Understanding Cloud Terminology

Understanding Cloud Terminology

By George Ralph, Managing Director, RFA UK

Within the realm of cloud computing there are a number of different options, mainly separated into Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – which can be further split into Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), Storage-as-a-Service and Network-as-a-Service. In fact there are so many options that it is now widely referred to XaaS, or Anything-as-a-Service. Today, I take a moment to define three of the most commonly seen cloud terminologies: SaaS, PaaS and IaaS.

SaaS is widely used and allows firms to subscribe to a service where they access software that is centrally hosted and managed, via the internet. Popular software applications include CRM solutions like Salesforce, but many niche software vendors now offer a SaaS delivery model for their compliance solutions, order and execution systems, research tools and risk management software.

PaaS can be utilized effectively by firms with in-house developers who may be looking to build or trial new software applications, without building a test environment in-house.

 IaaS allows firms to completely outsource their IT environment to a data center that is owned and managed by an outsourced provider, such as RFA. In this case, clients are usually billed by the amount of resources allocated and utilized. If a completely outsourced model isn’t suitable, firms can take DaaS facilities, using desktop virtualization, which allows users to access their desktop by logging into the corporate network via a web browser. In the event of a user’s machine being lost, stolen or broken, a replacement machine can be up and running immediately with no loss of secure data.