In week 3 of our Solutions for the Cloud blog series, we dive into three service delivery models of the cloud concept. If you missed it, feel free to read our previous post on Cloud Building Blocks and Layers.
The cloud concept offers three service delivery models: infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and software as a service.
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is at the lowest layer. At this level, tenants share infrastructure resources (for example, processors, network, storage, and the operating system). Tenants install their middleware components and applications. This setup gives tenants flexibility. However, this setup also makes configuration and maintenance more difficult, especially in organizations with many applications. IaaS provides tenants with shared computing capacity, network-accessible storage, and an operating system. Tenants must install, configure, manage, and maintain everything else separately.
Platform as a service (PaaS) is a layer above IaaS. PaaS builds upon IaaS to deliver progressively more business value by simplifying at the platform level and saving significant time, effort, and resources. PaaS provides tenants with middleware components, databases, storage, connectivity, reliability, caching, monitoring, and routing. Tenants continue to use their applications. However, tenants can use shared middleware services, such as monitoring, security, and databases, and patterns of expertise for transaction-oriented web and database applications.
Software as a service (SaaS) is a layer above PaaS. With SaaS, tenants use and share everything that they might share in an IaaS and PaaS solution, plus an application. In this case, all tenants share the same application. However, all tenants can keep their data isolated. With SaaS, new tenants are added easily because tenants just select and customize a cloud application without worrying about building the middleware and installing the application.
Database as a Service (DbaaS) is a sub-variety of PaaS (or SaaS, depending on perspective). The same PaaS principles regulate DbaaS. DbaaS delivers the typical functionalities of a database management system in the cloud.
These cloud delivery models determine the levels of sharing and possible multiple-tenancy that a cloud provider offers its tenants. At each level in the stack, tenants share components that are part of that delivery model.
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