Azure is Microsoft’s cloud computing platform. Cloud computing is an online computing service (which may include both hardware and software) where the service provider creates a managed service to enable users to access these services on demand. So instead of “buying” hardware or software which means paying to own the product, users are “renting” the hardware or software resources from the cloud service provider and only have to pay for the size and time that they use. The main advantage of using a cloud service is the flexibility, scalability, cost effectiveness and ease of use based on user requirements.
Cloud services can be broadly categorized into three categories based on the type of services offered:
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) : This is where a service provider offers cloud based services for hardware and system resources such as CPU (compute resources), RAM, Storage (hard disk space) etc.
PaaS (Platform as a Service) : When a software platform (e.g. a database, IDE, Design tool etc. ) is offered. The main users for PaaS tools are software developers, power users, designers etc.
SaaS (Software as a Service) : When a finished software product is offered on the cloud which can be accessed by end users through a browser/app from any internet connected device e.g. Office productivity tools such as Office 365, Google Docs and Accounting tools such as Xero
So what is Azure? IaaS, PaaS or SaaS ?