Aug 22nd

Software as a Service (SaaS)

What is SaaS?
Most cloud computing services fall into four broad categories: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), serverless, and software as a service (SaaS). These are sometimes called the cloud computing “stack” because they build on top of one another. Knowing what they are and how they’re different makes it easier to accomplish your business goals.

Software as a service (SaaS) allows users to connect to and use cloud-based apps over the Internet. Common examples are email, calendaring, and office tools (such as Microsoft Office 365).

SaaS provides a complete software solution that you purchase on a pay-as-you-go basis from a cloud service provider. You rent the use of an app for your organization, and your users connect to it over the Internet, usually with a web browser. All of the underlying infrastructure, middleware, app software, and app data are located in the service provider’s data center. The service provider manages the hardware and software, and with the appropriate service agreement, will ensure the availability and the security of the app and your data as well. SaaS allows your organization to get quickly up and running with an app at minimal upfront cost.

Common SaaS scenarios
If you’ve used a web-based email service such as Outlook, Hotmail, or Yahoo! Mail, then you’ve already used a form of SaaS. With these services, you log into your account over the Internet, often from a web browser. The email software is located on the service provider’s network, and your messages are stored there as well. You can access your email and stored messages from a web browser on any computer or Internet-connected device.

The previous examples are free services for personal use. For organizational use, you can rent productivity apps, such as email, collaboration, and calendaring; and sophisticated business applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), and document management. You pay for the use of these apps by subscription or according to the level of use.

COMMON CLOUD COMPUTING TERMS

Advantages of SaaS
Gain access to sophisticated applications – To provide SaaS apps to users, you don’t need to purchase, install, update, or maintain any hardware, middleware, or software. SaaS makes even sophisticated enterprise applications, such as ERP and CRM, affordable for organizations that lack the resources to buy, deploy, and manage the required infrastructure and software themselves.

Pay only for what you use – You also save money because the SaaS service automatically scales up and down according to the level of usage.

Use free client software – Users can run most SaaS apps directly from their web browser without needing to download and install any software, although some apps require plugins. This means that you don’t need to purchase and install special software for your users.

Mobilize your workforce easily – SaaS makes it easy to “mobilize” your workforce because users can access SaaS apps and data from any Internet-connected computer or mobile device. You don’t need to worry about developing apps to run on different types of computers and devices because the service provider has already done so. In addition, you don’t need to bring special expertise onboard to manage the security issues inherent in mobile computing. A carefully chosen service provider will ensure the security of your data, regardless of the type of device consuming it.

Access app data from anywhere – With data stored in the cloud, users can access their information from any Internet-connected computer or mobile device. And when app data is stored in the cloud, no data is lost if a user’s computer or device fails.

Aug 21st

Serverless Computing

The promise of serverless computing
What if you could spend all your time building and deploying great apps, and none of your time managing servers? Serverless computing lets you do just that because the infrastructure you need to run and scale your apps is managed for you. Focus your efforts on your business. Redirect resources from infrastructure management into innovating and bringing apps to market faster.

What is serverless computing?
Serverless computing is the abstraction of servers, infrastructure, and operating systems. When you build serverless apps you don’t need to provision and manage any servers, so you can take your mind off infrastructure concerns. Serverless computing is driven by the reaction to events and triggers happening in near-real-time—in the cloud. As a fully managed service, server management and capacity planning are invisible to the developer and billing is based just on resources consumed or the actual time your code is running.

COMMON CLOUD COMPUTING TERMS

Why build serverless applications?

Benefit from fully managed services
Spare your teams the burden of managing servers. By utilizing fully managed services, you focus on your business logic and avoid administrative tasks. With serverless architecture, you simply deploy your code, and it runs with high availability.


Scale flexibility
Serverless compute scales from nothing to handle tens of thousands of concurrent functions almost instantly (within seconds), to match any workload, and without requiring scale configuration—it reacts to events and triggers in near-real-time.


Only pay for resources you use
With serverless architecture, you only pay for the time your code is running. Serverless computing is event-driven, and resources are allocated as soon as they’re triggered by an event. You’re only charged for the time and resources it takes to execute your code—through sub-second billing.

Examples of serverless applications
Web application architecture
Azure Functions can power a single-page app. The app calls functions using the WebHook URL, saves user data, and decides what data to display. Or, do simple customizations, such as changing ad targeting by calling a function and passing it user profile information.

