How to Understand the Basic Differences Between IaaS, PaaS and SaaS [Guide 2022]

This is a basic guide to the three most common Cloud Computing models: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. It explains what they are, how they work and how they differ from each other.

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We all know the Internet is a big part of our daily life. Many people use it for information, communication and entertainment purposes. But for businesses, the Internet is an essential tool with many applications that help them improve their efficiency and productivity.

In the coming years, we will see a reshaping of cloud offerings. The current three-tier model (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS) will be streamlined into two: infrastructure and platform services.

The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market is growing at a rapid pace. It's not hard to see why customers prefer the convenience of renting software over purchasing it outright. Then there are companies like Google and Amazon Web Services that give businesses an even more compelling reason: they don't even need to purchase anything in order to get started. This article discusses the basics of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, and how they differ from one another.

What is IaaS, PaaS, SaaS in Cloud Computing

The cloud is a very complicated technology that can be quite hard to understand for people who are not familiar with it. In this article, we have tried to break down the basics of cloud computing into simple terms that can be easily understood by anyone, no matter what their level of expertise or knowledge is. We hope you found this guide useful and if you want to learn more about the future of cloud computing, make sure to check out our blog regularly!

The cloud computing market is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and it’s hard to keep up with all the different types of services out there. In this guide, we’ll cover what you need to know about IaaS, PaaS and SaaS so you can make an informed decision when it comes time to find a cloud provider for your business.

There are three main cloud service models, namely Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). We’ve provided you with an explanation of each model along with some examples.

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

  • Allows building and running virtual machines on the cloud.
  • A user can choose infrastructure, storage and network components that best suit the application they are developing. The number of servers can be changed as per requirements.

PaaS (Platform as a Service)

  • Provides a platform with preconfigured tools and services to build an application or website.
  • It also provides database software, security layer etc.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

  • A way of delivering applications over the Internet—as a service.
  • Instead of installing and maintaining software, you simply access it via the Internet, freeing yourself from complex software and hardware management.

With the increasing use of cloud-based environments increasingly, enterprises are shifting away the traditional IT infrastructure and are relying on IT infrastructures, platforms and software that is offered as services. But what exactly does that actually look like in terms of major differences between the different models of service?

Find out more about IaaS PaaS and SaaS as well as how they assist you to build an cloud-based computing environment which is adapted to your specific needs. We’ll also look at some of the examples, to help you understand how as-a-service solutions fit into your existing IT landscape, and what benefits and drawbacks you can expect.

What are the Differences in IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS?

IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS stand for Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service, and Software-as-a-Service. Each describes how to use the cloud to benefit your business. The cloud models do not stand in complete opposition to one however they each cover a specific aspect of management for IT, providing the alternative to the self-managed IT services that are on premises.

Traditional solutions will require that you manage the IT infrastructure and software in-house, IaaS provides a pay-as-you-go method for networking, storage and virtualization. Furthermore, PaaS includes even more tools like hardware and development tools that can be accessed via the web. With SaaS you will get the best level of management of your vendor by “renting” full software solutions.

This diagram “As-a-Service” below illustrates the differentiators between IaaS and PaaS and SaaS and the degree of management of the vendor that you will receive with each model.

Basic Differences Between IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

Examples of IaaS

Here are 10 companies that offer IaaS platforms to meet different business requirements (some are also provide PaaS and SaaS model):

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Google Compute Engine (GCE)
  • IBM Cloud
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Rackspace
  • Linode
  • Cisco Metacloud
  • Digital Ocean
  • Vultr
  • Oracle Cloud

Examples of PaaS

Here are ten of the most popular PaaS companies that use these providers to build custom applications to meet their business requirements.

  • Google App Engine
  • OpenShift
  • Heroku
  • Windows Azure
  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk
  • Apache Stratos
  • Magento Commerce
  • AWS Lamda
  • SAP Cloud

Examples of SaaS

Software-as-a-Service was around even before companies started migrating to the cloud. The most popular examples are web-based email providers like Outlook as well as Gmail. Here are some SaaS companies you’re likely familiar with.

