The Main Types of Cloud Computing Services

Cloud computing delivers hosted IT services on an as-needed basis over the Internet. Rather than procuring, owning, and managing physical servers, organizations can access cloud computing services on a pay-as-you-go pricing from a Cloud Services Provider (CSP). Cloud computing services cover a range of options, including computing power, storage, and networking.

Cloud computing services consist of various models, such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). In SaaS, a CSP hosts the application and makes it available to customers by licensing the apps over the Internet.

DaaS provides highly scalable virtual desktops hosted as an alternative to more complex VDI solutions. As for IaaS, cloud offerings include servers and storage outsourced to end-users through IP-based connectivity. PaaS is similar to SaaS—instead of providing software, it provides the framework in the cloud to build software.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS—also called Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS)—is a computing infrastructure that leverages the Internet to provision compute, storage, and network resources to users on-demand. In an IaaS architecture, a cloud provider hosts the conventional components you would expect within on-premises, such as servers, storage, and network hardware.

Also, the cloud provider hosts and maintains a hypervisor that virtualizes these components. Users can run any OS or apps on the leased resources on a pay-as-you-go basis without worrying about their operation and maintenance costs. A cloud provider can also provide extra services to accompany the leased infrastructure components.

These may include monitoring, security, load balancing and clustering, and log access. In addition, the IaaS provider can provide storage resiliency, including backups, replication, and recovery, to accompany the IaaS core components. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are examples of IaaS platforms.

IaaS is appropriate for organizations that want to recreate an on-premises IT infrastructure within the cloud. While selecting an IaaS model comes with flexibility, IT managers have to deal with complexities regarding the automation and orchestration of crucial organizational tasks.

Platform as a Service (Paas)

In a PaaS model, developers rent all the resources they need to build and deploy an application in the cloud. A cloud provider hosts and maintains all the hardware, operating systems, and development tools on its own infrastructure. Developers lease the resources they need to build and deploy their apps from the cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Google App Engine and are examples of PaaS. Just like IaaS, PaaS incorporates compute, networking, and storage infrastructure. However, users also have access to middleware development tools, database management systems, and Business Intelligence(BI) tools.

Cloud providers can deliver PaaS as private, public, or hybrid clouds to provide a complete application life cycle, including development, testing, deployment, and maintenance. By leveraging PaaS, organizations can avoid the costs and complexities of purchasing and managing software licenses. PaaS allows developers only to manage their applications while the cloud provider handles everything else.

Software as a Service (Saas)

SaaS is an application licensing model that allows users to use cloud-based applications over the Internet. In this model, software vendors/cloud providers host and manage the servers and databases on which the application resides. Moreover, they ensure the source code that makes up the application is up-to-date.

SaaS eliminates the need for IT admins to download and install the app on individual workstations in an organization because applications are delivered via the web. Dropbox, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, and Google Suite apps such as Gmail and Docs are examples of SaaS platforms.

Depending on the Service Level Agreements (SLA) between the software vendor and the organization, customers’ databases can be stored locally, in the cloud, or both. Businesses can integrate SaaS apps with other software via an API. For example, an organization can develop its own tools and leverage the SaaS provider’s API to integrate the two solutions.

Benefits of Cloud Computing Services

Cloud computing services—whether IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS—are often preferred over on-premises IT infrastructure because of the following benefits:

Cost efficiency

Migrating to the cloud can help you reduce the overall costs of managing and maintaining the IT infrastructure. Instead of buying costly on-premises IT components, cloud computing allows you to start using resources from the cloud vendor immediately, eliminating capital expenditure (CAPEX).

And by shifting the on-premises datacenter costs to the cloud vendor, you save costs in server upgrades, IT staff salaries or wages, and energy consumption. Also, the pay-as-you-go pricing scheme offered by most cloud providers ensures you don’t waste any resources. Rather than provisioning for resources that may never get used, as with traditional on-premises IT, you only pay for services procured.


You can scale down or scale up operations quickly to match the organizations’ needs with cloud computing. If you need extra storage capacity or bandwidth, your cloud vendor can instantly meet this demand instead of buying and installing expensive hardware yourself. The improved freedom and flexibility free up your time, so you concentrate on running your organization efficiently.


Cloud computing allows employees to access corporate data anywhere via smartphones and other devices. Staff who reside far from the corporate office or those with busy schedules can use this feature to keep up-to-date with their colleagues and clients. Using cloud computing services can allow an organization to provide accessible information to employees who are always on the road, remote workers, and freelance employees for better work-life balance.

Business continuity

Securing data and other assets are vital aspects of any business continuity planning. When you experience power failures, natural disasters, or other crises, cloud-based services ensure your data is safe. Since you can instantly access this data, your business continues as usual, minimizing any downtime and potential loss in productivity.

Collaboration efficiency

Cloud computing provides employees with tools to communicate and share files easily. Employees, contractors, and third parties working across different geographical locations can use cloud services to access the same files. Some cloud vendors even provide specialized collaborative tools that you can use to connect all employees across the organization, potentially increasing engagement.

Cloud Computing Deployment Models

There are three major cloud deployment models—public, private, and hybrid—each with its characteristics and benefits. There is no right or wrong approach to choosing a cloud deployment model. The decision should be based on the organization’s unique challenges and requirements.

Public Cloud

Owned and managed by third-party cloud service providers, the public cloud is the most common type of cloud. The provider is responsible for delivering computing resources over the Internet. In this multi-tenant model, the same cloud infrastructure is shared between multiple organizations, allowing each to benefit from economies of scale. Public cloud offers cost-effectiveness, scalability, and reliability.

Private Cloud

A private cloud is owned and managed exclusively by a single organization. It can be located on-site or hosted remotely in a datacenter belonging to a third-party provider. The services and infrastructure are delivered over a private network. It adds the security and control of legacy infrastructure to the agility and flexibility of the cloud.

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud is a mixture of a private and public cloud. Some services can be hosted on the public cloud in this deployment model, while others remain in the private cloud. It allows apps and data to move freely between the public and private cloud. It consolidates the benefits of both—the public and the private cloud.

Parallels RAS Enhances Cloud Computing Services

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) supports the delivery of virtual apps and desktops in on-premises, public cloud, or hybrid environments. Organizations are already reaping the benefits by using Parallels RAS to seamlessly deploy Windows apps and desktops (DaaS) in Microsoft Azure Cloud, as well as Microsoft SaaS solutions, such as Office 365, to end-users.

Parallels RAS is multi-cloud ready, improving mobility and allowing organizations to deploy apps and desktops on multiple cloud computing services, such as Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Parallels RAS is well-equipped with brilliant security features, such as multi-factor authentication, client policies, granular filtering, and RBAC (Role-Based Access Control), that help mitigate data security risks in the cloud.

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