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What are Different Types of Cloud Computing? Explained in Layman’s Terms

Are you thinking about shifting to the cloud? Well, thinking is more straightforward than actually getting things done. A lot of research and planning is involved in migrating to the cloud. Learning about various types of cloud computing to know which one you should choose is a part of the process.

So, how many types of cloud computing are there? There are three: Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS). In this blog, we’ll learn about three of them in detail. Let’s begin:

Types of Cloud Computing

1. Software as a Service (SaaS)

In SaaS cloud computing, a cloud services provider hosts the software on the cloud and leases it to organizations for a specific fee (either a one-time payment or monthly subscription). As a result, the IT teams of the company don’t have to install individual software on each workstation. Instead, all the employees can access the information on the web.

The online email service Gmail and the grammar and language analysis and correction service Grammarly are prominent examples of the SaaS business model.

Advantages of SaaS Cloud Computing

  • SaaS can make you several times more productive by letting you quickly access your data anywhere, anytime.
  • With SaaS, you don’t have to worry about the expenses of installing software on each system. Instead, you can get your business up and running at a minimal cost.
  • You don’t have to worry about updating your SaaS apps as they’re always secure and up-to-date.

Disadvantages of SaaS Cloud Computing

  • Internet connectivity is a must if you want to use a SaaS solution.
  • You don’t have much control over the data you share.

2. Platform as a Service (PaaS)

In PaaS cloud computing, a cloud service provider rents out everything an organization needs to build an application, such as the infrastructure, development tools, and operating system. The idea is to simplify the app development process, especially if you want to streamline workflows in a production environment with multiple developers.

Google App Engine, OpenShift, and Apache Stratos are prominent examples of PaaS cloud computing.

Advantages of PaaS Cloud Computing

  • With PaaS, businesses can save themselves from the complex and costly process of having to purchase and manage software licenses.
  • PaaS lets developers work on applications remotely from anywhere.

Disadvantages of PaaS Cloud Computing

  • With PaaS, you have to rely heavily on the vendor for speed, support, and reliability.
  • PaaS solutions are often vulnerable to data security issues.

3. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

In IaaS cloud computing, the cloud service provider rents out an on-demand online infrastructure to organizations on a pay-as-you-go basis. Following are the resources and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) offers to help organizations run their workloads in the cloud:

  • Physical Data Centers

Every IaaS provider has thousands of powerful servers across the globe to offer you on-demand and scalable computing. Users don’t usually interact with them directly. Instead, they’re provided as a service.

  • Compute Resources

Compute resources are virtual machines managed by hypervisors. They offer virtual machines based on each workload’s GPU, CPU, and memory consumption.

  • Networks

These resources are responsible for managing the network hardware like switches and routers.

  • Storage

IaaS providers offer highly distributed storage technologies like file storage, object storage, and block storage that you can easily access over HTTP.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are prominent examples of IaaS cloud computing.

Advantages of the IaaS Cloud Computing

  • With IaaS, you can avoid unnecessary costs you have to bear for setting up on-premises IT infrastructure.
  • IaaS can help you retain control over your IT infrastructure, with the flexibility of paying only for resources consumed.

Disadvantages of IaaS Cloud Computing

  • Since IaaS is multi-tenant, you have to worry about data security issues.
  • Managing a new infrastructure can be a tough nut to crack.

Different Cloud Deployment Models

1. Private Cloud

A single business owns a private cloud. In this deployment model, you can host your infrastructure in-house or with a third party. This model is often expensive and is well-suited for organizations that want to focus on security and customization.

Upsides of Private Cloud

  • With Private Cloud, you can maintain the highest level of security
  • A private cloud offers a better autonomy over the servers
  • You can customize a private cloud the way you want

Downsides of Private Cloud

  • You will need an expert IT team onboard
  • Private cloud is expensive and can cost you a couple of bucks

2. Public Cloud

Services and infrastructure are shared across organizations in the public cloud deployment model. Also, here organizations can access the public cloud on a pay-per-use basis.

The public model is suitable for small businesses with a tight budget.

Upsides of a Public Cloud

  • You can quickly scale up or scale down as per the traffic.
  • Updating and maintaining the cloud becomes the cloud service provider’s responsibility.

Downsides of a public cloud:

  • You get a few customization options in the public cloud.
  • A public cloud server is less secure as it is shared across different organizations.

3. Hybrid Cloud

In the hybrid cloud deployment model, we combine public and private clouds to reap the benefits of both approaches.

Upsides of a hybrid cloud

A hybrid cloud is much more secure, flexible, and economical than a public cloud model.

Cons of hybrid cloud

A hybrid cloud can sometimes become conflicted because of the communication between public and private clouds.

Which Type of Cloud Should I Choose?

Well, it depends on the type of your organization. Large enterprises generally go for hybrid and private cloud because they can afford it. However, startups opt for private cloud because they have a tight budget. So, do a little digging, see what works best for you, and then decide.

And as far as the types of cloud computing are concerned, we often use all of them. If you have used Grammarly, chances are you’re familiar with SaaS. Similarly, if you’re an IT organization using Google App Engine, you’re using a PaaS solution. At the same time, we use the IaaS solutions like AWS and Microsoft Azure regularly. So, it would not be hard for you to understand these terms well.

PS: What SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS cloud solutions are you using now? Please share in the comments.



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James Wilson

James Wilson


Hi, I am James Wilson, a renowned journalist and a pass out from London University. I love writing on various topics, be it a technical or non-technical.