Welcome in the second episode of the CloudBusters series. I hope that after reading the first one you can distinguish between cloud and non-cloud services. In this episode we will talk about “the cloudy” acronyms. They are in our everyday life. Why do we need to loose time to say whole name of something if we can just create an acronym. Everyone loves acronyms and the same apply to IT guys and cloud computing.
There are three main acronyms that are used in cloud computing area:
1. SaaS – Software as a Service – the most common cloud service. SaaS service is accessible only via web browser, RIA or mobile app and owner/user have no access to the infrastructure that hosts it. You have to have working Internet connection to use that service. This service seems to be the best choice for developers who can just put their source code to the cloud and run their apps. No servers, no additional workload. One click in Visual Studio ( ok, maybe few clicks) and your application is ready to install on somebody’s smartphone 🙂 As easy as pie. From the Operations perspective that is the easiest way for the startup companies that would like to have only their service up and running and available for the end users/customers. SaaS is also great solution to host your web sites. Especially that some cloud providers allows to host few web sites with no charge for that – details in one of the next episodes. The most common examples of SaaS service are GoogleApps or Office365 from Microsoft (Outlook, Office and Sharepoint in one service). If you have the Google account and you log from time to time to Gmail or use Google Apps then you are using SaaS service.
2. Paas – Platform as a Service – in simpler words nothing else as just Operating System available for you in the cloud and ready to be used. You do not have to buy anything: no hardware, no licenses for Operating System, no need to patch the server from time to time. Separate problem here is CALs and RDP CALs topic but one more time -let’s leave it for later. PaaS offers different platforms: from client operating systems to the server operating system depending on the portfolio of the specific cloud vendor. PaaS is a virtual machine (VM) that might have a standard configuration or can be customized by the end users depending on the requirements. It allows to choose between different size of the VM – in most cases you specify Operating System, RAM (memory) amount, disk space and number of vCPUs (virtual processors). One more time this cloud service seems to be a good choice for the developer interested in having more options to customize his environment. Worth mentioning is that most of the cloud providers use “pay as you go” model so that end users pay only for the used/reserved resources.
3. IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service – nothing else than hypervisor in the cloud. You can create as many VMs as you want and you can choose between different operating systems. Most of the cloud vendors provides also customized images of virtual machines with preconfigured applications or systems e.g. SAP, database servers etc. IaaS is then nothing else as just a virtual datacenter that you can attach to your existing one to provide on demand virtual machines to your end users or customers. Hypervisors can vary from Red Hat solutions, through VMware, Citrix to Hyper-V from Microsoft.
The below picture clearly shows division of user responsibilities when it comes different models of cloud services. As you can see everyone will find something for himself/herself .
What is worth mentioning – three models of cloud services create a stack of cloud computing similar to OSI/ISO model.
Above picture taken from: http://thinkinoutcloud.blogspot.com.
Apart from the main three acronyms IT or rather sales guys try to invent as many of them as possible. One of the most common that you can find are:
- DaaS – Desktop as a Service
- NaaS – Network as a Service
- and my favourite – XaaS – Everything as a Service.
What is also quite interesting recently I’ve seen GaaS – Game as a Service. Who knows maybe in a near future we will get WaaS – Work as a Service or better HaaS – Holiday as a Service :).
Hope that this short explanation of the cloud(y) acronyms was informative for you. See you in the next episode of ClooudBusters series!