Software-as-a-service (SaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) are no longer alone in the cloud resource market. As the cloud’s underlying technology has gained ground among enterprise, midsize and even small businesses, its services have undergone significant change, evolving beyond these three well-known models. So what’s next?
Start with the Basics
SaaS is the simplest cloud model, providing applications over a distributed network and eliminating the need for installation on local servers. This is often the first step for cloud-unsure companies, or those who have complicated legacy systems in place. PaaS, meanwhile, broadens scope of IT power in their own cloud, allowing the freedom to design and test applications in-house, but with the safety of separate compute instances. For ambitious admins, IaaS offers a from-the-ground-up solution requiring greater management, and potentially greater rewards.
Each type has been refined by large industry players and niche market goers alike, with an aim to improve their uptime, speed of implementation, and ease of use. Costs, meanwhile, have come down, as providers hammer out common contract terminology and IT professionals become more discerning about suppliers they choose. The result is market evolving beyond the “big three” of traditional cloud computing.
For starters, options like database-as-a-service (DBaaS), business-intelligence-as-a-service (BIaaS), and security-as-a-service (SECaaS). In short, any resources used by companies in-house are potential candidates for the cloud.
Of particular note is the evolution of storage-as-a-service (STaaS). A truly cloud-based storage environment has the potential to eliminate substantial server costs over time, while keeping data close enough at hand to access as though present on-site. But ways to manage this resource effectively go beyond simple storage containers and disaster recovery locations; the evolution of this cloud compute feature is to take advantage of the largely untapped processor capabilities inherent in deployment. It works like this: Stored data takes up space, but doesn’t make best use of server potential. Providers are now capitalizing on this imbalance by creating app testing and execution environments in the space between. This allows storage services to do double-duty, improving their value without compromising their function.
IT resource management has improved significantly thanks to basic cloud solutions like SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. In addition, more advanced alternatives are also coming to bear as the market matures, and better use is made of existing technology.
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