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"IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service), "SaaS" (Software as a Service), and "PaaS" (Platform as a Service) written on colorful illustration of three gears next to a laptop with an illustrated Cloud on a background of the world map in grayscale

“The cloud” is a phrase thrown around casually as though it has one specific meaning, but in reality, the cloud is a broad concept used to reference many different services and deployment models.

If you’re speaking of “the cloud” generally, then it can refer to how and where data is stored—and where it isn’t. The cloud has become important for its improvements to modern business operations. Instead of being able to run only locally on one device, the cloud enables software and services to run and be accessible over the internet.

Interested in switching your business to the cloud? Then you’ll want to think of “the cloud” more specifically, with three primary cloud service options to consider: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

Knowing the difference between each of these cloud services will help you discover which solution, or solutions, could most benefit your business or organization.

"IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service), "SaaS" (Software as a Service), and "PaaS" (Platform as a Service) written with a diagram to explain briefly what each cloud service option does

SaaS

Software as a Service, or SaaS, is cloud-based software hosted online by a provider that is delivered via the internet and available for use on a subscription basis.

Beneficial for startups, e-commerce companies, and short-term projects that require collaboration, SaaS is the most common type of cloud computing service used by businesses.

Advantages of SaaS include:

  • It’s managed in one central location and hosted on a remote server accessible over the internet.
  • Users are not responsible for hardware or software updates because they are handled by the provider.
  • It doesn’t need to be downloaded and installed on individual devices in order to be deployed to an entire team or company.
  • It is ideal if you use applications that aren’t in demand very often or applications that need both web and mobile access.

PaaS

Platform as a Service, or PaaS, refers to cloud-based platform services that provide a framework for developers to build custom applications. Note that PaaS does not deliver software over the internet. Rather, it provides an online platform accessible to different developers so they can create software over the internet.

This allows developers to build custom applications online without having to deal with maintaining or managing infrastructure, software, and more.

There are several advantages to PaaS including:

  • It makes the development of apps simple, cost-effective, and scalable.
  • It gives developers the ability to create customized apps without maintaining any software.
  • It reduces the amount of coding needed.
  • If multiple developers are working on the same project, or if other vendors must be included, PaaS grants speed and flexibility to the entire process.

IaaS

Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, is the delivery of cloud-based infrastructure resources to organizations through virtualization technology, helping businesses organize and manage their servers, network, operating systems, and data storage.

With IaaS, customers have control over their own data without having to physically manage it on-site. IaaS is also known as a “virtual data center.”

The benefits of an IaaS include:

  • It is the most flexible cloud computing model, ideal for startups and reducing time to market.
  • It allows for automated deployment of storage, networking, servers, and processing power, all handled by your provider.
  • It allows resources to be rented in a flexible, pay-as-you-go model.
  • It gives you the ability to easily scale your infrastructure as needed.
  • It gives you increased security and 24/7 monitoring with the right provider.
"IaaS" (Infrastructure as a Service), "SaaS" (Software as a Service), and "PaaS" (Platform as a Service) written on colorful sticky notes and posted on a chalkboard illustration of a cloud that reads "CLOUD" for cloud services

Is SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS Right for You?

To put it simply, IaaS provides pay-as-you-go use of cloud computing infrastructure that can easily and flexibly scale with your business, PaaS provides developers with a maintenance-free platform to build custom apps, and SaaS is cloud-based software that makes it easy and less time-consuming for companies to use applications.

Although these services have similar acronyms, they all serve very different functions. However, at the end of the day, all three work together to help businesses improve operations through cloud computing.

When it comes to your business, are you ready to experience the power of the cloud? Choosing the right provider will make all the difference. Contact Lightbound today to learn which of our Indianapolis cloud services is the best fit for your business.

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What should you ask a potential cloud services provider before signing the dotted line? While a provider can seem like they have their ducks in a row, don’t forget to vet them for how they will treat you as a client. Asking the right questions can help you reveal whether or not a provider will meet, and hopefully exceed, your expectations as you experience the transition to cloud computing.

Ask potential cloud services providers these five questions to ensure they will give you the best client experience for a successful transition:

1. Do I need a cloud storage or cloud computing solution?

This is more of a question to ask yourself, but it’s first on the list because you’ll need to clarify whether your business needs a cloud storage solution like DropBox or an enterprise-level IaaS cloud computing service with network, server, and storage resources for your application.  

Cloud storage solutions are used for basic data storage and backup while cloud computing allows you to run applications in the cloud—a huge leap beyond cloud storage. IaaS Cloud computing allows you to access and run applications or programs through the Internet rather than through a physical computer or server. If you only need to store some files, you can stick to a cloud storage solution, but if you’re ready to put your business applications in the Cloud, then you’re ready to look for a cloud computing provider.

