Compare Cloud Services with the SPI Model

| March 21, 2013

Before you can compare cloud services, you need to know what you are comparing them against. Depending on your business needs, you may simply need cloud-based software, you may need an operating system, or you may even need to outsource your entire computing infrastructure.

Enter the SPI model, an acronym for Software as a Service (SaaS); Platform as a Service (PaaS); and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Looking at the options within each category can help you make sense of the influx of information and find the right services to optimize your business.

Compare Cloud Services Among SaaS Options

In some ways, Software as a Service is the simplest of the three. It usually involves a single application or set of applications, and the only concern is what choosing the right one to meet your needs. Even so, the best option for one company may not be a good fit for another. With SaaS, you need to look at pricing and functionality, taking the time to compare features. Think of it as not only scaling usage to your needs, but scaling functions as well.

Compare Cloud Services Among PaaS Options

With PaaS, you're moving from individual applications to an entire operating system, so it requires a higher-level look at your needs. Besides cost considerations, the advantage of choosing PaaS, as opposed to developing or purchasing your own operating system, is twofold: you can upgrade or change systems without the wasted investment in a previous system, and you can work from multiple locations while using the same, cloud-based system. When you compare among PaaS options, though, watch for the potential of getting locked in, and look at the flexibility of the platforms to meet the changing needs and demands of your business.

Compare Cloud Services Among IaaS Options

IaaS has a less obvious immediate impact than SaaS or PaaS, as it functions in the background of what you are doing on a day-to-day basis. Even so, going with a provider that owns, houses, and manages the equipment used to run your business requires critical comparison among providers. Carefully compare services among IaaS providers. Can you count on the service operating continuously, without downtime interrupting your business operations? Does the provider have sufficient capacity to grow with your needs? And what assurances and remedies do you have against something going wrong?

Within these categories are a multitude of options, and many decisions to make as you grow into the cloud. If you need help moving forward and looking to compare cloud services, give us a call and we'll help you make the best choices for your business.