Software-as-a-Service describes the provision, maintenance and administration of software by external service providers via the Internet, whereby the customer does not have to install complete software but accesses it via the Internet without owning it.
In cloud computing, a fundamental distinction is made between three main service models. The foundation is the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) level. Under this model, basic IT resources such as computing power, work or data storage are provided via the network.
The level above this is called Platform as a Service (PaaS). In this model, the service provider provides users with a software environment that allows them to develop and commission their own applications. Software as a Service (SaaS), in turn, provides access to application programs as the third, top level.
Here, the SaaS customer can use the software provided by the SaaS provider in its own data center online as a kind of service, with the SaaS provider taking over its configuration, maintenance and updating. The provider provides all the necessary components of a data center:
Networks, data storage, databases, application servers, web servers, and disaster recovery and data backup services. It also provides other operational services such as authentication, availability, identity management, production control, patch maintenance, activity monitoring, software upgrades and customizations.
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