Cloud computing offers benefits like scalability, flexibility, cost savings on capital expenditures, the ability to remotely access and transform your data, plus so much more. A cloud computing provider may also offer increased protection for your data, both physically and virtually, thanks to data security and disaster recovery capabilities.

2. Are you a reseller or do you provide cloud services directly?

Some providers resell cloud services while others provide cloud services directly. The problem with resellers is that they not only have a lack of contact with the services they’re selling, but if you have a downtime issue it can be costly not knowing whether to call the software/hardware OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), the hosting provider, or the VAR (value-added reseller) for support. Finding where the problem started can prove to be an expensive headache.

When you work with a provider like LightBound, we’re not resellers of these products—we actually provide these services directly to you. This means we are able to provide a better customer experience for you because we customize the solution for your business, handle all the project management, installation, and implementation. We also support your business with a dedicated Technical Account Manager, a 24×7 NOC, and a team of Tier 3 and Tier 4 Engineers if things go bump in the night. All of these compliment our resource pools and ensure a smooth and trouble-free customer experience.

 

3. What are your service hours?

Technology doesn’t wait for “office hours” to malfunction, and things tend to go wrong in the middle of the night when you’re least expecting it. Will your provider be there for you when you need them most?

Some providers limit the hours when you can actually reach them for assistance, which can mean increased downtime for your business, frustrated employees, unhappy customers, and halted business operations.

Choose a provider like LightBound that offers always-on, always-available service designed to solve your problems with lightning speed. We are there for you day or night and will work hard to get your services back up and running if there’s ever an issue. Your bottom line will thank you!

4. Who answers the phone when I call?

When you call for help, will you be speaking to an answering machine, robot, third-party assistant, or a personable and ready-to-help expert? Will they know what they’re talking about and be able to help you, or end up wasting your time?

When something goes wrong, having an experienced professional on the other end of the line makes all the difference in getting your problems solved. When you call LightBound for help, one of our expert employees will be ready to assist you 24/7/365, and you’ll be able to put names to faces with our team.

 

5. Who’s responsible for what?

Who’s responsible for the services you receive and who owns the datacenter? Will they be accountable for monitoring and ensuring uptime? Know what your provider promises and what their responsibilities are, only choosing a provider you know you can count on to have your back, make you a priority, and solve issues directly.

If your services will be handled by separate parties, it will be more difficult and time-consuming to resolve issues. This is because, in addition to not knowing where your problems are rooted, you may not be able to get any party to take responsibility for solving them or even care that you’re experiencing downtime.

This is yet another reason it’s important to choose a provider that offers you services directly rather than a reseller that can’t ensure the success of your cloud services all the way through. At LightBound, we are your single-source solution for cloud services, so you have only one phone number to call and we are accountable for your uptime.

Need help choosing the right cloud services provider for your business? Contact us today for direction!

You’ve probably heard the terms “Cloud” and “datacenter” solutions thrown around by providers to describe just about any datacenter or hosting service. This kind of generic phrasing may be more marketable for providers, but it’s important to know the nuances of each service option and how they work differently to serve your business.

This blog explains why two service options, IaaS and colocation, are often marketed interchangeably, what their differences actually are, and how they’re evolving together to create a hybrid future for Cloud.

What are Cloud Services, IaaS, and Colocation?

Cloud Services refers to any cloud-based resources a provider deploys and manages for you via the Internet on an on-demand, pay-as-you-go basis.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is a cloud computing service where a third-party provider purchases, installs, and manages datacenter infrastructure for you, allowing your business pay-as-you-go use of storage, networking, and computing resources via the Internet.

Colocation, also known as colo, allows your business to rent from a provider the physical space, power, redundancies, and cooling needed to house your own hardware. You own and manage your equipment.

IaaS is a cloud service while colocation is not. Colocation simply provides the space for you to house your own datacenter infrastructure such as routers, firewalls, servers, and storage. The differences between colocation and IaaS make it tempting to compare and generalize which service is better than the other, but the two are not interchangeable because the value proposition and capital cost (as well as manpower resources) are entirely different.

Determining whether IaaS or colocation is the best solution for your business all depends on your business’s unique needs. So why are providers referring to these separate services as though they’re interchangeable?

 

IaaS and Colocation: From Interchangeable to Integrated

When big names in the industry began using phrases like “datacenter solutions” to describe IaaS and colocation, it became a trend and the two services started to sound interchangeable. The generic phrasing helped providers improve the marketability of their non-Cloud services by associating them with the growing Cloud market.

