Many organizations choose Azure without knowing where to begin. They are not sure on which cloud delivery model to choose, considering their business requirements. The decision makers think Azure is only about virtual machines residing in a data center somewhere. But it’s worthy to take time and understand how much Azure has to offer irrespective of your project needs.
You can choose the following cloud delivery models, which are commonly available in any cloud platform.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
- Platform as a Service (PaaS)
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
Each of these models have their own pros and cons. And, it is necessary to know the differences and know how to choose the best one for your business. The below illustrations give a simple understanding of the components which will be managed by you and others, under the 3 models
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS is one of the most familiar cloud delivery models. In short, IaaS gives you a server in the cloud (virtual machine) which you can control completely. With an Azure VM, you are responsible for managing everything from the operating system up to the applications you are running.
This model is like on-premises virtual machines. It is like connecting to remote servers to manage them instead of physically accessing them. Another example of Azure IaaS is Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), which is a container orchestration service. With this solution you can easily migrate applications to Azure and deploy and manage Microservices based applications and IoT devices. If you need a solution that requires multiple applications running on a single machine or custom third-party software, then IaaS might be for you.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
PaaS provides a complete cloud framework for development and deployment. Choosing a PaaS solution gives the power to develop simple to complex cloud-based apps. It also provides the ability to analyze data and find insights to enhance business decisions. Common examples of Azure PaaS services include Azure Search, App Services, and Azure CDN.
With Azure PaaS, you are responsible for managing your applications alone. The cloud service provider would manage the development tools, databased management systems, business analytics, middleware, servers and storage, and networking firewalls. This model helps you to eliminate the IT costs of software licenses, development tools, and application infrastructure. If you want to create applications using built-in software components with less coding, then PaaS would be the right solution.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
SaaS provides a complete software solution where you can rent apps for your organization. All the underlying infrastructure, app software, middleware, and app data are in the data center. The service provider manages the hardware and software under a service agreement. This always ensures the availability of the app and the security of your data as well. SaaS allows your organization to quickly get things running with apps at minimal upfront cost.
The advantage of SaaS is no code involved, no deployment hassles, and minimal configuration. Most SaaS applications today are built on a cloud platform due to the low cost of entry and the ability to scale up as your customer base grows. A good example of Azure SaaS model is Azure IoT solution accelerators. Here you can leverage ready-to-use templates and customizable solutions for common IoT scenarios. Also, if you want to rent productivity apps and apps like ERP and CRM, then you should choose the SaaS model.
Regardless of your application’s demands, Azure’s robust options will allow you to custom tailor a solution that fits your needs perfectly. Choosing a cloud delivery model will depend on the particular use case. Some organizations may find themselves using all three. For example, a large enterprise may use SaaS services, while also migrating some of its in-house applications to IaaS and developing new customer-facing apps via a PaaS.