IoT back end
For example, Internet of Things (IoT) devices send messages to Stream Analytics, which then calls an Azure function to transform the message. This function processes the data and creates a new update in Azure Cosmos DB.

SaaS integration
Functions supports triggers based on activity in a Software as a service (SaaS)-based application. For example, save a file in OneDrive, which triggers a function that uses the Microsoft Graph API to modify the spreadsheet, and creates additional charts and calculated data.

Mobile back end
A mobile back end can be a set of HTTP APIs that are called from a mobile client using the WebHook URL. For example, a mobile application can capture an image, and then call an Azure function to get an access token for uploading to blob storage. A second function is triggered by the blob upload and resizes the image to be mobile-friendly.

Aug 20th

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

What is PaaS?
Most cloud computing services fall into four broad categories: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), serverless, and software as a service (SaaS). These are sometimes called the cloud computing “stack” because they build on top of one another. Knowing what they are and how they’re different makes it easier to accomplish your business goals.

Platform as a service (PaaS) is a complete development and deployment environment in the cloud, with resources that enable you to deliver everything from simple cloud-based apps to sophisticated, cloud-enabled enterprise applications. You purchase the resources you need from a cloud service provider on a pay-as-you-go basis and access them over a secure Internet connection.

Like IaaS, PaaS includes infrastructure—servers, storage, and networking—but also middleware, development tools, business intelligence (BI) services, database management systems, and more. PaaS is designed to support the complete web application lifecycle: building, testing, deploying, managing, and updating.

PaaS allows you to avoid the expense and complexity of buying and managing software licenses, the underlying application infrastructure and middleware, container orchestrators such as Kubernetes, or the development tools and other resources. You manage the applications and services you develop, and the cloud service provider typically manages everything else.

Common PaaS scenarios
Organizations typically use PaaS for these scenarios:

Development framework – PaaS provides a framework that developers can build upon to develop or customize cloud-based applications. Similar to the way you create an Excel macro, PaaS lets developers create applications using built-in software components. Cloud features such as scalability, high-availability, and multi-tenant capability are included, reducing the amount of coding that developers must do.

Analytics or business intelligence – Tools provided as a service with PaaS allow organizations to analyze and mine their data, finding insights and patterns and predicting outcomes to improve forecasting, product design decisions, investment returns, and other business decisions.

Additional services – PaaS providers may offer other services that enhance applications, such as workflow, directory, security, and scheduling.

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Advantages of PaaS
By delivering infrastructure as a service, PaaS offers the same advantages as IaaS. But its additional features—middleware, development tools, and other business tools—give you more advantages:

Cut coding time – PaaS development tools can cut the time it takes to code new apps with pre-coded application components built into the platform, such as workflow, directory services, security features, search, and so on.

Add development capabilities without adding staff – Platform as a Service components can give your development team new capabilities without your needing to add staff having the required skills.

Develop for multiple platforms—including mobile—more easily – Some service providers give you development options for multiple platforms, such as computers, mobile devices, and browsers making cross-platform apps quicker and easier to develop.

Use sophisticated tools affordably – A pay-as-you-go model makes it possible for individuals or organizations to use sophisticated development software and business intelligence and analytics tools that they could not afford to purchase outright.

Support geographically distributed development teams – Because the development environment is accessed over the Internet, development teams can work together on projects even when team members are in remote locations.

Efficiently manage the application lifecycle – PaaS provides all of the capabilities that you need to support the complete web application lifecycle: building, testing, deploying, managing, and updating within the same integrated environment.

Aug 19th

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

What is IaaS?
Most cloud computing services fall into four broad categories: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), serverless, and software as a service (SaaS). These are sometimes called the cloud computing “stack” because they build on top of one another. Knowing what they are and how they’re different makes it easier to accomplish your business goals.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is an instant computing infrastructure, provisioned and managed over the internet. IaaS quickly scales up and down with demand, letting you pay only for what you use. It helps you avoid the expense and complexity of buying and managing your own physical servers and other datacenter infrastructure. Each resource is offered as a separate service component, and you only need to rent a particular one for as long as you need it. A cloud computing service provider, such as Azure, manages the infrastructure, while you purchase, install, configure, and manage your own software—operating systems, middleware, and applications.
Common IaaS business scenarios
Typical things businesses do with IaaS include:

Test and development – Teams can quickly set up and dismantle test and development environments, bringing new applications to market faster. IaaS makes it quick and economical to scale up dev-test environments up and down.

