Cloud Platforms as a Service (PaaS) are often referred to as managed [cloud] services.
If you are interested in learning more about the differences between the types of cloud services (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS), in this article I compare and contrast them.
What is a Managed Service?
A managed service is a service provided by a cloud provider, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Cloud (GCP), and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), that provides its functionality to the user without expecting them to setup, manage, or maintain the underlying infrastructure. AWS is seen as a leader in Cloud Computing in large part because of the quantity and quality of the managed services they offer.
Managed services supply building blocks for running modern cloud native software applications. This including services for databases, storage, logging and monitoring, security, DNS, Load Balancing, content delivery, queuing, notifications, and many more.
Because the Cloud Service provider manages the underlying platform, these managed services greatly reduce operational overhead for clients, as well as exposure to incidents related to human error. This also improves security posture by reducing the size of the manually managed server fleet.
Database as a Service
Perhaps the most beneficial managed service clients can take advantage of is the managed database as a service (DBaaS). For example, AWS Relational Database Service (RDS) is a managed DBaaS from AWS that allows you to provision and run a database such as MySQL, Oracle, Postgres, or MS-SQL for your applications.
With a managed service there is no need to provision the underlying virtual machine, provision storage, configure the operating system, install the database software, or create the database. DBaaS typically provide features for the automation of patching, upgrading, failover, and backups.
Although relational databases created via traditional virtual machines (IaaS) can scale vertically to increase compute resources, a managed database service can automatically scale up and down based on demand. For read-heavy applications, you can easily scale horizontally beyond the capacity constraints of a single instance by creating one or more read replicas.
The drawback of managed database services is the loss of access to the underlying operating system and filesystem. If the workload requires sysadmin access to the OS or filesystem, then databases as a service is often not an option.
Some other examples of popular managed services include storage as a service, networking and security infrastructure as a service, load balancing as a service, and container orchestration systems as a service.
Utilizing managed services offloads the administrative burden of operating a complex, highly available and scalable system, while also providing an efficient pricing model in which you pay for only what you use. For example, with managed cloud storage solutions, you can store a virtually unlimited amount of data without having to think about capacity and redundancy. However, managed services must be configured with sensible limits, secured, and monitored to prevent unintended usage, and consequential expenses.
During the cloud re-architecture process, all on-premises services need to be evaluated based on workload requirements. They must then be rearchitected to maximize value from the managed services provided by the cloud provider. This effort is an intensive process that is performed pre, during, and post-migration.
Architectures that do not leverage serverless platforms and cloud provider-managed services are not making the most of cloud computing and are missing an opportunity to increase operational efficiency and decrease maintenance costs.
Benefits of Managed Services vs. Self-Managed Services
- Reduction in time and effort managing custom solutions
- Many managed services are integrated with other cloud services (logging, security, etc.)
- Most managed services are highly available and scalable with little to no manual configuration
- Managed services are typically cost efficient because you pay only for what you use
Managed services and global availability are the major benefits of cloud technology, and what separate the “cloud” from traditional hosting providers.
For more information about PaaS, DBaaS, and other cloud services, contact us today!