Based on the organization’s requirement, cloud providers offer a variety of services and resources, packaged as a service model.
The three main service models include:
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
- PaaS (Platform as a Service)
- SaaS (Software as a Service)
Variations from the above-mentioned base models, such as storage as a service, security as a service, etc., keep emerging in the market.
Cloud Computing is changing a lot of how things are done in business and in IT. We take a look, in this video, at some of the different service models, types of offerings and ways of approaching business and computing in the cloud. Right now, there are three main Service Models described in Cloud Computing. You’ve probably heard of them. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS), and Software as a service (SaaS), sometimes called SaaS. These are available from providers in various combinations or separately. There’s also… an idea of XaaS or X as service or sometimes “x” meaning just anything as a service. It’s like that unknown variable, the idea being that anything that has been provided in the datacenter previously, people want to find a way to virtualize or put into the Cloud. So anything as a service is growing, but it’s definitely a little bit harder to define and might not yet be called a service model. Infrastructure as a service is the bottom layer of the cloud computing model, focusing on the pure infrastructure used for computing. Infrastructure as a service is the combination of things like, Physical Server Hardware, Physical Storage, the Networking components, routers, cables, connectors, firewalls; Power; racks that house this gear; physical security to control access physically to this gear; and Cooling. In the Infrastructure as a service model, it’s the hosting provider or the cloud provider who owns the Physical Infrastructure, not you. And they offer it to you to host a platform and the applications that run on it. If you are purchasing Infrastructure as a service, you’re purchasing that Infrastructure or use of that infrastructure to do with what you like on top of that. Infrastructure as a service can be used for a lot of different situations and has some advantages. To replace outdated in-house physical infrastructure, a “Warm” or “Cold” standby site, where you’re building all of your standby process on top of that infrastructure; temporary needs, such as resources that need to be expanded for a particular event or a particular timeframe, or to move into new geographic areas by locating some infrastructure in a faraway place, where you don’t have any physical presence, but you want to be closer to the customer. It also works well, where you have limited predictability of the load that’s going to hit your server infrastructure, because you can scale up and down your infrastructure a lot more quickly, when it’s part of an infrastructure service than when you’re buying hardware to implement it yourself. It’s also a way to use large amounts of computing power, for a short period of time or to purchase larger amounts of computing power, during other people’s slow periods if you have low priority computing jobs to take care of, but that require a lot of power. Moving up, we get to Platform as a service or PaaS. Platform as a server is a layer on top of the physical infrastructure, and most if the time, it refers to virtualization of the operating system and the operating system itself. In the Platform as a service model, the hosting provider owns the platform and the underlying infrastructure and you as a customer make use of it. It’s similar to the Infrastructure model, except it’s the hosting provider that manages things like the installation of the operating system or the hypervisor. With Infrastructure as a service, you’re purchasing use of the raw infrastructure, with platform you’re purchasing use of say a Unix host or a Windows host, that’s already installed although probably virtualized.Platform as a service enables some business scenarios, such as requiring temporary access to a physical infrastructure and operating system. Or perhaps you don’t have a lot of in-house platform management skills or your people who are skilled in that area are fully tasked; or you’re short on the experience on how to maintain a platform in a best possible way; or you don’t want to get caught into the licensing loop, because usually platforms include the licensing being owned by the platform provider. Although on occasion, they may pass that cost back to you or ask you how you wish to license it. It can be used to streamline application development and testing. Some platforms include development tools and everything you need to get your services up and running. And easily having access to an infrastructure, which allows you to run your own applications, can be a business scenario in itself. This might include warm and hot standby sites where you are perhaps even replicating data to these VMs in the cloud, so that they can come up very quickly should you ever need them for disaster recovery. Software as a service is the top layer of this cloud that we’re looking at, which offers complete application to the cloud user. Examples of a Software as a service, hosted email infrastructures… I think in some ways this was probably the first use of Software as a service was hosted email; Web applications; File Sharing applications; Music streaming application and Line of Business applications. And I’m sure with a little bit of thought, you can think of brand names that fit each of these categories. In the Software as a service model, the hosting provider provides access and maintenance to the application, you as a customer simply make use of it. Some Software as a service is sold to individual users, such as an email application and others are sold to an enterprise, such as an email application that comes with hundreds or thousands of mailboxes, but it’s completely hosted as a service by the provider. Business Cases, anytime you want to avoid application and software maintenance or management tasks; anytime, you want to make you don’t have outdated software on your in-house platform or you have outdated software and you want to upgrade, but you don’t want to do it in-house; lack of skills available to you for one reason or another to support or migrate existing applications. You want to focus on your business without focusing so much on IT, so in essence you’re in part purchasing IT expertise, by using that services hosted elsewhere. You have to look at the cost of the software as a service versus the investment in IT assets and make a financial decision that way. It’s also a great way to give a try… or test out some hosted applications before committing whole-hog or bringing them on to an on-premisis solution. So there’s a number of advantages to businesses using Software as a service, when it’s appropriate. So as an overview, you look at how these things are built on top of each other, the bottom of the stack is the infrastructure and that’s available as a service. You can purchase or lease or rent that infrastructure and build your own platforms on top of it. Or you can say “No, I want you to take care of the platform. I want a contract with you, to have access to your Platform as a service and then you manage the applications and software on top of that”. Or you can say “No, I want to have that software available as a service as well. I want to you provide everything to me from the software on down and I’ll just be a user”. A number of different services are available to you. You can choose the ones that best fit your business needs.
