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What is the difference between SaaS and Cloud?

To answer this question, we first need to understand what SaaS and Cloud means.

The word "Software as a Service" (SaaS) is defined as "a model for delivering software that provides access to software applications over the internet by way of cloud computing."

In this case, the word "cloud" is used to describe the remote computer (server) which provides the application. In other words, cloud computing is a type of services using the internet, but its definition varies depending on who defines it. In this post we will just use the most common and basic definition:


Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous access to shared pools of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.


With the above definition in mind, let's look at SaaS and Cloud again.


The difference between SaaS and cloud is that:


1. SaaS uses cloud computing.

2. Cloud Computing does not need to use SaaS.


Explanation:


1. SaaS uses Cloud Computing, so it is a type of cloud service, but not all Cloud Computing services are SaaS. For example, public cloud and private cloud are examples of cloud computing. Public clouds such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are examples of public cloud. Private clouds such as VMware vCloud or OpenStack, are examples of private cloud.


2. Cloud Computing can be used without SaaS, because the "cloud" does not have to provide software applications but can be used for storage and other services as well.



Companies providing SaaS use cloud computing to provide the product, so they are "Software as a Service" + "Cloud Computing". For example: Salesforce offers its application software through the internet and is an example of SaaS that used cloud computing. When Amazon launched AWS for enterprises, it was not a type of SaaS but more of a Cloud Service. This is the easiest way to distinguish between SaaS and cloud, but it's not clear cut because there are various types of services that use one or both terms at the same time.



Some key points:


Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous access to shared pools of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

SaaS is a software application designed to run in the cloud. It provides customers with the ability to access their software over an internet connection rather than requiring them to have the software on their local device.


The following are some of the top SaaS deployment models:


White Labeled Model: This model is when a company launches their product under their brand name and sells it to another organization, which further sells or resells it to its customers. The final consumer of the product does not know that the SaaS service from which they are buying services is actually being managed by someone else. For example, Salesforce.com is a white-label provider to over 3,000 companies across the world that are all rebranding the product and selling it as their own.


Hosted Model: This model is when a business hosts a software application for their customers on its systems while charging them for access to it. Customer support is also included in the service. Companies like Microsoft and Google are SaaS providers that use this model while maintaining full ownership of all data, software code, etc.


Managed Model: This model is similar to the Hosted Model except that it provides customers with additional levels of support during application usage (e.g., installation support, etc.).


Private Model: With this model, a business that provides SaaS services creates and maintains their own applications for their client’s use.

Cloud Computing is not limited to the above models; however, these are some of the most common business models used in today’s marketplace for Cloud Computing.