SaaS in a Nutshell
When different people say cloud computing, they don’t necessarily mean the same thing. In general, the phrase implies that an aspect of the business which was previously conducted “in-house” is now off premises to save costs (similar to outsourcing, but with computers).
The whole point behind outsourcing is that someone else can get the same results cheaper through mass production or a better location. The size or type of outsourcing is, however, not clearly implied by the term ‘cloud computing’.
Let’s use an adept analogy to help illustrate the types of cloud computing:
A Useful Analogy: Jack and Jill want to start a family fishing business.
Welcome to the fishing industry, good luck!
- Fishing: Buy your own land and build a dock on it, buy your own boat, buy your own equipment, hire staff, and then finally go fishing.
- Technology Example: Traditional 100% on-premises data center and IT. Do everything yourself.
Infrastructure as-a-Service (IaaS)
- Fishing: Rent a dock slip, buy your own boat, buy your own equipment, hire staff and go fishing.
- Technology Example: Off-site servers, storage and networking.
Platform as-a-Service (PaaS)
- Fishing: Rent the boat as well, buy your own equipment, hire staff and go fishing.
- Technology Example: Off-site runtime, web servers, application servers, O/S, telecommunication software.
Software as-a-Service (SaaS)
- Fishing: Rent everything. Hire staff and go fishing.
- Technology Example: Off-site data, backup, web security, and applications.
As with the fishing industry, there are tremendous scale advantages to renting rather than managing in-house something that isn’t part of your core business model.
But just as some fishing companies choose to own their entire fleet of vessels, SaaS is not necessarily for all business models.
You should ask yourself:
- What level of outsourcing is my company comfortable with?
- What questions do I have about the security, efficiency, and business continuity impacts of this decision?
If at any point you need a second voice in answering these questions, feel free to call or email.
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