When discussing solutions to your business’ technology needs, “as a service” (aaS) is something that you’ll hear a lot. The aaS concept can get a little overwhelming when you hear things like “infrastructure as a service” (IaaS) or “platform as a service” (PaaS). It seems like everything can be a “service”, but are these “services” the best option for your business?
The short and simple answer is Yes.
Defining aaS Services
Software as a Service (SaaS) is one of the first aaS models that became popular, but it is now an umbrella that encompasses PaaS and IaaS. Software used to be sold per-instance. If you needed Word on 3 devices then you would have to go to the store, purchase 3 separate instances, and install one instance on each device. In a year, you would have to purchase the next version thus restarting the process. Now you purchase software as a subscription, which typically allows user access to the same software from multiple devices and automatically upgrades the software when a new version becomes available.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) includes development tools, database management, business analytics, and operating systems. Just as with SaaS, the business subscribes to these services. The biggest benefit is the rapid scalability and reduced capital investment.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is part of PaaS, but is specific to servers, storage, firewalls, and data centers.
aaS for Business
The aaS model is becoming incredibly popular with businesses of every size for very good reasons.
Small businesses often lack the financial and human resources to do everything in-house. Outsourcing the housing and management of infrastructure, such as servers, can allow a business to focus on its core profit centers without non-value-adding distractors. When a business owner makes the decision to implement Infrastructure as a Service, the business can save money in a variety of ways. Businesses can rent a smaller office space since a dedicated space for a server becomes unnecessary. A business’ utility bill will be less when there is not infrastructure on-site using power and creating heat. Another benefit of cloud infrastructure is the reduction in ambient noise. Servers can emit a low hum that may increase the overall volume in the office.
When a business – large or small – has a cloud server that is configured to be securely accessible from different locations and devices, employees have greater flexibility on which device they work on, where they work, and what time they work. Flexibility is one of the most inexpensive and effective ways a business can increase productivity and morale.
Mid-sized or growing businesses can fluctuate rapidly in size and infrastructure needs. In a month a business can go from 5 employees to 20 and suddenly need to quadruple its infrastructure. When you use IaaS, a business owner can quickly scale-up or scale-down infrastructure to meet these changing needs. A business only pays for the infrastructure it needs, so if the business only has 10 employees the following month it can easily reduce its capacity and costs.
Large businesses experience usage fluctuations that can render large server farms unnecessary when traffic is low or crash the system when an increase in usage completely consumes processing power. Viral internet videos or articles can suddenly and unexpectedly drive traffic to a website. A retail business may plan to launch a product on a specific day resulting in a temporary increase in infrastructure needs. Since the traffic will probably reduce over time, it does not make sense to purchase additional servers to handle the temporary increase in traffic, so IaaS is the best solution. The business can purchase additional space to accommodate the increase and then scale-back after the product launch.
Small, mid-sized, and large businesses all benefit from the aaS model. If you are considering SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS for your business, give us a call so we can recommend the best solution for your business’ unique needs.