Elena Subashka
June 2022

Public Cloud vs Video platform (SaaS) - how to make an informed decision


Video broadcasting and streaming is not what it used to be several years ago. If in the past it was enough to deliver mp4 files from your on-premise servers to flash-based web players, nowadays, they have been replaced by advanced cloud and SaaS-based solutions which quickly and securely deliver video content to the end user.

When we talk about Cloud and SaaS video streaming, there are a few major differences between these solutions in terms of feasibility, pricing and features. SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) is almost always cloud-based computing, however cloud-based services might not necessarily offer SaaS features. There are two main types of cloud solutions - public clouds (like AWS, G-Cloud or Azure) and SaaS-based platforms.

But how to know which one is the better and safer solution for your business? Let’s take a look.

The rise of the public cloud

Although it seems like a modern solution, cloud computing has been around as early as 1960. While the concept technically launched decades ago, it really became mainstream during the mid 2000s. With the rise of public-based cloud solutions came the emergence of the 3 giants: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure.

To put it simply, cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computer resources over the internet. In other words, when you need the internet to use some service , you are working  from the cloud. An alternative is running software on your desktop or private server.

Take for example an email provider like Gmail: you browse online to log into your email box, all of your information is stored online on a public cloud - the Google Cloud Platform in this case. The same goes for Google Docs and Google Drive. Both are SaaS applications that can be used to create and store data (such as documents) on the Google Cloud. Wherever you are, you can always access them from the Google Cloud - as long as you have a working computer and internet.  

Considering the global pandemic, it really gained momentum in 2020 and 2021, therefore a lot of professionals were forced to work from home. During this time, it became apparent for companies they need to access their computing infrastructure, apps and data from wherever their employees were working - even from home.

The role of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) in public clouds

In a nutshell, Software-as-a-Service is the delivery of software and applications via the internet, mostly based on a monthly or an yearly subscription. Like stated above, SaaS is almost always cloud-based computing.  In comparison with traditional software, this offers a lot of benefits - whereas back in the days you needed to install, maintain and upgrade your software on local servers or computers.

When it comes to video streaming, both public cloud as SaaS solutions are available. Although both solutions seem pretty similar - there are key differences.

Cloud computing

Before we dive into the comparison between public cloud and SaaS, we should first take a look at how cloud computing works.

Everything down to the delivery of computing services is divided into layers:
1) The foundational layer including the physical infrastructure (routers and servers usually placed in data centers),
2) A virtualization layer aggregating resources to provide seamless access to the CPU and GPU power, disk space and others.
(Particular software can run on both layers, both have pros and cons. Running on virtualized computer resources (cloud) is more scalable and flexible although physical infrastructure provides better performance and level.)

Here comes the cloud - it can be a type of cloud deployment or a cloud service. Depending on type of cloud deployment model, there are three types of cloud deployment (or cloud environment):

  • Public cloud - they are owned and managed by a third-party service provider, usually from a large corporation (for example Google Cloud, Microsoft’s Azure, VMWare or Amazon’s AWS), responsible for maintaining the servers and storage (their own). Customers can use their services for a fee.
  • Private cloud - here the resources are owned and controlled only by a single company. The server racks can be located physically in a data center within the premises of the organization. Users can access it over the internet or through a private network.
  • Hybrid cloud - this type of cloud deployment is a combination of a public and a private cloud. It allows data and applications to be shared within the two, thus providing a greater flexibility. However, it has certain limitations, for example an enterprise cannot move from a private cloud and needs additional resources to be connected with the public cloud.

What about SaaS?

