Home // Page 10

Cloud Service Models Comparison

I created the diagram above to give you a visual representation of the levels of service provided by each service model.  There are a few things I should point out in this representation.

  • For each service model, management is a part of the service provided by the cloud service provider. In larger organizations, you will still require management functions to manage multiple services, service models and on-premise applications and systems.
  • If you purchase an infrastructure service from a cloud service provider, then you would build on top of that your applications and services and if you require a development platform, you would build this on the infrastructure service as well.
  • If you purchase a platform service, then it includes the required infrastructure service to support this platform.
  • If you purchase an application (software) service, then the service includes all of the infrastructure and platform services to support your application.
  • Business process systems facilitate the development of business processes, including business process inventory, definition, development, deployment, management and measurement. 
  • And finally, probably the most interesting part is the Services layer.  Services (Web Services or Business Services) are reusable technical components made available internally and/or externally to be consumed or used to create new business processes or applications.  Creating these reusable functions enables the business to be less reliant upon IT to modify existing systems in order to provide new functionality.  A new application can be created, using a service which utilizes the existing applications to provide this new business functionality in the SaaS and/or BaaS layer.  This is the meaning of the Services layer represented in the diagram above, it is Web or Business Services which are reusable technical components, not the general term ‘cloud services’.

< Cloud Service Models (aka The Stack)                                 

BaaS >

Cloud Deployment Models >


Management as a Service (MaaS). The capability provided to the consumer includes security, policy management, authentication, disaster recovery, billing, provisioning, capacity planning, monitoring, and systems management.  [Remember I cobbled this definition together, so let’s continue to refine it.]

While I try to stay away from cloud service provider and technology service provider materials as they usually provide a viewpoint which is more specific to their technology offerings and thus can be limiting in definition, I do find the IBM Common Cloud Management Platform discussed in the NIST Cloud Architecture Reference Models document to be quite comprehensive.  The materials below are from that reference. 

The cloud management platform is the set of tools and capabilities that provide services to the  consumer.  Most of the previous items were about services that were consumed. Cloud management is about providing resources to the system so that services can be consumed. The Common Cloud Management Platform (CCMP) contains a set of business and operational management focused services that must be used by Cloud Services to actually be a cloud service. The CCMP is responsible for:

  • Delivering instances of Cloud Services of any category to Cloud Service Consumers
  • The ongoing management of all Cloud service instances from a provider perspective
  • Allowing Cloud Service Consumers to manage their Cloud Service instances in a self-service fashion

The CCMP is split into two main elements: Operational Support Services, and Business Support Services.

– IBM Common Cloud Management Platform

Business Support Systems

The Business support systems (BSS) represents the set of business-related services exposed by the CCMP dealing with clients, supporting processes such as taking orders, processing bills, and collecting payments. It includes the components used to run business operations that are client facing. The BSS provides services that either enable the cloud service provider or facilitates certain task to deliver the cloud from a business perspective. It contains the services offering management, customer management, pricing and rating, order management, entitlement management, subscriber management, general accounting, invoicing, billing, peering and settlement, contract and agreement management, opportunity to order, metering, analytics and reporting, and service offer catalog.

Besides the business aspect, there is also the technical side of cloud computing because it includes a fast provisioning of standardized IT products and services. In the reference architecture, this area is called Operational Support Services.

Operational Support Services

OSS represents the set of operational management and technical-related services exposed by the CCMP, which must be exploited by Cloud Service Developers to take advantage of the common cloud management platform. The OSS contains the following services: service delivery catalog, service template, service automation management, service request management, change and configuration management, image life cycle management, provisioning, incident and problem management, IT service level management, monitoring and event management, IT asset and license management, capacity and performance management, and virtualization management.

< IaaS

Cloud Deployment Models >


Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The capability provided to the consumer is to provision processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, deployed applications, and possibly limited control of select networking components (e.g., host firewalls). –NIST Definition of Cloud Computing.  Version 15

On-demand data centers—also known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)—provide compute power, memory, and storage.  The service provides all the capacity you need, but you’re responsible for monitoring, managing, and patching your on-demand infrastructure.

 Pricing models

  • Usage.  Rates vary based on the actual usage of the resources (storage, compute)
  • Flat Rate.  Pay a one-time flat rate or annual rate for a prescribed configuration. 

Examples:  Rackspace, Amazon EC2

Benefits are the same as the benefits identified in the Cloud Value Proposition.  In addition

  • The resources are elastic.  You can increase or decrease capacity in minutes, provisioning additional resources as needed.
  • You have full access to your systems to administer as needed.
  • IaaS can be architected and provided in a public or private cloud.
  • Reduced environmental impact with optimized use of hardware resources.

Additional Considerations:  Management, Security, Disaster Recovery, Virtualization, Public/Private Cloud Architecture

Virtualization is fundamentally what enables IaaS.  Virtualization uses software to create virtual machines that emulate a physical computer allowing multiple instances to run together on one physical server.  This is what enables the almost instant and automatic elasticity of the IaaS services and optimizes the use of the physical hardware.

Key characteristics

  • Resources delivered as a service including servers, network equipment, memory, CPU, disk space, data center facilities,
  • Dynamic scaling of infrastructure which scales up and down based on application resource needs
  • Variable cost service using fixed prices per resource component
  • Multiple tenants typically coexist on the same infrastructure resources
  • Enterprise grade infrastructure allows mid-size companies to benefit from the aggregate compute resource pools

< PaaS                   

MaaS >