When business leaders begin to explore the full potential of cloud solutions, they soon discover that delving into the cloud can revolutionize a great deal about their operations. Highly tech-savvy entrepreneurs are reforming everything from their customer databases to their human resources offices by relying upon cloud data.
Within that broad category of "the cloud," however, there are a few more specific options for corporate IT professionals to consider. Namely, one important decision is what type of cloud solution to adopt. Software-as-a-service, or SaaS, has become widely popular because of the convenience of remote data storage and management, but there's another way of looking at the problem. With infrastructure-as-a-service – IaaS for short – companies have a way of making their cloud strategies more customizable, perhaps better suited to their specific business needs.
The pros and cons of SaaSBoth approaches have their merits, but for many, a custom IaaS solution should prove the best way to go.
When the cloud first rose to power as a major driving force behind business processes everywhere, it was well understood that SaaS was the gold standard. That may be changing now, though. According to TechNet Magazine, tech leaders are now discovering both the strengths and weaknesses of the infrastructure. Bill Loeffler, principal knowledge engineer at Microsoft, broke it down:
"Software as a service delivers business processes and applications, such as CRM, collaboration, and e-mail, as standardized capabilities for a usage-based cost at an agreed, business-relevant service level," Loeffler stated. "SaaS provides significant efficiencies in cost and delivery in exchange for minimal customization and represents a shift of operational risks from the consumer to the provider. All infrastructure and IT operational functions are abstracted away from the consumer."
Everyone likes a solution that's efficient and low-risk, but the customization bit? That's the drawback. In order to really seize upon the immense power of cloud computing, you need to have a solution you can make your own.
Making IaaS work for you
In other words, what you really need is an IaaS solution you can trust. The beauty of IaaS is that it's not a rigid, predefined software package – it's a real infrastructure that molds to fit the specific needs of your business. According to TechTarget, this is the best way to support your operations. Margaret Rouse of WhatIs.com is one example of an IaaS proponent:
"Infrastructure as a service is a provision model in which an organization outsources the equipment used to support operations, including storage, hardware, servers and networking components," Rouse explained. "The service provider owns the equipment and is responsible for housing, running and maintaining it. The client typically pays on a per-use basis."
The key words there are "per use." In order to run your business at peak efficiency, you want to pay for precisely the level of functionality you need. Any more than that, you're wasting money, but any less and you may be squandering the potential of your business. With a good IaaS solution, you can customize to your heart's content.