A guide to various models of Cloud ComputingSandeep Salman
In continuation of my earlier blogs on cloud computing, this time it would be the difference between various models of cloud computing offered by Microsoft on Azure. Azure is not only about hardware infrastructure somewhere in the remote datacenter which usually people think about. It is much more than that and today I am going to explain various models and their differences Azure offers.
Windows Azure offering mainly falls under three categories:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
Apart from these services Azure also provides backup services, Disaster Recovery services (ASR) which can broadly be categorized under IaaS
The best way to explain the difference is depicted below in a pictorial format.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Azure Virtual Machines
In a very naive language, IaaS is providing hardware/server (virtual machine) on the cloud which you can completely control and have all the administrative privileges. Azure has pre-defined templates with various configurations that can be provisioned and managed. You have all the administrative rights to deploy any software/application on these machines/virtual servers. Various operating systems have been provided and it depends upon your needs. So once you select the desired Virtual Machine from the various type of templates (depending on the configuration – core and RAM) it will be deployed automatically and you are ready to go with your application. Once the infra is provisioned its maintenance, security, patching is customer responsibility.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Azure Cloud Services
PaaS is growing rapidly among the developer community – as these people don’t have to worry about hardware, development tools and other security aspects of the infrastructure anymore. The Azure Cloud services also are known as PaaS consists of two components: developer source code, API, DLL etc and the configuration files. These two components form web role and worker role to execute the code written by the developer. With Azure Cloud Services (PaaS), Azure handles all of the tedious Operating System details, so that developers can focus on what matters – building a quality application for their customer and users. The advantages of using PaaS are:
- Develop application for various platforms including mobile
- Developer can use sophisticated tools as and when required and pay on ‘pay-as-you-use’ model. This saves a lot of money as
- Organizations/developers don’t have to buy costly/expensive development tool licenses.
- Cuts the development time as Azure has pre-defined various workflows, applications into their platform
- Efficiently manage the complete life cycle of application development (prototype, development, testing, and deployment)
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a service is self-explanatory – meaning ‘providing an application on the cloud’. One does not have to worry about either hardware or the platform on which it is built. Azure provides Office 365, Dynamics 365 solutions on the cloud. Organizations need not worry where their databases have been hosted, how it has been hosted, what infrastructure has been provisioned, security updates, backups etc. All this will be taken care off by Cloud service provider. Some of the benefits of SaaS:
- SaaS applications tend to reduce the cost of software ownership by removing the need for technical staff to install and upgrade software,
- Also, reduce the cost of licensing software as it is usually provided on a subscription model
- Organization need not worry about patch updates, version updates etc. They will always be on the latest software as it is the responsibility of the service provider to provide the latest version.
Microsoft has adopted its Partner channel for providing Azure services across the world – where Microsoft Azure partners plan and execute the Azure deployments for their customers. In addition, these Microsoft Azure partners also provide Managed services for the Azure platform.
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