We hear the two terms used a lot in the Product Information Management (PIM) world. Before we dive deep into the comparison, we need to take a step back and discuss IT architecture in general. We discern 3 "admin layers":
1. Infrastructure (Physical Layer)
2. Platform (Operation Layer)
3. Software (Application Layer)
The Physical Layer (also called the "Hardware Layer") is the basis on which all software runs. The Operation Layer covers the Operating System or OS that runs on top of the Physical Layer: it manages all traffic on the computer or server. The third and final layer is the Application Layer. In this layer we have specific applications like your PIM System.
Every layer requires a different set of skills and experience to operate effectively. An Application Manager knows little about managing the Operating System (generally speaking) and most OS-specialists know little about managing the physical hardware.
Software in general (including PIM Systems) are often offered in a range of options. Some Software Vendors offer their software in multiple setups (e.g.: both a "SaaS" option and an "On Premise" option), but there is a clear shift towards (pure) Software as a Service. Many Vendors are shifting from On Premise to offering a SaaS option next to (or instead of) their On Premise option.
Five ways to manage your Layers
You can manage your Physical, Operations and Software Layers in multiple ways. We see 5 different setups that are clearly discernable, especially when it comes to who is responsible for what:
1. On Premise
2. IaaS (Infrastructure as a service)
3. PaaS (Platform as a service)
4. SaaS (Software as a service) Single Tenant
5. SaaS (Software as a service) Multi Tenant
What are the main differences?
Managing the technical infrastructure, platform and all technical software is left to you (the customer). Managing the Applications (including PIM Tools) are also the responsibility of the customer, often with support from the Vendor.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
Managing the Infrastructure is outsourced to a third party (a data center, for example). Platform and Applications are still managed by the customer.
PaaS (Platform as a Service)
Infrastructure and platform are both managed by a third party. The Application layer is still the responsibility of the customer.
SaaS Single Tenant
The complete stack (from Physical to Application Layer) is managed by a third party. However: the stack is managed specifically for one customer and upgrades and changes are deployed in collaboration with the customer. All upgrades and changes are the same for all customers, but you might be running on different versions.
SaaS Multi Tenant
The complete stack (from Physical to Application Layer) is managed by a third party. All upgrades and changes are managed by the third party and are the same for all customers. Multiple customers might use the same instance of the software, but in many cases the data (e.g.: content, images, video) are managed in separate databases.
Want to learn more?
If you have any questions regarding Product Information Management, from PIM Selection to Implementation or how a PIM would fit in your IT landscape? Feel free to browse our data base of articles on everything PIM related. If you want to know which PIM would be the best fit for you (and get a free 1-hour consultation with a PIM Selection consultant with relevant industry expertise): do our Quickscan. In just 30 minutes you will be able to create a profile that we can match to the right PIM system.
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