People often confuse software as a service (SaaS) with the cloud

The Difference Between SaaS and the Cloud

People often confuse software as a service (SaaS) with cloud computing. That is, they think that SaaS and cloud computing refer to the same thing and are, therefore, interchangeable. Before we can really differentiate the two, we must first define each.

Cloud computing is a form of computing paradigm which uses virtualized and dynamically scalable computing resources which are provided as a service over the Internet. These services are available to anyone who uses the relevant Internet protocols and are given access to such services. With that definition, we can see why people confuse cloud computing and SaaS. What makes this system unique is that users are not required to have expertise or even basic knowledge of the technology and infrastructure of the services that they are using. This is opposed to the traditional style of computing, where users have been required to have the knowledge and expertise to be able to set up and maintain the systems that provide the service. This has usually been achieved by having a separate IT department. But the point is that, traditionally, organizations often provide IT services in-house by either maintaining the systems themselves or hiring a third party to maintain them on their behalf. Cloud computing removes this need and just allows the user to enjoy the services without worrying what happens in the back end. At the same time, they are often being promised more than 90 percent uptime.

Software as a service is also known as “on-demand software,” and is a delivery model for software and data associated with it, which are hosted on the Internet or “on the cloud”. This is sometimes called on-demand software, hosted or web-based software. SaaS solutions are usually massively scalable and are owned, managed and delivered remotely by one or more Service Providers. This framework allows for the sharing of application processing and data storage infrastructure among multiple clients on a one-to-many scheme with a service provider. The payment system is usually a subscription or a pay-per-use model.

So, we can look at SaaS as being an integral part of cloud computing. Though technically you are already in the realm of cloud computing when you use SaaS, this does not mean that SaaS is cloud computing itself. The terms cannot be used interchangeably. Rather, SaaS is simply considered to be one of the possible applications of the principles behind cloud computing. SaaS is a subservice of cloud computing to a great extent. Not all applications that can be made available through the cloud are SaaS applications, but all SaaS applications are part of the cloud. Since cloud computing and SaaS are relatively new, people are still often confused as to the technical differences between the two, and I hope that this article helps to clear it up.

By Abdul Salam

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