Website hosting – Running websites using IaaS can be less expensive than traditional web hosting.

Storage, backup, and recovery –  Organizations avoid the capital outlay for storage and complexity of storage management, which typically requires a skilled staff to manage data and meet legal and compliance requirements. IaaS is useful for handling unpredictable demand and steadily growing storage needs. It can also simplify planning and management of backup and recovery systems.

Web apps – IaaS provides all the infrastructure to support web apps, including storage, web and application servers, and networking resources. Organizations can quickly deploy web apps on IaaS and easily scale infrastructure up and down when demand for the apps is unpredictable.

High-performance computing – High-performance computing (HPC) on supercomputers, computer grids, or computer clusters helps solve complex problems involving millions of variables or calculations. Examples include earthquake and protein folding simulations, climate and weather predictions, financial modeling, and evaluating product designs.

Big data analysis – Big data is a popular term for massive data sets that contain potentially valuable patterns, trends, and associations. Mining data sets to locate or tease out these hidden patterns requires a huge amount of processing power, which IaaS economically provides.

COMMON CLOUD COMPUTING TERMS

Advantages of IaaS
Eliminates capital expense and reduces ongoing cost – IaaS sidesteps the upfront expense of setting up and managing an onsite datacenter, making it an economical option for start-ups and businesses testing new ideas.

Improves business continuity and disaster recovery – Achieving high availability, business continuity, and disaster recovery is expensive since it requires a significant amount of technology and staff. But with the right service level agreement (SLA) in place, IaaS can reduce this cost and access applications and data as usual during a disaster or outage.

Innovate rapidly – As soon as you’ve decided to launch a new product or initiative, the necessary computing infrastructure can be ready in minutes or hours, rather than the days or weeks—and sometimes months—it could take to set up internally.

Respond quicker to shifting business conditions – IaaS enables you to quickly scale up resources to accommodate spikes in demand for your application— during the holidays, for example—then scale resources back down again when activity decreases to save money.

Focus on your core business – IaaS frees up your team to focus on your organization’s core business rather than on IT infrastructure.

Increase stability, reliability, and supportability – With IaaS there’s no need to maintain and upgrade software and hardware or troubleshoot equipment problems. With the appropriate agreement in place, the service provider assures that your infrastructure is reliable and meets SLAs.

Better security – With the appropriate service agreement, a cloud service provider can provide security for your applications and data that may be better than what you can attain in-house.

Gets new apps to users faster – Because you don’t need to first set up the infrastructure before you can develop and deliver apps, you can get them to users faster with IaaS.

Aug 15th

Types of Cloud Services

Types of Cloud Services

Most cloud computing services fall into four broad categories: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), serverless, and software as a service (SaaS). These are sometimes called the cloud computing “stack” because they build on top of one another. Knowing what they are and how they’re different makes it easier to accomplish your business goals.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
The most basic category of cloud computing services. With IaaS, you rent IT infrastructure—servers and virtual machines (VMs), storage, networks, operating systems—from a cloud provider on a pay-as-you-go basis

Learn more about IaaS

Platform as a service (PaaS)
Platform as a service refers to cloud computing services that supply an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering, and managing software applications. PaaS is designed to make it easier for developers to quickly create web or mobile apps, without worrying about setting up or managing the underlying infrastructure of servers, storage, network, and databases needed for development.

Learn more about PaaS

WHAT IS CLOUD COMPUTING?

Serverless computing
Overlapping with PaaS, serverless computing focuses on building app functionality without spending time continually managing the servers and infrastructure required to do so. The cloud provider handles the setup, capacity planning, and server management for you. Serverless architectures are highly scalable and event-driven, only using resources when a specific function or trigger occurs.

Learn more about Serverless Computing

Software as a service (SaaS)
Software as a service is a method for delivering software applications over the Internet, on demand and typically on a subscription basis. With SaaS, cloud providers host and manage the software application and underlying infrastructure, and handle any maintenance, like software upgrades and security patching. Users connect to the application over the Internet, usually with a web browser on their phone, tablet, or PC.

Learn more about SaaS

COMMON CLOUD COMPUTING TERMS