Identity as a Service (IDaaS) is the authentication infrastructure that is hosted and managed by a third-party service provider.
Types of identities available are:
- Internal Users: Internal users are part of an organization such as employees and maintenance personnel.
- External Users: External users are those who are using the product or service implemented by an organization such as business partners.
- Consumers: Users who use authentication mechanisms to utilize the application such as Facebook.
Core aspects of IDaaS:
- Identity Governance and Administration (IGA): Provision cloud users and enable password reset functionality.
- Access: User authentication, SSO, and such authorization based integration.
- Intelligence: Identity access log monitoring and reporting.
Multi-factor authentication is one such type of application such as GitHub where users need to submit multiple factors to access the data.
we’re going to talk about Data as a Service or DaaS, for short. Data as a Service is another cloud service model of which there are many. But Data as a Service is a little bit more ambiguous than some of the other cloud service models. Data as a Service refers to the fact that data stored in the cloud is available over the network remotely on demand, anytime of day using any type of device. It’s all stored on cloud provider infrastructure. Now that data could include files that you’re storing in the cloud, individual files. It could include entire databases, it could also include photographs, it could include web site data stored in the cloud. So it’s quite ambiguous and generic in that way. Geographic location is irrelevant because when it comes to storing data in the cloud, cloud providers have the option of replicating data between their data centers around the globe, thus making the data that the user needs locally available. So geographic location is a consideration especially if you’re a larger organization and you have got a mobile workforce. User should be able to use smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops to access their data. Depending on the specific cloud service there might be a specific app that the user would install on their tablet or smartphone or perhaps not, may be, they would just use the browser on their mobile device to access the data. Let’s talk about some specific Data as a Service examples. But do understand that some of the examples we’re going to see could also fall under other cloud service models. Let’s take a look at them and then we’ll dive a little bit deeper into that. Google Drive is the file storage solution in the cloud just like Microsoft Onedrive is. Now these type of offerings might be considered Infrastructure as a Service because they are storage, but on a more broad scope we referred to it as Data as a Service. Remember, Data as a Service just really means that your data is available all the time from anywhere using any device. So whether you’re using Google Drive or Microsoft Onedrive, or you have data stored in the database, it’s still considered Data as a Service. Flickr is a popular web site on the Internet for photography where photography enthusiast can upload photographs they have taken and they can discuss the particulars related to that. And it’s all stored online, hence in the cloud. So this is considered Data as a Service as the first two examples on the screen are as well. Let’s take a look at the benefits of Data as a Service. Now remember, this might be contrasted against storing data on your local file server at work or, maybe, storing data on the local hard-drive of your laptop. So this is where it’ll be different. So with Data as a Service we’re productive, users are productive, regardless of the device being used. So whether we’re using a smartphone or a laptop it doesn’t matter. We can get to the data. Now one has to wonder how easy it is to access files stored on a file server at work or on a laptop hard disk from a mobile phone. Of course there are ways to do it, but it takes a bit of work to make that happened. Access to data any time, again, because this is done through the cloud, you can access your data 24×7. One version of a data file, now that’s interesting. Because it’s stored centrally in the cloud, there is one central copy of that file if it’s a particular file we’re talking about. Now you might have a local cached copy on your device, but it is kept synchronized with the copy in the cloud. Data is encrypted in transit. Most Data as a Service offering through the Internet use encrypted transmissions. So, therefore, as your data is being transmitted, it’ll have been encrypted and then decrypted on the other end so that anyone on the Internet that might see that network traffic going by would still be able to capture it. But they wouldn’t be able to make sense of it because it’s encrypted. That doesn’t imply that the data is encrypted when it’s being stored though. That something that could be specific to the cloud provider solution or you could just encrypt any files before you upload them to the cloud. But something that is common with Data as a Service offering is that the data is encrypted in transit not necessarily at rest while it’s being stored. So we have discussed Data as a Service as an additional cloud service model and how it differs from the other service models.
