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Microsoft Public Cloud Services: What the Cloud Can Do for Your Business

What kinds of Microsoft public cloud services are available?

Microsoft offers more than 200 public cloud services. These services are divided into three main categories:

  • Software as a service (SaaS) SaaS describes a way of licensing and delivering software by using a subscription model. Subscriptions can be paid on a monthly or yearly basis, or through special licensing programs. With SaaS, the software is located in the cloud, and users access it through the Internet. It is not installed on the user’s computer. Examples of SaaS are Microsoft Office 365, Xbox Live, and Microsoft Intune.
  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) With IaaS, users can rent compute, storage, and networking resources by using datacenter hardware to deploy virtual machines. (A virtual machine is a virtual computer within a physical computer, implemented in software. It emulates a complete hardware system, from processor to network card.) Users pay for these resources as they would a utility, like power or water, with the cost reflecting the actual amount of resources consumed. Examples of IaaS are virtual machines within Microsoft Azure.
  • Platform as a service (PaaS) With PaaS, users can develop, run, and manage web apps in a ready-made, cloud-based environment. Examples of using PaaS include building an app, an SQL database, or a website.