Exploring the Cloud: IaaS and PaaS

IaaS and PaaS header

The Cloud as a tool for businesses has gone through many different evolutions to better fit the changing technology standards. This was even more apparent during the past few years where remote work became the only way to conduct business. This was not done through the traditional way of how the Cloud was marketed in the beginning. What businesses adapted were now Cloud Services that allowed them to get the benefits of a Cloud Infrastructure by using existing infrastructure of cloud services.

Cloud services have adopted an abbreviation of “as a Service” or “aaS”, the most popular of services are the Platform as a service (or PaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service (or IaaS). Although they are cloud services, what they deliver to businesses are very different from one another.

Platform as a Service

PaaS is a cloud service which integrates cloud components into certain software and is usually used for business applications. PaaS provides a platform where developers can concentrate on software creation without having to worry about the OS, software updates, storage, or infrastructure. Below are a few characteristics of a PaaS that can help you identify it from other cloud services:

  • It builds on virtualization technology to increase flexibility in the business when you need to scale up or down resources when the business needs change.
  • Provides your business with different services designed to assist the development, testing, and deployment of apps
  • Accessible to numerous users via the same development application
  • Integrates web services and databases

If you are more interested in knowing what the advantages of PaaS can provide your company, you can refer to the bullets below:

  • Simple, cost-effective development and deployment of apps
  • Scalable
  • Highly available
  • Developers can customize apps without the headache of maintaining the software
  • Significant reduction in the amount of coding needed
  • Automation of business policy
  • Easy migration to the hybrid model

Infrastructure as a Service

IaaS is a Cloud Service that is made of highly scalable and automated compute resources which are fully self-service to allow accessing and monitoring computers, networking, storage, and other services. Through it, businesses can purchase resources on-demand or as-needed rather than purchasing hardware which can take long or cost more. Below are a few characteristics of IaaS that can help you identify it from other cloud services:

  • Resources are available as a service
  • Cost varies depending on consumption
  • Services are highly scalable
  • Multiple users on a single piece of hardware
  • Organization retain complete control of the infrastructure
  • Dynamic and flexible

There are many advantages to using an IaaS service, below are a few in which may help you decide if it is right for your business:

  • The most flexible cloud computing model
  • Easy to automate deployment of storage, networking, servers, and processing power
  • Hardware purchases can be based on consumption
  • Clients retain complete control of their infrastructure
  • Resources can be purchased as-needed
  • Highly scalable

IaaS vs PaaS

Both IaaS and PaaS are cloud services that help provide your business with its operations using the cloud. The main difference in how they do that is PaaS offers better flexibility and ease of operation whereas IaaS offers administrators more direct control over operating systems.

Take for example, if your company is looking into building your own website. IaaS can help your company host it and all your business applications. Example services of this would be Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. PaaS on the other hand, would be used to further enhance your website by designing and installing applications into the site. Example services of this would be Google App Engine and Microsoft Azure.

If you are interested to learn more about Cloud Services, contact us at marketing@ctlink.com.ph and we can further go into detail!

Microsoft Azure: an Affordable and Flexible Infrastructure in the Cloud

Getting a business started from scratch can be difficult, then adding into the equation of your internal infrastructure?  Now that can be a real challenge for some, even daunting.  Not knowing exactly what specifications you would need at first for servers can be costly, though this can’t be helped as requirements can be grow as you are already in the process of operating.  Due to this reason, many have started to use the services of IaaS (infrastructure as a service) providers such as Microsoft Azure.

Elasticity is one characteristic of cloud computing and its biggest benefits.  This means that you can either stretch or shrink your cloud service usage at any given time to better fit the needs of your IT workloads.  You will be able to seamlessly add or remove virtual servers, storage, network services while paying only for what you use.  This benefit is more prominent when you are heavily using applications where work can be divided among multiple identical applications or services running on different machines.

One of its features, Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets (scale sets for short), is an identical pool of virtual machines running an application you control.  Azure has tools for you in which you can build or configure the Virtual Machines (VM) the way you want it and also taking control of how many you have at any time.  With scale set, you can have an on-demand fleet of VMs doing whatever work needs to be done but will grow or lessen whenever you need it to or if it reaches a certain parameter you’ve stated.

Scale Set fundamentals

“Cattle versus pets” is a popular metaphor of cloud scaling, which is often credited to a former Microsoft architect Bill Baker.  If servers are like pets, each one is lovingly raised, tended to carefully and even individually named while even being nursed back to health when they are sick.  If they are treated as cattle than they are all interchangeable and do not need to be given names, and when they get sick you get rid of it and get another one.  In a way, scale sets give you a way to clone a herd of “cattle” which you are able to choose its size and breed at any given time at the cost of the herd being identical.

Something important to remember about Azure scale sets is that they are identical VMs.  This means that you can customize the first in the herd, but the rest will be exactly like the first.  There are multiple ways to define your scale set, through the Azure portal, manually via Powershell or the Azure command-line tools, and through an Azure Resource Manager (ARM) template.  From this definition, Azure will know what size VM instance you would like to use, its name, quantity of machines in the set, etc.  You can customize the VM used by the scale set to include your application in three ways: by creating a completely customized VM image and supplying it to Azure, by taking a prebuilt Windows or Linux image and installing your application when the scale set is started, or by customizing the image to include container software and then loading the application container when the scale set is started, each having its benefits.

For a more in-depth read on how Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets works, you may visit the link here or contact us directly at 893-9515!

Microsoft Azure a top contender in the “Cloud Wars”

With the worldwide public cloud services market projected to grow by 18% this 2017, to a total of $246.8 billion according to Gartner, it’s no wonder that many vendors are upping their services to get a larger portion of the market.  Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) are both projected to grow by about 36.8% and 20.1% respectively this 2017.   While Amazon Web Services is still the predominant market leader for this segment, this may not be true in the following years as Azure has been working on toppling them with success in Europe as the predominant IaaS provider with 43.7% market share against AWS’ 32%.

Forbes came out recently with an article as well on their take on the “Cloud Wars” and to the surprise of many, put Azure in first while AWS was placed as second.  Their basis was the fact that Microsoft has more to offer to their corporate customers in terms of cloud innovation to the different aspects of their business.  Below are a few of the main points in which Forbes’ analyst Bob Evans brought up in which Azure was ahead of AWS:

Revenue – First quarter of 2017, AWS reported $14 billion against Azure’s $15.2 billion

Completeness of cloud offerings – While AWS is strong on the IaaS segment, it is still lacking compared to Azure in the Platform as a Service (PaaS) and SaaS market.

Future Vision – Microsoft has placed major importance to going end-to-end on the cloud across its enormous range of products and services.

Scalability for world’s largest computing workloads – Microsoft’s used Maersk as its example of this in which they have slowly moved towards the cloud and now use Azure to help gain business insights using Dynamics 365.

Adopting advanced technologies to help customers drive digital transformation – while others still have no general strategy nor product and technologies for IoT, Microsoft has been making strides in this aspect.

Appeal to and ability to perform across a wide range of industries – Microsoft has been pushing its vast and fully integrated cloud capabilities to run the workloads of many of the biggest corporations in the world.

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