On-Premises, Cloud, or Hybrid; Which Solution is right for your enterprise?

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It’s been a vitally important topic in IT for many years now; the cloud. What types of cloud-based services are best suited for your business? To what degree should you consume them? How can you navigate the numerous available options? Is the cloud safer, cheaper, and/or faster than your current network infrastructure? And honestly, just what is the cloud? Most people have a rough idea but ask five people and you’ll probably get five different answers. You read about SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, BUaaS, and the list just keeps going. It seems you could put any letter in front of the “aaS” acronym and makeup something unique relating to cloud solutions. The truth is, there is no single right answer to which cloud services best fit your needs, but there are several factors that will help make your decision far clearer.

Let’s start with a few definitions that will hopefully clear a few things up; aaS is simply “as a service”. This acronym signifies that most cloud solutions are meant to be consumable. In some form or fashion at its base level, any aaS utility is some combination of another organization’s infrastructure and team that you are utilizing. You often do not know where the resource resides—and you may not care—but the assumption is that it is always up, fast, and safe. This idea is a direct comparison to your on-premises gear, often referred to as “on-prem”. Simply put, on-prem equipment is the collection of infrastructure components that remain at your business location(s).

Some of the more common “aaS” acronyms are:

  • IaaS: Infrastructure as a Service. This is typically computing, storage, network, and security components ready for you to consume. In most cases, IaaS is like a subscription for a virtual data center. You may choose to support the operating system on up through applications, data sets, etc., on your own, but typically the IaaS model assumes that the infrastructure is provided and maintained for you.
  • SaaS: Software as a Service. These are all the back-end applications that you access from anywhere, but that you don’t really own, like Salesforce, NetSuite, SAP, Oracle ERP, and hundreds of others.
  • PaaS: Platform as a Service. Similar to IaaS, except that PaaS typically brings with it additional options including databases, middleware components, and Operating Systems (OS)
  • BUaaS: Backup as a Service, or often Backup and Recovery as a Service. BUaaS affords you some combination of backup for your on-premises and hosted servers.