The different types of cloud computing and how they differ

According to IDG’s 2020 Cloud Computing Survey, enterprise cloud investment is at an all-time high; companies are spending as much as a third of their IT budget on cloud-based tools and services. Today, 92 percent of most organizations’ IT environments run in one way or another on the cloud. On top of that, more and more companies are shifting to an all-cloud IT infrastructure.

The growing adoption of cloud computing indicates that there is a way for every business to benefit from hosted computing services. In other words, the cloud has something for every enterprise. 

‘The cloud’ is a broad term describing various services and platforms offered by cloud providers. Here is an in-depth look at the three main types of cloud computing and how each can benefit your business.

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

IaaS is a low-level cloud service. It is a robust virtual computing infrastructure, whose environment is configurable for just about any purpose. The cloud provider gives you full control of the platform’s components, including the system’s applications, database, file systems, runtimes, and security protocols. The only part of IaaS you cannot fully control is the underlying virtualization, physical server, and networking framework.

This powerful server environment is highly scalable, flexible, and unrestrictive. It is ideal for setting up virtual data centers and hosting enterprise tools such as custom communications and analytical systems.

PaaS (Platform as a Service)

PaaS provides a highly tuned and incredibly resourceful environment for software development. Developers can access a fully functional software design, coding, and testing stage equipped with high-end development tool suites. The platform comes pre-configured with the relevant operating system, runtimes, sandbox environment, and toolkits.

This type of cloud computing essentially supports the development, testing, and deployment of enterprise applications. It cuts the development cost and time since you don’t have to acquire and set up sophisticated software development hardware and software.

FaaS (Function as a Service)

FaaS is an even more abstract version of PaaS. It is an event-based architecture that is so simple it’s often referred to as serverless architecture. The resources within the platform are triggered and controlled by specific events. The developer can write executable functions without worrying about resource allocation, load balancing, and runtime support.

With FaaS, developers can focus on just coding without wasting valuable time on infrastructure management. It’s also very cost-effective since you only pay for the time it takes to execute your code. FaaS is suitable for time-based batch processing and quickly releasing and iterating basic software applications.

Choosing between IaaS, PaaS, and FaaS

The choice comes down to what you really want to achieve with cloud computing. Every service model has its advantages and trade-offs. IaaS gives you nearly unlimited control over cloud resources but requires many technical configurations from the ground up. PaaS and FaaS, on the other hand, are relatively straightforward, but their fundamental architectures are abstracted under layers of high-level functionality.

If you only need a stripped-down virtual server that you can configure yourself for remote working or office virtualization, IaaS is the way to go. But if you are looking for a rapid app development and deployment environment, PaaS and FaaS are purpose-built for that.

According to Business Wire, most companies shift to cloud computing to cut IT costs and access cutting-edge digital tools. But the cloud model you choose for your business could very well determine your cloud’s utilization efficiency and outcome. Deliberate on your long-term and short-term cloud adoption strategy to carefully work out the most relevant and useful cloud service model.