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Clearing Clouds: Unraveling IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

Cloud, Cloud, and More Cloud!

Cloud is upon us! Unless you’ve been living under a rock you must be aware that our industry is headed to the cloud; some of us are already there!

Many cloud services are available and more are coming every day. How can you make sense of the many “#ff0000;">?aaS” acronyms? In this article I’ll explain the differences between Cloud Service Models (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS) and Cloud Deployment Options (public, private, and hybrid).

Cloud Service Models

Many, many acronyms come along with the cloud; here are three that are common:

  • IaaS  Infrastructure as a Service
  • PaaS  Platform as a Service
  • SaaS  Software as a Service


Infrastructure as a Service means that the cloud provider provides: Hardware, Operations. and maybe core operating systems.

Does your organization really need to be in the Data Center Operations business?


Platform as a Service means that in addition to what comes with IaaS, the provider is responsible for some core software load perhaps including: Operating System, Backup & Recovery, Disaster Recovery, and maybe a database and/or web server.

Is the day-to-day administration of platform keeping you from work that is important and unique to your business?


Software as a Service means that the provider has it all: Infrastructure, Platform, and Software stack  (e.g. SalesForce, Oracle Cloud Applications).

Huge portions of IT budgets are devoted to maintaining the existing code base; should your organization leverage the work of others so that you can focus on what is unique to your business?

Comparing Models

The diagram below illustrates how the load shifts from the customer (green) to the vendor (purple) as you move from on-premise, to IaaS, then PaaS, and finally SaaS.

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Services and Transport

The diagram below shows the same progression from on-premise, to IaaS, then PaaS, and finally SaaS but uses familiar transportation options to illustrate the differences.

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Cloud Deployment

Cloud offering offer deployment options have three basic modes:

  • Public  You have private areas in public
    resource pools
  • Private  Your resources stored in private
    resource pools
    (perhaps on-premise)
  • Hybrid  Some combination

Public Cloud

With Public Cloud, the Cloud Vendor provides services that, while specific to you, may be sharing resources with other customers. For instance. Backup/Recovery might be handled for all customers collectively rather than for the individual customer and Disaster Recover might also be handled for all customers rather than individual customer.

Data is stored on servers owned and managed by the vendor while being co-located on public cloud servers with the data from other customers.

Private Cloud

Private Cloud is similar to being on-premise; in fact, it may actually be provided on-premise for the customer. With Private Cloud the vendor manages resources dedicated to customer. Private Cloud resources usually exist within firewall of a customer and are not shared with other customers of the vendor. Private Cloud offerings are sometimes on-premise of the customer but managed by the cloud provider (e.g. Oracle’s Cloud At Customer).

What About Security?

Really? What’s your organization’s budget for security? What do you suppose the
security budget is at Oracle ? (or for that matter Amazon or Microsoft?)bandit 393w" sizes="(max-width: 122px) 100vw, 122px" />

If a cloud providers slip once; public embarrassment and exit of customers follows.

Your data is probably more secure on the cloud!

That said, security is one of our most important concerns. Some things to consider include Security of data in Public Cloud versus off-premise Private/Hybrid Cloud environments. This has particular relevance when working with financial or personal information. Sometimes regulations dictate that data be located locally; that might be difficult with public cloud and even some off-premise private cloud offerings.

When working in public cloud; segregation of “secure” data must be concerned for: normal processing, backup/recovery procesing, and disaster recovery. Does your contract with the Cloud Provider provide guaranteed wiping of data should you part ways with vendor?

An important bottom line: Responsibility for regulated data lies with customer, not vendor no matter what your contract might say.

Oracle and the Cloud

In case you missed it Oracle’s into the Cloud in a big way; see Oracle’s cloud website for the complete scoop:

Oracle’s Cloud Servcie offerings include:

  • SaaS  Cloud Applications (formerly Fusion Applications) finally goes big?
  • PaaS  Reduces your administration load?
  • IaaS  Takes you out of data center biz?

Oracle SaaS

Oracle has exposed their redesigned and reimagined applications stack as SaaS including:

  • Customer Experience
  • Human Capital Management (HCM)
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
  • Supply Chain Management (SCM)
  • Enterprise Performance Management (EPM)
  • Analytics
  • Data
  • Social Media
  • More…

Oracle PaaS

Oracle is ready to provide infrastructure and management with several PaaS Cloud Services  including:

  • Database and Big Data
  • Middleware, Integration, and SOA
  • Application Development (Java, Developer, etc.)
  • Content and Collaboration
  • Business Analytics
  • More…

Oracle IaaS

Oracle provides three families of IaaS: Compute, Storage, and Network.

Oracle’s Larry Ellison announced at Open World 2016 that Oracle intends to be a major player in IaaS; in fact, he announced Oracle’s intention to surpass Amazon.

Oracle DBaaS

Oracle has been king of the database hill for many years. With Oracle DBaaS, Oracle extends that dominance to the cloud as Oracle DataBase as a Service (DBaaS).

DBaas uses the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model to enable deployment and management of Oracle database instances in the cloud. Oracle DBaaS is easy to use and includes instances using per-configured VM images. Each DBaaS instance is built upon Oracle’s IaaS Compute & Storage services. Some important things to remember about Oracle DBaaS:

  • Customer has full administrative control via SQL*Plus, SQL Developer, OEM, or Oracle’s Cloud Management Service
  • Creation and deployment may be performed via wizards or manually if desired
  • Oracle DBaaS works just like on-premise database for any applications

Wrapping it all Up

Cloud is everywhere, cloud is here to stay. Choosing IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS will be dependent upon your organization’s needs. Deciding to use Public, Private, or Hybrid cloud will be determined on a case by case basis too. Oracle’s IaaS, PaaS, and DBaaS provide strong offerings for customers to choose from. Oracle’s DBaaS provides a safe and simple way to start using the cloud.