What’s the Difference Between Cloud Computing and SaaS?
As we move further into a world of digital communications, certain new buzzwords, notably “Cloud” and “Saas” (Software as a Service) have become part of our vocabulary. But do we really understand what these terms, often wrongly taken for synonyms, actually mean?
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing gives you access to external IT resources on the Internet. Cloud computing services may be free or subscription-based, and offer a guaranteed service level. Companies purchase cloud capacities on demand and are billed according to what they use, a little like their utilities consumption. According to the National Institute Standard of Technology, the cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics:
- On demand self-service: In order to start using software in the Cloud, all you need to do is register online and pay the registration fee. You can then use the software as no installation on your computer is required.
- It must be accessible via the Internet: As long as you have Internet access, you can use the software; regardless of the device you are using (computer, tablet, smartphone, etc.).
- Resource pooling: The software can be used by one person or more at the same time.
- It must be elastic (quickly adaptable commensurate with demand): You can adapt your consumption to meet your needs. If you select a package that allows you to prepare 50 electronic invoices per day for a given price, if need be, you can increase this capacity at any time and send 100 per day for one week (the price will go up as a result) and then scale down again as necessary.
- The service must be measurable (metering and display of consumption data): You can check your usage at any time. In addition Cloud computing providers undertake to offer a certain level of service, measured by the rate of availability. For example, a supplier undertakes to make the service available 24/7 with a satisfaction rate of 98%. Measurability improves service quality.
Cloud Computing and SaaS are frequently associated. However SaaS is a subset of the Cloud. SaaS is no less than a method for marketing the software that is available in the Cloud. In this model, customers pay no license fee for a software package, but access the service online, either on a pay-per-use or subscription basis. Companies can outsource an entire aspect of their computer system and treat the expense as an operating cost rather than as capital expenditure. We refer to software being available in the Cloud in SaaS mode.
What are the Benefits of Cloud Computing?
The main advantage is economic as it allows enterprises to control costs according to their needs. And small companies can provide a service without the need for capital investment in IT equipment.
The second benefit of this delivery model is the economies of scale it offers. For example, IT resources not used by French companies during the night can be used by firms on the other side of the world— a little like a factory operating 24/7 whose resources are shared. SaaS means that operators, such as e-retailers, that experience peak demand during specific periods (such as Christmas) and much lower demand the rest of the year, can access resources to meet their needs during these peak times, without investing in capacities that are not required during the rest of the year.
Finally, cloud computing offers A.T.A.W.A.D accessible services: Any Time, Any Where, Any Device; in other words, total flexibility.
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