Menu
Overview of Amazon Web Services
AWS Whitepaper

Types of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing provides developers and IT departments with the ability to focus on what matters most and avoid undifferentiated work such as procurement, maintenance, and capacity planning. As cloud computing has grown in popularity, several different models and deployment strategies have emerged to help meet specific needs of different users. Each type of cloud service and deployment method provides you with different levels of control, flexibility, and management. Understanding the differences between Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Software as a Service, as well as what deployment strategies you can use, can help you decide what set of services is right for your needs.

Cloud Computing Models

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) contains the basic building blocks for cloud IT and typically provide access to networking features, computers (virtual or on dedicated hardware), and data storage space. IaaS provides you with the highest level of flexibility and management control over your IT resources and is most similar to existing IT resources that many IT departments and developers are familiar with today.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS) removes the need for your organization to manage the underlying infrastructure (usually hardware and operating systems) and allows you to focus on the deployment and management of your applications. This helps you be more efficient as you don’t need to worry about resource procurement, capacity planning, software maintenance, patching, or any of the other undifferentiated heavy lifting involved in running your application.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service (SaaS) provides you with a completed product that is run and managed by the service provider. In most cases, people referring to Software as a Service are referring to end-user applications. With a SaaS offering you do not have to think about how the service is maintained or how the underlying infrastructure is managed; you only need to think about how you will use that particular piece of software. A common example of a SaaS application is web-based email which you can use to send and receive email without having to manage feature additions to the email product or maintain the servers and operating systems that the email program is running on.

Cloud Computing Deployment Models

Cloud

A cloud-based application is fully deployed in the cloud and all parts of the application run in the cloud. Applications in the cloud have either been created in the cloud or have been migrated from an existing infrastructure to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing. Cloud-based applications can be built on low-level infrastructure pieces or can use higher level services that provide abstraction from the management, architecting, and scaling requirements of core infrastructure.

Hybrid

A hybrid deployment is a way to connect infrastructure and applications between cloud-based resources and existing resources that are not located in the cloud. The most common method of hybrid deployment is between the cloud and existing on-premises infrastructure to extend, and grow, an organization's infrastructure into the cloud while connecting cloud resources to the internal system. For more information on how AWS can help you with your hybrid deployment, please visit our hybrid page.

On-premises

The deployment of resources on-premises, using virtualization and resource management tools, is sometimes called the “private cloud.” On-premises deployment doesn’t provide many of the benefits of cloud computing but is sometimes sought for its ability to provide dedicated resources. In most cases this deployment model is the same as legacy IT infrastructure while using application management and virtualization technologies to try and increase resource utilization.