Friday, November 10, 2017

MANUFACTURING IN THE CLOUD: PART VIII: PaaS and SaaS Models

By Goran Novkovic, MESA Member, CQA, CSQE, ITIL, APM, PMP, PEng

This blog is part of a series called Manufacturing in the Cloud. This series aims to assist manufacturing organizations to evaluate how they can overcome challenges and maximize cloud computing benefits. As cloud computing services mature both commercially and technologically, this is likely to become relatively easier to achieve.



In the previous blog we talked about IaaS, in this blog we will discuss the other two models and how they compare.

PaaS – Platform as a Service

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a cloud service model that offers services to manufacturing organizations that develop and test their own software and database applications. PaaS provides a complete and centralized development environment that is accessible on demand. Unlike other service models, Platform as a Service is targeted to Cloud Service Customers (CSC) who wants to create, test and deploy applications using the platform and tools provided by Cloud Service Providers (CSP).

If you have a start-up or hire an organization that develops software applications (whether they will be used internally by your own organization or they are going to be sold to other customers), the perks of PaaS may be what you need.

PaaS cloud service model provides the capability to deploy customer-created, or acquired applications that are developed using programming languages and tools offered by CSP. PaaS includes all building blocks for production and business applications and an application development sandbox to test them in the cloud. Software and database applications can be custom applications that manufacturing organizations have been using in the past that they are now deploying on virtual machines in the cloud, or that can be applications that manufacturing organizations entirely want to build from scratch in the cloud using platform and tools provided by CSP.

CSPs offer a suite of software development tools hosted on their infrastructure allowing developers to create applications. The manufacturing organization that is consuming PaaS services do not manage or control underlying cloud infrastructure, but they have a full control over deployed software and database applications and configurations of application hosting environment.

Note: Manufacturing organizations don't need to provision hardware and software that is required to test and deploy the software that you're developing and there is no software licensing costs. It is all provided and done in the cloud, and it can be done very quickly. There is, however, utility style costing involved but organizations only have to pay for what they use.

SaaS – Software as a Service
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a cloud service model that is particularly focused on Cloud Service Customers (CSC) as end users. This model provides business and production software applications and database services that can be used by many organizations, concurrently.

SaaS software vendors are leasing software applications in the cloud. They are responsible for managing software, its licensing, maintaining, upgrading, patching and monitoring it. Manufacturing organizations may have designated personnel to monitor the performance of SaaS services and software applications, but the majority of such responsibilities are under Cloud Service Providers.

SaaS allows manufacturing organizations to perform a very specific business and operational tasks. Employees should be able to use any type of computing devices to access SaaS services. SaaS model encourages mobility in the sense that employees can use smartphones, tablets, desktops, laptops, and so on to connect to SaaS offerings. Mobility is one of the main benefits of SaaS cloud service model.

A SaaS cloud service model offers minimized hardware and software setup costs, because manufacturing organizations don't need to make capital investments in hardware or software licenses. However, the customer doesn't manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure. Instead, they pay a fee to use these software applications and database services. Organizations only have to pay for what they use. Payment model can be can be per user, or on usage basis. The usage is fully scalable.

One the of the benefits of SaaS is that automated updates of software applications are done by the CSP. They update the latest version of software and security patches to businesses or production software that employees use to make sure they function correctly.

If your manufacturing organization is using any of the cloud models mentioned in this series, write to me and let me know what advantages and disadvantages you’ve seen. What would you change or do differently?  



Goran Novkovic, CQA, CSQE, ITIL, APM, PMP, PEng
Goran Novkovic has over 15 years of experience in various regulated industry sectors. His expertise is in industrial control systems (ICS) cybersecurity, control systems engineering, computer systems validation, software security and test management, cloud security and regulatory compliance. Goran has a formal education in Electrical Engineering and Project Management and possesses a master's degree in Information Technology. He has number of professional licenses and designations. He is holder of CQA (Certified Quality Auditor) and CSQE (Certified Software Quality Engineer) certifications with ASQ (American Society for Quality). Goran is certified ITIL, certified Agile Project Manager and Project Management Professional with PMI (Project Management Institute). He is licensed Professional Engineer with PEO (Professional Engineers Ontario). Goran is focused on ICS cybersecurity and he is helping organizations to establish ICS cybersecurity governance and develop effective ICS cybersecurity programs from scratch. E-mail contact: goran@valiver.com
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