In the world of cloud computing, people often get confused with the two services – IaaS (Information as a Service) or Paas (Platform as a Service). The fact is that both IaaS and PaaS offer different levels of services to its clients through Microsoft which offers its data centers with Azure. Whenever clients need more infrastructure, this would be instantly recognized, and more resources are allocated. The client doesn’t have to bother himself with expanding the resources because that will be done by the services concerned.
With IaaS, you will need to decide whether you need a literal server in the cloud because that’s the service that you get. Whereas with PaaS, you need to choose whether you need a platform to develop applications over the web, as that’s the service that you get with this one.
Image credit: Microsoft Azure
The infrastructure of PaaS is almost similar to IaaS, but the major difference is that there is no need of an operating system or requirement of maintenance of servers.
Now the question would be as to what kind of service would be suitable for your business, especially when cost is a factor.
One of the best things about all Azure services is that you don’t have to be bothered about any upfront costs. Nor do you have to pay anything when you terminate the services.
The services are mostly on the “pay as you go” scenario. Azure, thus makes it easier with their per-minute billing, making it affordable for those wishing to use top-tier cloud services for their requirements.
However, the interesting fact is that there are some similarities and differences in the cost factor for both environments. Let’s explore those.
The performance of IaaS can be measured in very simple parameters – mainly, resource utilization and time and money. The user has direct access to this data and this enables him to analyze and structure the parameters required for the smooth functioning of their business. But you get only very little guidance for analyzing the information in view of the cost incurred. For example, Azure lets the customers collect information on I/O, Network and CPU utilization.
On the other hand, PaaS has around 20 parameters to maintain the environment for the application to work smoothly – average utilization, maximum memory, a summary of input and output measurements, etc.
However, for PaaS, the user cannot access the box himself so he cannot enter the metrics himself.
The cloud will collect all the required data and send them across to the user, and the user will decide on the information that is useful for him in measuring costs and provisioning models.
PaaS models have fewer pricing levels when compared to IaaS.
IaaS is quite flexible, it lets you adjust the services as per your business requirement. The pricing model is also transparent, and lets you try different approaches.
PaaS is slightly more rigid when compared to IaaS, especially with Azure SQL, both in the models and the costs.
Which to Choose, Cost-Wise: IaaS or PaaS
Ultimately, it boils down to which one to choose, IaaS or PaaS, especially when you are restricted by on-premises SQL servers. If you are not willing to move to the cloud, you will be bogged down by the task of hardware maintenance.
Hardware maintenance is not an easy task, and when the requirements related to your datacenter grow, costs related to infrastructure investment, IT support and server licensing will also escalate.
The applications and databases must work in tandem with the organization’s requirements, not the other way around.
You can choose IaaS when:
You are looking to move your legacy applications to the cloud, but without giving up the backend control to anyone else.
You can choose PaaS when:
Your aim is to have a fast release, quick time to market and spend time on improvising your business with innovative goals. PaaS helps you to offload the administration and management of your database and underlying resources so you might not have to update the patches on your own.
Also, scalability is a key reason why PaaS is picked over IaaS. The applications can be scaled without much effort. You only need to pay for what you use and can shut it down when you are done. For some users, this may be an important factor to consider when they are deciding between the two.
Each business has their own explanations in choosing a particular model, and based on their budget, technology requirements, internal expertise and software preferences, either IaaS or PaaS will be chosen. However, cost optimization is a very serious parameter to consider while choosing one approach over the other. Choosing the right service will definitely play an important role in saving time, money and effort for all cloud deployments.
It is worth noting that while IaaS has been in huge demand, there has been a shift in interest towards PaaS recently. Let’s wait and watch where this goes.