Many people have the false notion that Cloud Computing and SaaS(Software as a service) are one and the same. There is no denying the fact that Cloud Computing and SaaS are related, however, they are still very distinct from each other. SaaS applications are basically end-user applications that are located outside the premises of users. Cloud Computing, on the other hand, enables you to rent computing infrastructure and services.
Let's Understand How Cloud Computing and SaaS are Two Different Concepts
The reason why Cloud Computing has become very popular in the past few years is that it saves huge business costs of buying your own servers, software licenses, installation, maintenance, etc. So, instead of investing hefty amount of money on on-premise hardware and software, you can simply choose to rent a cost-effective network of remote servers hosted on the Internet.
SaaS sits in the cloud to provide access to software applications not located on your premises.
The Takeaway: Cloud Computing is used by software developers, savvy computer users, application vendors and IT departments. Some popular examples of Cloud Computing are Microsoft's Windows Azure, Amazon Web Services and Rackspace.com. SaaS is meant for people who use computer applications, such as Google Apps, Salesforce, Workday, Concur, Citrix GoToMeeting, Cisco and WebEx. So, SaaS delivers software to an end user from a cloud environment, and is not the cloud itself.
The only similarity between SaaS and Cloud Computing is that they eliminate the need of buying on-premise software or hardware.
Since cloud computing sports more mass customization than SaaS, they don’t largely compete against each other. To better understanding, Cloud Computing is meant for high-end mass customization, whereas SaaS is more about low-end mass customization. Thus, chances are slim for Amazon AWS and Force.com to give each other run for their money.
The area where competition does exists between Cloud Computing and SaaS is components at each layer of the technology stack, ranging from storage to user interface. So, it won't be wrong to say that the duo actually compete on architecture.
|Public Cloud||Private Cloud||Hybrid Cloud|
|A public cloud is basically used by service providers to develop SaaS applications for end users.||A private cloud is entails maintaining the services and infrastructure on a private network.||Hybrid cloud offers a mix of public cloud and private cloud.|
|Public clouds, like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and IBM's Blue Cloud, are available at very economical prices since the provider covers the cost of hardware, application and bandwidth.||Although private clouds are expensive, they are more secured than public cloud. There are two types of private cloud: On-premise private clouds and externally hosted private clouds.||A hybrid cloud is the best for companies that want to avail the benefits of public cloud when they need it and move on to private cloud when the need arises to cut down the security risk.|
|Public clouds are not meant for every organization. Configuration, security, and SLA specificity are the major roadblocks for companies dealing with sensitive data.||Private cloud provides a particular organization access to the computing infrastructure which is not shared with other organizations.||Hybrid clouds enables to reduce the overall IT cost and build digital-ready infrastructure.|
However, many people mistake SaaS for cloud offering, since they don’t know that SaaS is actually an offering on the cloud, not an offering of the cloud. So, one can use AWS servers for an online project management tools and other online businesses, which means software developers, application vendors, savvy computer users and IT executives are the ones who are supposed to deal with Cloud Computing services. Unlike Cloud Computing services, SaaS internet applications (google, flickr, facebook) are used by people or functional executives.
I hope the blog gives you explicit reasons why SaaS and Cloud Computing are different from each other. If you have ever availed cloud computing services or accessed SaaS applications and want to shed more light on them, please share your inputs in the comment box below.