Are you considering moving your infrastructure to the cloud?
The cloud allows for many design patterns and architectural options not readily available to on-premises data centers. There are several delivery models of cloud services that should be considered to develop an effective cloud strategy.
What are the Available Cloud Service Delivery Models?
1. Cloud Hosting — Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
In this model, cloud providers provide redundant data centers to host your virtual infrastructure. The hardware that supports your virtual servers and infrastructure is maintained by the cloud provider. This includes physical hardware, networking, storage, physical security, and redundant utilities. This enables you to reduce your overhead in operating physical hardware, but still allows you to operate your virtual servers and infrastructure.
The benefit of this model is you can take advantage of systems and features that provide your enterprise value when these systems or features are not available in other delivery models.
2. Cloud Services — Platforms as a service (PaaS)
In this model, cloud providers provide software platforms or systems as a service, rather than just providing the underlying hardware. These services are operated by the cloud vendor and typically provide redundancy and scalability.
For example, a popular service offered by all major cloud providers is the database as a service. In this model, the cloud provider would operate the database in a generic configuration. They provide you an endpoint which your applications query or modify the data in the database. The downside is that this database is often not configurable, and many advanced features may not be available to your application. However, if your application can use a generic database and do not require any of these advanced features, a database service can provide abundant value.
3. Cloud Software — Software as a service (SaaS)
In this model, you give up complete control of the infrastructure and subscribe to a software that is centrally hosted by a software vendor.
The benefit is that you have no infrastructure to manage. The downside is you lose the ability to customize the application, requiring your business processes to fit the software rather than the software changing to fit the business process.
Cloud Delivery Model for ERP
Several ERP vendors offer a SaaS model for their products. While this may be viable for newer, unmodified ERP implementations, the restrictions of the SaaS model make it impractical for mature, customized environments.
If your ERP platform is customized, and your organization is focused on the here and now, the recommended approach for moving forward implements a mix of both IaaS and PaaS to create a modern cloud computing environment.
PaaS services should be utilized wherever possible to take advantage of cloud provider managed redundancy and scalability, while also creating savings on operational overhead. Unfortunately, some PaaS products have limitations that break interoperability with ERP services, and IaaS is still required in this use case.
For more information about PaaS, DBaaS, and other cloud services, contact us today!