Cumulus, Stratus, Cirrus….no…not that THAT kind of CLOUDY.

The increasing number of cloud options can be confusing. With that in mind, I thought I’d ‘clear the air’ and review some of the more popular implementations.

There are literally hundreds of companies providing cloud services with different areas of focus.

Have a look…

…..but to simplify, I thought I would review offerings from two technology giants,

Microsoft and Amazon. These will be detailed in Part 2 and Part 3.


In this Part 1 of the series, the 'aaS' concept is covered.

'aaS' is an acronym for "as-a-service" as it relates to cloud computing.

There are lots of these too...



Analytics as a service


API as a service


Artificial intelligence as a service


Backend as a service


Banking as a service

Blockchain as a service

Business process as a service


Contact Information as a service


Content as a service


Construction as a service

Container as a service

Communications Platform as a Service


Data as a service


Desktop as a service

Drone as a service

Database as a service


Distribution as a service


Exposure as a service


Energy storage as a service


Electric vehicle as a service [2]


Function as a service


Farming as a service

Games as a service


Hadoop as a service


Housing as a service

Infrastructure as a service


Identity as a service


IT as a service


Knowledge as a service


Logging as a service


Management as a service


Microgrid as a service

Mobility as a service

Monitoring as a service

Metal as a service

Mobile backend as a service


Machine Learning as a service


Network as a service


Network Defense as a service


Payments as a service


Platform as a service

Push notification as a service

RAN as a service

Recovery as a service


Recycling as a service

Robot as a service

Search as a service


Security as a service

Software as a service

Storage as a service

Transportation as a service


Testing as a service

Unified Communications as a Service


For the purposes of this blog, IaaS, PaaS (DBaaS), and SaaS will be covered for context around database cloud deployments.

IBM has published a great at-a-glance understanding of what you manage versus what the vendor manages in these ’aaS' models

(Click on the image to enlarge)



IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service

The physical infrastructure is provided ‘as a service’. In my experience, this is often what companies dip their toe in the water with first. This is likely because IaaS provides among the lowest-level control of resources in the cloud. I say ‘among’ because though less popular, there is the option of BMaaS – Bare-Metal-as a-Service. This is direct access to the hardware as opposed to being provisioned virtualized compute, network, and storage. With an IaaS model, the service manages the infrastructure (for a fee) and users purchase, configure and manage the software like the operating systems, middleware, and applications. For DBAs, this equates to installing the DBMS on a VM and implementing it in the cloud.


  • Nimble/on-demand growth and scaling (up or down) without the need for hardware investment spend or increased IT staffing and training.
  • (Potential) cost savings by the reduction in hardware (and again, staffing) spend. This needs to be weighed versus IaaS subscription costs.
  • Accessibility is typically improved as users can get to what they want, where they want


  • Reliance - If something goes down on the provider end, all you can do is wait...or scramble back to the on-prem option. Uptime and productivity are not only at risk but also out of your hands.
  • Security - Systems can be exposed and be vulnerable to hacking.

PaaS – Platform-as-a-Service

In the database world, we hear about DBaaS – Database-as-a-Service, a more specific type of PaaS. Also offered as a fee-based subscription, the provider maintains the physical infrastructure and the database …and delivers it as a private cloud service. With DBaaS, subscribers reap the benefit of forgoing several administrative tasks. The end-user controls database content and usage. Time to value is improved but inherently, it offers less flexibility and control.


  • No need to build, configure, and/or maintain your DBMSs.
  • Database bugs, patches, upgrades, and general uptime are maintained
  • Little need for Database Development/Developers


  • Reduced security control
  • Little to no customizations to your database implementations

SaaS – Software-as-a-Service

Software applications are delivered ‘on-demand’ via the cloud provider versus local platform deployments. With an internet connection and a web browser, users access the software deployed in the cloud. There is no need to install, manage, or maintain anything.

Here is a blog I wrote describing SaaS benefits.

Consider a SaaS Solution:

Bonus: Serverless computing!

It is called 'serverless' even though physical servers are used. In this model, instead of paying for a fixed amount of resources, the service 'auto-scales'. Users are charged 'as-used'. This eliminates the need to determine the size and scope of the infrastructure required and reserved.

Every company has different needs, priorities, budgets, and resources so understanding the benefits and shortcomings of each configuration is important.

The market for these technologies is growing and evolving at a rapid pace. As such, there are more and more vendor ‘flavors’ available.

In part 2 (of 3) of this blog series, I will review some of the Microsoft Azure derivations.


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