SaaS, IaaS or PaaS: Which Cloud Migration Option Is Right for You? by
Joe Michalowski February 21, 2017
Can you believe it’s only been 4 years since cloud computing really went mainstream? It feels like our businesses have been relying on the cloud for so much longer. However, companies still aren’t 100% in the cloud, and hybrid and multicloud deployments are becoming popular, so choosing the right cloud technology is a constant consideration for IT.
When you look at your migration options, you’re bombarded with all kinds of “as a service” offerings. You have to know the basics of SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS if you want to make the best decision—and no matter what, monitoring has to be your migration foundation.
Making Sense of SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS for Cloud Migration
Despite near-universal adoption of some form of cloud computing, some concepts still appear blurry for many business leaders. When it comes to cloud migration, you have three basic hosted options:
- Software as a Service (SaaS): This is the most popular means of cloud migration. Popular products like Google Apps, Salesforce, and GoToMeeting all fit into the SaaS category. The web delivery model makes SaaS a premier way for companies to realize the cost-savings benefits of cloud computing. Instead of installing applications across the enterprise, IT can use SaaS for specific tasks and processes while eliminating many small IT maintenance tasks.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): If SaaS is the accessible form of cloud computing for businesses of all sizes, PaaS is a step up in terms of complexity. Rather than relinquishing all control, PaaS allows you to embrace components of cloud computing, which you can develop on top of. This model lets you customize apps to your specific business needs while enjoying benefits like scalability, high availability and more. You could deploy PaaS partially with public cloud infrastructure, but many companies enjoy the benefits of keeping it entirely on premises.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This is the category you’re talking about when considering a strict public cloud migration. Major players like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform sit in this tier. Unlike SaaS and PaaS, an IaaS migration leaves you completely responsible for managing everything from applications and data to operating systems in the cloud. You can extend your data center infrastructure with near-unlimited scalability while retaining the freedom to use any software or platform you need.
You’ll notice that as you work down the list, your IT department is increasingly responsible for managing applications/processes/workloads.
However, there’s one responsibility you’ll have regardless of your migration model—end user experience monitoring.
SaaS, PaaS or IaaS—Monitoring Is Always King
Even when you give up all backend control with a SaaS migration, you have to make sure you’re keeping up with end-user experience monitoring. When problems occur, users will come to you to fix them (not your SaaS provider).
When you continuously monitor your applications in the cloud (regardless of whether you’re using SaaS, PaaS or IaaS), you can remain proactive in the face of any IT challenges. And as we rely more and more on cloud computing, maintaining business performance will increasingly depend on your ability to monitor the end-user experience.
If you want to learn more about what you should be monitoring in the cloud, download our free guide, The 5 Network Metrics You Should Keep to See into the Cloud.