  • Salesforce
  • Cisco WebEx
  • Dropbox
  • ZenDesk
  • MailChimp
  • Slack
  • HubSpot
  • DocuSign
  • Google Apps
  • Microsoft Office 365

IaaS vs PaaS

Infrastructure-as-a-Service offers you a great deal of control over your operating systems. It’s the base of your cloud computing environment. With Platform-as-a-Service on the other hand, you can build apps without having to host them on-premise, so you benefit from more flexibility but get a little less control.

The best service model for you, based on the needs of your business. For example, if you’re planning to develop websites using an IaaS product such as Amazon Webs Services can provide the infrastructure to host your website and its applications. However, if you wish to build custom features such as an PaaS product such as Google App Engine does not just host your website, but also lets developers create and distribute custom applications.

SaaS vs PaaS

As described above, Platform-as-a-Service is used as a way to build new products on top of your already existing network. But Software-as-a-Service takes this one step further. SaaS products are completely controlled by the vendor and are ready to be used by your teams.

When should you pick to use a PaaS product instead of one that is a SaaS product? Example: If you want to create a payroll app that is tailored to your HR needs, Platform-as-a-Service provides all the tools you would need to succeed. When your app is completed it is able to be categorized as SaaS. If you’re looking for the convenience of using it out of the box using a payroll application such as Quickbooks would be the ideal alternative.

IaaS vs SaaS

With a Software-as-a-Service product, you are getting the most service from your third-party provider in terms of software management and maintenance. With Infrastructure-as-a-Service on the other hand, the provider only supplies and maintains core components such as servers or storage.

Which one is the best fit for your company is largely dependent on the goals you want to accomplish. If you require the maximum degree of control in the cloud environment and wish to stay clear of external management issues that could impact the security or functionality for your information, then IaaS is the ideal choice. However, if you do not require a lot of flexibility or user-friendliness, moving to a low-cost SaaS solution is the best solution.

#1. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

IaaS stands for Infrastructure-as-a-Service. It allows companies to buy items like storage and networking on demand, rather than needing to purchase expensive hardware. IaaS is extremely flexible and gives businesses greater flexibility than traditional on-premise solutions.

IaaS can be described as the foundational layer of cloud computing. The components that are virtualized on the internet are similar to the hardware and servers businesses typically store within their buildings.

When to use IaaS?

All sizes of organizations can profit from the IaaS. Smaller companies that want to save money on hardware purchases or do not have the funds staff or resources to host massive data centers on their own in addition to larger companies who wish to control their apps and to use only the resources they require. Scalability is a benefit of IaaS is also beneficial for businesses that are experiencing rapid growth.

IaaS delivery

With IaaS companies get access to the full cloud computing platform comprising servers, network operating system, storage and data centers. Full access is provided through virtualization technologies via dashboards or API. So, the users can are in complete control of their computer infrastructure.

It is the IaaS provider is responsible for the management and maintenance of servers as well as storage devices, hard drives, as well as virtualization software. However, the runtime, applications and middleware, operating systems and data also need to be handled by the user.

IaaS benefits

IaaS can provide many advantages for companies looking to move to cloud computing. The most convincing benefits are listed below.

  • The flexibility: IaaS is more flexible than other cloud computing models.
  • Automation Automatization: With IaaS you can quickly manage the installation of storage, servers and networking.
  • Cost reduction: IaaS lets you purchase resources on a per-use basis, meaning it only costs the resources you actually use.
  • Control: IaaS gives you the complete control over your infrastructure.
  • Scalability: As you’re “renting” IT components, you are able to easily upgrade or scale down your IT components.

IaaS disadvantages

IaaS can also have some disadvantages that you need to be aware of prior to deciding on a service.

  • Legacy systems: Before moving into the cloud the older applications might need to be upgraded for the new infrastructure.
  • Training for internal staff: Employees may need to attend additional classes in order to manage and supervise IaaS.
  • Security: While you’re in control of your data, apps middleware, as well as the OS platform but you also have a responsibility to mitigate any the threat of security breaches that are emerging.

#2. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)

PaaS stands for Platform-as-a-Service. The platform, which can be access via the internet, provides developers with the framework and tools to create apps and software which are customized to the individual requirements of the company.

