The cloud service architecture can be divided into 3 main levels of provisioning, each of which comprises different services. These delivery levels are: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).
In this article, we will discuss the software delivery layer, which is the top building block of the delivery layer.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) enables users to connect to and use cloud-based apps over the Internet. Common examples include email, calendaring, and office tools (such as Microsoft Office 365).
SaaS provides a comprehensive software solution purchased from a cloud service provider, such as AWS or Azure, based on a pay-as-you-use payment model. So you pay a rental fee for an app and your users connect to the app over the Internet (typically through a Web browser). All of the underlying infrastructure, middleware and app software, and app data reside in the Service Provider’s data center. The service provider manages both the hardware and the software.
With SaaS, software is provided centrally over the Internet by a provider. Companies or users create individual accounts and any costs incurred are billed monthly or annually. The provided applications then no longer run on their own computers, but are accessed online. The provider is responsible for the correct provision, maintenance and updating.
Users only need to access the software via a web browser. As a rule, the software can be controlled with any Internet-capable device, such as a smartphone or laptop. To use the software, the user needs his personal login data in order to be able to use the software provided to him.
Typical applicationsSaaS is used in various areas:
Project management apps
Content management apps (CMS) such as WordPress
Programmes for financial accounting
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Probably the best known example of SaaS is Office 365 from Microsoft. Office 365 enables the user to use the most common office programs anywhere and anytime. You can find more information about Office 365 here.
SaaS offers companies various advantages:
Easy user management
Elimination of high acquisition costs for licenses
Elimination of time and costs for training
Elimination of investment costs in hardware
Relief of the IT department through automatic updates and patches by the provider available everywhere
Better cooperation between decentralised teams