrastructure As a Service (IaaS). By choosing IaaS, companies outsource resources managed at the infrastructure level by a supplier. The customer can manage his storage, his networks, and all his computing resources in distributed mode, being able to view everything from a single centralized dashboard without worrying about the details of motorization, monitoring, security, and updating related to the machines that enable this online service.

Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)Now, let’s take a closer look at what iPaaS is, the cloud computing service that offers IT a platform for integrating data, applications, services, and processes. These platforms often have fewer features than on-premise ones but are easier to use. They are ideal platforms to support cloud to cloud and mobile to cloud integration. They provide simpler development environments than on-premise ones, making it easier to achieve ad hoc integration, i.e., the integration of specific projects. Let’s briefly summarize some of the main features usually included in an iPaaS platform, always keeping in mind that these are constantly evolving solutions.

  1. They integrate connectors for multiple communication protocols (FTP, HTTP, Amqp, Mqtt, etc.) and packaged applications used in SaaS or on-premises.
  2. They support various data formats (XML, JSON, ASN.1, etc.) and standards (Edifact, Swift, HL7, etc.) and data mapping, data quality, and data synchronization.
  3. In addition to the variety of data available today, they also manage speed and volume. Therefore, bulk (massive imports), transactional in real-time, streaming (typical of the IoT), and big data are structured and unstructured.
  4. They have tools for the development of integration processes.
  5. They manage and monitor integration operational flows.
  6. They are increasingly integrating API management.

Desktop As A Service (DaaS)

You can’t explain what Desktop As a Service (DaaS) is if you don’t first explain desktop virtualization. The service, in general, arises from the development of deduplication technologies that use a hypervisor, which is a technique that allows you to run multiple (virtual) machines residing on a (real) computer called a host. This will enable you to store the configuration of a computer operating system as if it were a photograph (snapshot), which allows the same design to be released in a few clicks on one or more workstations without dealing with long installations and manual configurations as it happens with physical desktop workstations.

Two leading virtualization technologies are VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) and DaaS (Desktop as a Service). What are the differences? While VDI is an in-house approach, where virtual machines are managed on a local server, i.e., internal to the company, DaaS is a service provided by a cloud provider. This way, desktop management is transformed into a contracted service according to pay per use and on-demand methods. This significantly changes governance because it relieves the company of any management burden, freeing up resources and ensuring, at the same time, a state-of-the-art infrastructure.

With the DaaS, only the data users can access through any application as if they were resident on a local disk are made available via the web. The cloud provider will guarantee all the best technologies and approaches and security methodologies that allow it to provide virtual desktops upon subscription subject to certain SLAs required by the client company. The provider will always be responsible for managing data backup and storage, resource provisioning activities, load balancing problems, security, and, more generally, all network services, thus ensuring business continuity and the individual productivity of employees. In short, businesses looking for an alternative solution to traditional desktops but one that is low-cost, scalable, and easily manageable must turn to a DaaS platform.

XaaS: From The Cloud To Anything As A Service

What does Anything as a Service consist of? This is what XaaS is: it is an integral part of a holistic vision of those who trust and rely on cloud computing. This is the maximum evolutionary horizon in the curve of services offered in the cloud and is part of a development associated with the Internet of Things that is advancing at the rate of a prevailing stratification of objects. Managing platforms capable of administering, monitoring, and securing all the sensorized objects of which public and private companies are dotting the world is a further challenge that cloud computing is very happy to welcome.

The difficulty is finding prepared providers with big shoulders and understanding what is the analysis to be done to manage all the resources necessary to make the IoT work. Xmas is, in fact, the infrastructural side of the coin, supporting that Internet of Everything predicted for some years by a brand among the greatest Lords of Networking. XaaS thus becomes the umbrella of all the above service models: SaaS, PaaS, Daas, and IaaS, in all its forms (Storage as a Service, Data Center as a Service, Disaster Recovery as a Service, and on saying).


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