PaaS could be viewed as an improved variant of IaaS. Similar to IaaS the users are able to access servers and data centers, which are managed and maintained by a third party provider. But, they mostly utilize PaaS for the development of specific SaaS applications.

When to use PaaS?

There are several situations when a Platform-as-a-Service would be a good idea. For instance, if are working with multiple developers on the same development task, PaaS is a great option to simplify processes.

You may also incorporate other vendors and remain flexible throughout the whole process. PaaS is also a good option for you if your business requires custom-designed applications that need to be created and implemented within a short time.

PaaS delivery

PaaS delivery is akin to the method by which SaaS is offered. The one difference is that the customers do not have access to online software however, but rather an online platform that allows the development of software. Since the tools and environment are already in use software engineers and developers are able to concentrate on developing applications without worrying about other elements like storage systems, operation systems, and infrastructure.

PaaS benefits

Here are some of the most significant advantages that can be derived from using PaaS as cloud computing models.

  • Cost reduction: PaaS provides an affordable, cost-effective solution to develop and deploy new applications.
  • Ability to scale: PaaS service models can easily be adapted to a developer’s requirements.
  • Migration: In the case of PaaS it’s simple to move to the hybrid cloud.
  • Developers who code less: Your teams are required to code significantly less programming as compared to before.
  • Independence: PaaS frees up time because developers can modify apps without the need to keep the software up-to-date.

PaaS disadvantages

There are some disadvantages you must be aware of prior to signing up to the PaaS cloud computing system.

  • Security of data: Using servers that are controlled by third party vendors means there are a variety of security issues to be aware of.
  • Problems with runtime: Certain PaaS solutions aren’t designed to work with the framework or language that your team of developers is accustomed to.
  • Integrations: You may face certain difficulties in the integration of new applications since not every part of your old IT system was designed for cloud computing.
  • Limitations: Cloud-based operations that are customized typically include automated workflows that may not work in conjunction with PaaS solutions, which can limit the capabilities of your end-user.

#3. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

SaaS stands for Software-as-a-Service. Cloud-based applications are the most widely used form for cloud computing. They are available for use immediately and usually operate directly on the web browser of the user which means there’s no requirement for installation or downloads that look similar to existing solutions.

SaaS can be hosted by servers that are remote and completely managed, updated and maintained by a third party vendor. This means lesser responsibility, and lesser control over the user.

When to use SaaS?

SaaS is the ideal solution for small or new businesses who don’t have the resources to create the software they need. From e-commerce to projects that are short-term, SaaS is the quickest and most cost-effective solution if you don’t require a custom-designed applications. SaaS is also an excellent option for programs that are not frequently used, e.g. software for tax purposes.

SaaS delivery

SaaS is an entirely functional service that is accessible remotely through any internet browser which allows users to work from any location. The users can connect to the application via an API or dashboard, and can rely on the SaaS service for assistance with regards to middleware, bug fixes or support as well as any technical issues that might arise.

SaaS benefits

Software-as-a-Service provides several advantages to businesses and their teams.

  • Cost reduction: SaaS usually resides in a multi-tenant or shared environment. If managed properly, cost of licensing is lower when than traditional models.
  • Flexibility: SaaS solutions are easy to scale up or down depending on the specific requirements of your business.
  • Integration: A lot of SaaS products integrate with other SaaS products, which means you don’t need to purchase an additional server or program.
  • Upgrades Software Upgrades: With SaaS you immediately benefit from the latest software releases and updates.
  • User-friendliness: With no installing or downloading, SaaS is easy to use and is backed by best practices baked into the software.

SaaS disadvantages

If you are considering the SaaS cloud computing system, it is important to be aware of potential disadvantages.

  • Security of data: As massive amounts of sensitive information are being transferred to servers off-premise, security and compliance could be at risk.
  • Customization is limited: SaaS only allows for very little customization in relation to capabilities and features.
  • Interoperability: It could be difficult to connect SaaS with applications and services due to dependencies.
  • Less Control: Users have only a limited amount of control over features such as performance, downtime or the way their data is handled.
  • Wasted resources: In addition to the convenience and flexibility SaaS offers, an organization’s SaaS stack contains a myriad of redundant and under-utilized applications. The benefit of SaaS apps within an organization may decrease without the automated SaaS Management and SaaS optimizing procedures implemented.
  • Shadow IT: Staff typically buy or sign up to new SaaS offerings without knowing of IT. Unmanaged SaaS applications might have security vulnerabilities.

