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Cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) are similar technological concepts.
Cloud computing is computing based on the internet. It is a model for delivering information technology services in which resources are retrieved from the internet through web-based tools and applications, rather than a direct connection to a server. Data and software packages are stored in remote virtual servers. However, cloud computing structure allows access to information as long as an electronic device has access to the internet.
Software as a Service on the other hand is a way of delivering applications over the Internet—as a service. Instead of installing and maintaining software, one simply accesses it via the Internet. SaaS applications are sometimes called Web-based software, on-demand software, or hosted software. It is a shift from the traditional model of software distribution, in which software is purchased for and installed on personal computers. Instead, the user does not pay for the software itself. It works like a rental. The user has the authorization to use it for a period of time and pay for the software that they are using.
Therefore, both concepts are similar. They are both designed to give users access to software without having to install that software. One can simply access the software via the internet and use it as if it were installed in his or her computer.
They also offer similar benefits to users. Uses can save on the resources that would have been spent on installation and licensing software. Both cloud computing and Software as a Service help on maintenance costs as they do not reside on the user’s machine or a company’s server.
There are however differences between the two concepts. Examples include:
1. Range of Services Offered
Cloud computing offers a wider range of services to users. Users can access applications and software on the cloud. They can also leverage on the massive data storage capabilities offered by the cloud at low costs. They can also manage and process data in the cloud.
Software as a Service on the other hand is just that- a software delivered to the end user from a cloud environment. The services offered by the SaaS are limited to the design and function of the software provided.
Simply put, cloud computing is a type of internet-based computing where different services- such as servers, storage and applications- are delivered to an organization’s computers and devices through the Internet. Software as a Service is an example of an application that can be hosted in the cloud and delivered to users.
Software as service on the other hand is a type of cloud computing. It is a model of cloud service. Companies buy and subscribe for software that resides in the cloud and the software is availed to their use for a limited period of time.
In cloud computing, the user has control over the cloud server. One can manage the data stored in the server and even migrate the data from the server to a local server. The user owns the server space and no one without authorized access can legally touch or tamper with information. Cloud computing solutions are therefore reliable for companies that deal with sensitive data and may want control over data to avoid a situation where the company is jeopardized in the event of a security breach.
In the Software as a Service arrangement, the user has no control over the server. The server is under the control of the software provider. Therefore, the provider can cancel service or even mine data in the server without the user’s consent.
4. Data Backup
Data backup is the process of making extra copies of an original data that can be restored and used in the event that the original data is destroyed or corrupted or the medium storing the original data fails to function.
In cloud computing, the cloud backs up all information automatically. This backed up data can be reliable in the event of the loss of the original data. Thus companies using the cloud to store and manage data can do so without worrying over data loss.
Software as a Service on the other hand does not automatically back up information. A backup schedule has to be in place so as to make extra copies of the original data. Alternatively, a backup has to be performed manually by the user or the administrator. This means that if no backup process is added to the software, there is risk of data loss. It also means additional resources have to spent in installing data backup servers and maintaining them.
Therefore while cloud computing and Software as a Service are similar concepts in that they allow users to access and use applications without necessarily having to download the, they have some differences. SaaS is a type of cloud computing and it resides in the cloud. The cloud is just a metaphor used to mean the Internet. Users of the cloud also have control over data stored in the cloud servers but have no control over SaaS servers. The cloud also offers a wider range of services, including hosting the very SaaS and performs automatic backups.