It's hard to spend much time reading about cloud computing without running across the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS acronyms. Respectively standing for Infrastructure, Platform and Software as a Service they are frequently used to characterise the different models for cloud service delivery.
While IaaS involves supplying low-level computation resources such as processing or data storage, SaaS corresponds to delivering fully-formed web applications ready to write documents or manage projects. PaaS sits somewhere in the middle and provides a service packaging lots of IaaS services together enabling applications to be rapidly built and deployed.
At this point I imagine that my audience will be either bored, having read a variant of the above dozens of times before or confused, perhaps wondering why I’m repeating this classic cloud mantra.
Well it has occurred to me that a nice thing about working at Arcus is that I’ve been able to work with all of these different delivery models and that we are now getting into a position where we are regularly using all three to meet client requirements:
While perhaps the most boring sounding of the three we still like IaaS - as well as providing us with load balanced and scalable virtual servers needed to deploy development work we can now take existing virtual machines running on in-house servers and migrate them up to an IaaS provider, potentially opening a whole new cloud migration path for Enterprise. (see here)
There has been lots of buzz recently about how Platform as a Service is about to take off. The balance it offers between flexibility and rapid, cost-efficient development has great potential for meeting many of the LOB requirements within the public sector.
Salesforce, one of the market leaders in this sector, will be opening a data centre in the UK next year with should remove a lot of regulatory hurdles relating to GCSX and CoCo. Amazon Web Services are also keen to move into this space.
Finally SaaS has been keeping me pretty busy recently. In terms of the number of products available it’s a huge area of cloud computing and offers great potential to benefit from some pretty intense competition and economics of scale.
In the last month we have conducted a market scan through dozens of SaaS project management applications on behalf of a client before selecting Clarizen and are now trailing it with the client and implementing it internally as well, so far so good.
I’ve also been having fun creating a suite of websites using Google sites for community libraries. It’s been a while since I’ve used a WYSIWYG website designer but it’s pretty cool what you can build with Google Sites without touching any code at all (a key requirement as the volunteers will be maintain and developing the sites after release).
So that’s IaaS, PaaS and SaaS covered, next we just have to tackle DaaS, StaaS, HaaS, CaaS, NaaS and MaaS! (Although I’m sure people are just making these terms up now, MaaS has been defined as Monitoring, Management and even Municipality)