SaaS, PaaS and IaaS are all types of cloud computing, making up three fundamental layers — but what are they and what benefits can they offer to manufacturers? Andy Gough, general manager at Datawright, explains all.
If you said a few years ago that you were storing things in the cloud, chances are you’d receive plenty of strange looks. Back then, software was purchased on CD-ROM and uploaded onto devices. Files were stored on USB sticks or — worse still — floppy discs.
While we knew no better at the time, the growth of the cloud’s popularity and efficiency has illustrated just how limiting our previous practices were. It’s now hard to remember a time without the cloud, with many different sectors of cloud computing emerging.
IaaS, PaaS and SaaS are all types of cloud computing, making up the three fundamental layers — but what are they and what benefits can they offer to manufacturers?
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a form of cloud computing where hardware is provided and managed by an external provider. This hardware is provided in the cloud environment and can include anything from virtual servers to network connections and load balancers.
Because this hardware is virtualised, it gives businesses the ability to easily scale their IT solutions. This makes it particularly popular with growing businesses and when working on temporary projects.
Benefits of IaaS:
- Scalability —one of the main benefits of IaaS is the scalability it offers. Through a subscription service, you access the IT system you require when you need it. Due to its virtualisation, scaling up your systems can be done quickly and efficiently, minimising downtime.
- Minimised hardware maintenance — the hardware behind your IaaS system is managed externally, minimising the time and money your business spends on this type of maintenance.
- Flexibility — many IaaS systems can be accessed remotely, although this will vary from system to system.
- Reduced downtime — if your hardware fails, you’ll usually need to wait for a repair, impacting the productivity of both your staff and business overall. An IaaS system relies on a multitude of servers and data centres; if one area fails, other hardware resources are available to pick up the slack.
- On–demand access — an IaaS system can be accessed on-demand and you’ll only pay for the resources you use, keeping costs down.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a form of cloud computing that allows a dedicated space to build and test applications. It’s predominantly used by software and web developers, although it can also be utilised by businesses who want to create and test their own internal software. It’s usually available on a subscription basis.
Benefits of PaaS
- Reduced costs — in the past, developing software was costly, as a result of the hardware, skills and experience needed. Instead, PaaS allows users to effectively rent the required infrastructure, paid for through their subscription fee.
- Eliminates skills barrier — PaaS systems are often simple to use, meaning businesses don’t need to employ specialists to develop their apps. Rather, an app can be developed in-house through only a web browser.
- Increased collaboration — in larger businesses, multiple parties may be working on the same app development project. Via cloud connectivity, multiple developers across different locations can collaborate on the same project.
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a way for software applications to be delivered over the internet through the cloud. Because of this, SaaS is often referred to as cloud software.
Different from previous methods of purchasing software outright and installing it onto a device, SaaS is usually subscription-based. The software isn’t localised on a specific PC — rather, it’s accessed via an internet connection.
Although the acronym SaaS may sound complicated, you’ll actually come into contact with this type of software every day — whether you’re logging into Office 365 or streaming your favourite films via Netflix.
Benefits of SaaS
- Eradicates initial costs — because SaaS is usually delivered on a subscription basis, it eliminates the initial costs that were traditionally associated with implementing software. With cost a barrier for many, this approach makes accessing more sophisticated systems easier and more affordable.
- Stop using, stop paying — another benefit of a subscription SaaS system is that it means you can often terminate your contract when you no longer require the software.
- Keep your data safer — through using cloud-connected software systems, you eliminate the vulnerability of storing files to a local device. PCs, laptops and tablets can fail, but you’ll always have a digital back-up to hand.
- Flexibility —one of the main benefits of SaaS is the flexibility it offers. You’re no longer tethered to specific devices that have the software capability; rather, you can access the applications you need wherever you are using a simple internet connection.
At Datawright, our customers can choose from a range of services to outsource the infrastructure they use to support their manufacturing software solutions.
To find out more about cloud manufacturing, visit our dedicated ‘Industry Insights’ blog.
The Manufacturer Connect
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Offering a unique opportunity to meet with premier enterprise software solution providers and stay ahead of industry trends, The Manufacturer Connect gives you months of research in a matter of hours.
You can then head back to your office with a plan for the future of your business’s IT system.