Here come cloud computing services consisting of a few broader categories:

  • software-as-a-service (SaaS)
  • infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS)
  • platform-as-a-service (PaaS)
    These services are hosted by a third-party provider (cloud computing vendors and service providers) and facilitate the data flow through the internet. They are already available to the user, thus reducing the amount of time and resources spent in the process.
  • With IaaS the customer rents infrastructure resources, such as CPU power, storage space or network connectivity, from a cloud provider. The payment model for IaaS is pay-as-you-go. As for software, they have to pass a full journey to build and sustain an environment to run the software and actually build these software products on their own or install box software.
  • With PaaS customers can receive a full cloud platform, including infrastructure and software by a third-party cloud provider. While the cloud provider owns the equipment, the customer handles the applications running on top of the platform.
  • With SaaS customers receive ready and fully functioning software applications, again managed by an external cloud provider for a subscription or a fee. Typically SaaS includes mobile and web applications. Users connect to the external cloud via an API. This model offers the most flexibility in terms of resources spent and limits the time that would go into developing an application from scratch.

Kinescope internally combines running on bare metal infrastructure  for most critical parts like CDN delivery and our private cloud. This setup is designed to mixr  redundancy and performance with an ability for agile development. Basically we already did all the hard bits in terms of deploying video streaming software on a high scale for you.  So that developers and businesses can take advantage of an all-in-one solution immediately via publicly accessible API.

Public cloud vs SaaS - which one to choose for video storage?

Now let’s talk about the differences between a public cloud and a SaaS. From the cloud computing services we mentioned above, SaaS offers shorter time-to-market for the end customer by providing access to up-to-date, working software eliminating the need to install, update, test and scale the software yourself. At the same time public cloud is preferred by various organizations due to the services it provides, the ease of storing information online and the accessibility without the need to own hardware or software yourself.

But which one should you choose for your business’ video needs?

Well, as we’ve discussed, both offer certain flexibility when it comes to services but still differ from one another.

With a public cloud you generally need to invest more before you launch your software because you build the software on your own from scratch. This means investment in time, coding knowledge and resources to build and support the software. With the public cloud you pay a fee or a subscription, you don’t own the equipment and you don’t have access to the DNS and CPU which can result in further complications. For example, if you are a small e-commerce business, an educational coach or a mid-size course learning organization, you might not have the time and resources to dedicate to developing software on your own. What can also happen is you can be very invested in the process but realize halfway through there’s already a fully working software created and ready to use.

Using a public cloud might be a good investment for bigger corporations with larger budgets and teams for which it would make sense to create their own software. An interesting example is Dropbox which were using Amazon’s cloud powers (a service by AWS) to store files, but moved most of its storage to their own hardware known as the "Magic Pocket” with the idea to create a place where information can be stored and accessed at all times. However, Dropbox has moved to a multi-cloud environment and still partly uses AWS for certain locations in Europe and Asia.

With SaaS you don’t have to build a software on your own - you are building business logic on top of a functioning one. What you need for your application to be up and running with all functions provided is to only integrate it with an API. The advantages of using SaaS are that it can drastically save time and money because you receive the finished and working product - you don’t need to think about updates, bug fixes and other general software maintenance, they are taken care of by the provider collecting data from different cases on a high scale. A SaaS solution is perfect for small and medium sized businesses which don’t have enough resources when it comes to finances and employees to create a new software. SaaS solutions are a great choice for e-commerce or e-learning platforms because they not only offer ready software, but a product specially intended for their particular field.

When it comes to the delivery of computing services and where to store files online, there are many options available amongst public, private and hybrid cloud, and SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS. The decision which one you should choose depends on the type and size of your business. Public cloud is good if you have a team of developers and you wish to create software on your own. SaaS, on the other hand, is perfect for e-commerce or e-learning solutions looking for a ready-to-use solution and don’t have to worry about software updates or maintenance.

No matter the size of your organization, with Kinescope you can enjoy our already available and perfected over the years SaaS solution to store, host and stream your videos online. We have an external network capacity over 4Tbps to handle peak loads of video with high reliability and tuned caching algorithms. Kinescope offers powerful analytics, cross-platform interactive player, live streaming and secure video protection with DRM. Our API is publicly available as well.

If you’re curious to try just sign up below or send us a message in the chat.

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June 2022