While IaaS and colocation are not exactly interchangeable, we are beginning to see a future where these two services are combined in more than just name. By utilizing both colocation and IaaS together, businesses and providers are able to achieve more customized and beneficial solutions than either service could alone.

 

The Future of Cloud

The integration of both IaaS and colocation is certainly one definition of a “hybrid” solution and is what’s growing and shaping the future of Cloud. Essentially, it’s “some of yours and some of ours” from a provider’s viewpoint.

A hybrid solution is a cloud service that allows for greater flexibility and efficiency by integrating the use of private cloud and public cloud solutions. Colocating your virtualized environment in a datacenter is commonly referred to as private cloud, but your virtualized environment could also be located in your own datacenter. IaaS Cloud providers like LightBound offer private cloud resources that can also be meshed with your public clouds.

As we continue to move into the future, most larger companies will likely leverage hybrid solutions depending on their need for scale and time to market. Less on-premise solutions will be maintained in favor of moving to the Cloud, and the hybridization of colocation and IaaS will be a large player in what makes this transition possible.

Want more insight into IaaS, colocation, and hybrid solutions? Sign up today for a FREE, one-hour, zero-obligation tech assessment with LightBound. Our experts will meet with you in person to evaluate your business’s unique needs, answer questions, and help you discover the best fit for your business.

No matter what problem you’re trying to solve in life, you need a path to get there. Solving your disaster recovery (DR) problem is no different, and it pays to keep your problem-solving at a high-level before diving too deep into the weeds.

In this blog, we cover five potential disaster recovery solutions for your business and what steps you need to take to ensure your DR problems are solved.

Businessman standing and thinking in front of multiple sketched arrow pathway choices

Don’t Skip The Crucial First Step

Before signing any agreements or buying anything, the stakeholders in your business should answer these five questions. After 15+ years of experience in this field, we recommend you ask yourself these questions as the critical first step in solving your DR problems. Getting through them will save you a lot of money and months or even years of frustration down the road:

  1. Is there a compliance issue you must solve, and does the CEO view this as a must-have?
  2. What applications and data must be recovered to support your employees and customers?
  3. How long can you do without these applications and data? How much data can you afford to lose?
  4. What is the financial risk of your business being without these applications and data?
  5. Who needs to be involved in this process within my company and do we have the expertise to evaluate the options?

The bigger your business, the more complexities will factor into these questions, but you’ll thank yourself later for taking the time to answer them.

Businessman choosing one solution from five options

5 Disaster Recovery Solutions for Your Business

Once you’ve nailed down your answers from the first step, you’ll be well-equipped to wade through the weeds of problem-solving. It’s time to consider these five potential DR solutions through the lens of your business’ unique needs:

1. Storage-based solutions are provided by the storage vendors and deployed as modules inside the storage array. This solution offers application consistency, but it functions at the storage layer and requires “like” hardware infrastructure in production and replication. A storage-based approach is a costly option regarding implementation and management.

2. Agent-based solutions install agents onto the host server that is desired to be backed up. It allows for application-level recovery but requires installing an agent on each server. It also means more overhead, less scalability, and increased complexity to manage.

3. Snapshot/backup-based solutions enable a quick restore by “freezing” a live storage system or VM at a moment in time. Because snapshots are typically taken every four hours, four hours of data is lost after rollback. This solution causes high latency and requires large amounts of storage. It does not perform well under high loads or at large scales, which leads to high recovery point objectives (RPOs).

Disaster Recovery Plan written by hand in marker with "DRP" highlighted by color and circled

4. Native hypervisor replication solutions are hypervisor-aware but are managed on a per Virtual Machine (VM) or per Host basis. It does not have a central management interface, nor does it have consistency grouping. This makes it difficult to manage and maintain. Plus, it requires manual recovery operation.

5. Hypervisor-based replication solutions function so that each time the virtual machine writes to its virtual disks, the written command is automatically and continuously captured, cloned, and sent to the recovery site with no impact on application performance.

Hypervisor-based replication offers huge benefits without the drawbacks of other solutions and is optimized for virtual environments. It boasts application-level consistency grouping, easy scalability and granularity, recovery at the click of a button, continuous data protection, and more.

You can learn how LightBound’s Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), a hypervisor-based solution, can provide superior protection for your business on our website.

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Ready to Learn More?

If you’re unsure which DR solution is best for your business, sign up today for a free one-hour consultation with LightBound’s experts to personally help you find the right solution for your business’ unique needs.

Click here for your Free Consultation