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS Market Share

Below, you will see how the market for cloud computing public share has changed over the past three years, as well as the forecast for 2022. The most popular solution within the cloud computing sector is SaaS with an 39.4 percent market share by 2021. then one of the fastest growing cloud services IaaS with 20.9 percent along with PaaS with 18.7 percent.

The pattern indicates that there’s a slight decline in SaaS as well as an increase in IaaS and PaaS that is expected to continue in the coming years. This is likely because companies are recognizing IaaS as being more flexible and flexible in comparison to ready-to-use SaaS solutions. However, SaaS will likely be the most popular and will remain the biggest cloud service model with regards to cloud-based spending.

Basic Differences Between IaaS, PaaS and SaaS 2

As you can see that every cloud computing system is suitable to different businesses and requirements. Each model has its pros and cons it’s crucial to determine which is most important to your company and you such as control, customisation, or ease of use. Once you’ve made a choice, you must choose a supplier that fits with the culture of your organization and, ultimately, improves your team’s productivity and effectiveness.

Alongside IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS There are different cloud computing options that may be interesting in your business: Monitoring as a Service (MaaS) and Function as-a-service (FaaS) and Communication as a service (CaaS). Each one is targeted at companies that require specific services to stay at the top of their game in a cloud-first economy.

Final Thoughts

IaaS, PaaS and SaaS all offer unique benefits. It’s important to understand the differences between these platforms so you can make a decision that will work best for your company. If you would like to learn more about how these platforms work, click here to read our latest blog post on the topic.

There are a lot of ways to understand the basic differences between IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. What is important is to be aware that not all cloud services are created equal. Some providers offer more flexibility than others, and it’s crucial for you to know what you need in order to choose the best cloud service provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is IaaS?

IaaS stands for infrastructure-as-a-service. It allows companies to buy items like storage and networking at a moment’s notice, without purchasing expensive hardware.
IaaS is extremely scalable and gives businesses greater flexibility than traditional on-premise solutions.
IaaS can be described as the base layer in cloud computing. The virtualized components accessible through the internet can be compared to the hardware and servers firms typically keep within their buildings.

What is PaaS?

PaaS stands for platform-as-a-service. The platform, which can be access via the internet, provides developers with the tools and framework to develop apps and programs which are customized to the individual requirements of the company.
PaaS is a smaller variation of IaaS. Similar to IaaS the users have access to servers as well as data centers, which are managed and maintained by a third-party service. But, they mostly utilize PaaS to build specific SaaS applications.

What is SaaS?

SaaS stands for software-as-a-service. These cloud-based offerings are the most widely used type that cloud computing can offer. They are fully functional and typically operate directly on the browser on the client’s computer that means there’s no requirement for installation or downloads.
SaaS runs on servers that are remote and completely controlled, updated, and maintained by a third party vendor. This means that there is lesser responsibility, however, it also means lesser control over the user.

What is the Main Difference in IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS?

IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS stand for infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, and software-as-a-service. IaaS offers a pay-as-you go model to storage, networking and virtualization. Additionally, PaaS includes even more tools like hardware and development tools that are accessible via the internet. In addition, with SaaS you can enjoy the most advanced level of vendor management through “renting” full software solutions.

IaaS vs PaaS

Infrastructure as a service gives you an abundance of control over the operating systems you use. It’s the basis of your cloud-based computing environment. With platform-as-a-service on the other hand, you can build apps without having to host them on-premise, so you benefit from more flexibility but get a little less control.

SaaS vs PaaS

Platform-as-a-service is used as a way to build new products on top of your already existing network. However, SaaS products are completely owned by the vendor and are ready to use by your team.

IaaS vs SaaS

With a software-as-a-service product, you are getting the most service from your third-party provider in terms of software management and maintenance. With infrastructure-as-a-service on the other hand, the provider only supplies and maintains core components such as servers or storage.

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