Additional Cloud Service Models
we’ll talk about some additional cloud service models and then we’ll talk about some of their benefits. Let’s start by talking about the Business Process as a Service or BPaaS. A business process is anything required for the business to function, although it may not be related to the nature of the business. So for example, we might have an HR application running in the cloud so that we can track employee and payroll information. Another example of a business process might include payment card processing; if we want our customers to be able to purchase our goods of services with the debit card or credit card, that payment has to be processed somewhere somehow. So we might outsource that and have it run in the cloud. Business Process as a Service is considered a higher-level cloud service model that sits upon things like Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service. Like all cloud services, business processes that are running in the cloud are delivered remotely over the network. And as a result those business processes should be available anytime from anywhere using any type of device. Credit card transaction processing is a common example of something that companies would outsource to a cloud provider of some kind. One of the reasons is because of the complexity and the sensitive nature of that data. Bear in mind, if we’re going to be outsourcing something sensitive like credit card transaction processing, we may want to have a look at our Service Level Agreement with our provider to make sure that they are compliant within the industry standards. For example, the Payment Card Industry or PCI compliance is required by a lot of providers, financial institutions, and merchants to purchase payment card transactions. Human resources applications would allow our employees to access the service over the network using a web interface to work with personnel records. Travel and expense management would allow us to have our travel and expense reimbursements handle through the cloud. So if we incur expenses, work for the business, we could take a picture, perhaps, of a receipt and upload it directly into the cloud so that it’s known by our Travel and expense management system. The primary benefit of running business process is in the cloud is that the complexity is removed from us and instead placed on the cloud provider. That way we can focus more on the nature of what our business should be doing. That lends itself to faster time to market because we’re having more time available to focus on the business, instead of spending time focusing on business processes. Regulatory compliance, depending on the type of business process you plan to run in the cloud, could be very important. Again you may want to make sure that your cloud provider in the Service Level Agreements stipulates whether they are compliant with any type of specific regulations or standards. Let’s take a look now at Communication as a Service or CaaS. When we talk about communications, we’re really talking anything involving phones of any kind, so telephony. You might also include things like email or anything like chatting, using Instant Messaging, or using video conferencing, anything like that is considered communications. So what we can do is outsource that and have that handled and also be responsible for cloud provider. So the service would be remotely available over the network. Now in some cases when it comes to Communication as a Service, you might still have physical hardware on premises, for example; you might have cameras for video conferencing, you might have voiceover IP telephones, physically at your site. But their configuration and how they are managed would be handled in the cloud. So voiceover IP is a good example of Communication as a Service being hosted and being the responsibility of the cloud provider. Instant Messaging is another great example, we wouldn’t have to have servers under our control that would allow Instant Messaging, that would be the responsibility of the cloud provider. Virtual call centres, allow virtual call centre software and its complex set up to all be handle by the cloud provider. So once again, with Communication as a Service one of the primary benefits is the complexity in configuring the communications infrastructure, and also ping to acquire perhaps complex hardware. It’s not our responsibility, instead it’s the cloud provider’s responsibility. What’s also the cloud provider’s responsibility is the assurance that these communication services will be available. That’s another item that you would want to look at in your Service Level Agreement, may be guaranteed uptime and certain performance matrix related to your communication systems. Because we’re being metered, that we’re using a pay-as-you-go mechanism, you only pay for what you’re using. You still might have a monthly subscription fee, but you pay for what you use. The last category of additional cloud service models that we’re going to look at is called Anything as a Service (XaaS). It’s a general all-encompassing term that refers to any IT service hosted on provider infrastructure. Of course, it’s got to be remotely available over the network, but it includes things that we have discussed like Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, Business Process as a Service, and so on. So Anything as a Service is a generic term that refers to these cloud service models. So in this section, we have discussed some additional cloud service models, their benefits and some examples of each of them.