Cloud computing is a hot topic for businesses worldwide. Despite the buzz, most companies are still struggling to decide how cloud fits into their strategy, and if it does, which type of cloud service to use. It is important to understand the differences between and advantages of the various cloud services.

In a nutshell, there are three main types of cloud services:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Each one has its own advantages and is suitable for certain purposes. So, it’s important to make the right choice for your specific circumstances. Our XTREME-DNA product provides users with HPC clusters that feature the best aspects of each type of cloud service — a level of service we can call as Next-gen SaaS.

Let’s start by looking over the features of each type of cloud.

SaaS Can Be Very Useful if it Meets Your Needs
Software as a Service is perhaps the most well-known and commonly utilized type of cloud for business. SaaS vendors provide a wide variety of third-party applications, which are delivered to users directly and do not require downloads and installation.

The greatest advantage of SaaS is that SaaS vendors provide one-stop services to their users, which greatly reduces the time and cost required to configure and use more traditional system environments. On the other hand, however, SaaS offers little flexibility and thus sometimes requires users to change their business process to fit the application(s). Troubleshooting is also difficult because the application is running on a server that is managed by the SaaS vendor.

PaaS Requires Cloud Computing Skill
Platform as a Service is similar to SaaS except that it does not provide software, only a cloud platform on which users can build their own customized application environment. This set-up lets you concentrate on your applications without worrying about infrastructure, but requires you to have cloud computing skills, as your users will work on applications within the cloud. Therefore, you will need to optimize those applications to meet PaaS infrastructure requirements.

IaaS Requires Cloud Infrastructure Skill
Infrastructure as a Service provides primitive cloud resources. You can build your HPC clusters however you like, but you would need to learn about and choose the specific resources required for your job, as well as how to deploy, install, and configure them. And, you would need to know how to tune any device accessed via public cloud.

This is not an easy job, and often there are pitfalls. Therefore, building and operating an HPC cluster takes a lot of working hours, during which you’d still have to pay for your cloud subscription even though you aren’t able to run your jobs until your cluster is properly configured.

XTREME-DNA Provides HPC Clusters as Next-gen SaaS
After reviewing the specific features and functionalities of each type of cloud service, we came up with the idea of offering Next-gen-SaaS, which incorporates the best features of SaaS and IaaS — the application readiness of SaaS combined with the flexibility and control over the entire infrastructure offered by IaaS. With XTREME-DNA you will be able to have your own HPC clusters in just 10 minutes, all configured and ready to use, while having complete control over them. You can also access HPC clusters directly, which offers you the same usability as an on-premise environment.

Looking at PaaS for Future Features
Recently, one of our customers came to us with a challenge that we are working to solve. Their workloads are not tightly parallel, but are instead stateless, time flexible, and fault tolerant. We thought their workloads might be more suitable for PaaS. PaaS requires their workloads to be optimized, but provides more benefits, such as workflow automation, cost savings, and flexibility. PaaS is an ideal option when a cloud provider provides low-cost virtual machines, because XTREME-D’s products can provide the missing infrastructure, therefore saving the customer time and money.

Based on this input, we are working to incorporate PaaS features into our new gateway appliance, XTREME-Stargate. Look for updates on our XTREME-Stargate roadmap in the fall, and please consult us in the meantime if you are considering an HPC PaaS solution — we can help.

Decisions, Decisions…
We hope this article provides some insight into which type of cloud is best for you. XTREME-D provides HPC clusters that are very flexible and easy to use. Please feel free to contact us and we can discuss the best cloud type for you.