IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS

iaas vs saas vs paas

Whether a small startup or a worldwide corporation, businesses all over the globe are aware of the benefits of cloud services. It is an expansive concept that can be utilized in a vast number of ways spanning the world wide web. Breaking into the world of cloud services for infrastructure, deployment, application, or anything in between will require in-depth knowledge and understanding of the advantages and various perks of Iaas vs Paas vs Saas.

Cloud services are divided into three common categories: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Each of these platforms features its own detailed benefits. In order for you to choose the most useful model to meet your organization’s specific needs, you will need to familiarize yourself with Iaas vs Paas vs Saas and what each one has to offer.

Common Service-Based Models

Infrastructure as a Service: Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), DigitalOcean, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Linode, Cisco Metapod, Rackspace.

Platform as a Service: Windows Azure, Apache Stratos, Force.com, Heroku, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Google App Engine, OpenShift.

Software as a Service: Dropbox, Google Apps, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Salesforce, Concur.

Infrastructure as a Service

Infrastructure as a Service is comprised of automated computer resources which are extremely scalable. The Infrastructure as a Service platform provides complete self-service availability for the user’s convenience when it comes to networking, storage of information, files, etc, computers, and many more services. This makes it possible for various organizations to provide for their needs by accessing resources whenever and however they are needed, eliminating the need for the often time-consuming necessity and expense of purchasing hardware to meet these needs.


This platform makes available the infrastructure of Cloud Computing in the form of operating systems (OS), servers. storage, and networks via virtualization technology. Generally, the business accesses these cloud servers by an API or dashboard. The IaaS platform provides clients with control of the whole infrastructure, providing all of the abilities and technology that would be afforded by a formal data center, yet without the need for constant physical management and upkeep. This platform’s clients enjoy direct access to their storage and servers but with the added convenience of having everything outsourced via a cloud virtual data center.

Unlike the other two platforms, Infrastructure as a Service users oversee features such as runtime, applications, data, OSes, and middleware. IaaS providers do oversee the networking, servers, visualization, hard drives, and storage. There are also providers which make available further options and services beyond the visualization layer. These include but are not limited to message queuing and databases.


The Infrastructure as a Service platform provides a number of advantages, including:

  • It is highly scalable
  • Clients have total infrastructure access and control
  • Resources are purchased on an as-needed basis
  • Rated the top cloud computing model for flexibility
  • Provides ease of networking, processing power, server access and use, and automated storage deployment
  • There is no need to purchase excess hardware as it can be purchased based on use and need


For those who are considering choosing this platform, these are some of the characteristics to look for:

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  • The platform components are flexible and dynamic
  • Highly scalable services and features
  • Resources can be accessed as a service
  • Pricing is based on use, not fixed pricing for unnecessary or excessive services
  • A single hardware component generally features multiple users
  • Users enjoy total control and complete access to organizations via the infrastructure

When to use

Along with the other two platforms, Infrastructure as a Service is the best platform choice in certain situations. It is the perfect choice for small companies or startups because it isn’t necessary to spend time or money working to create software or hardware. For larger organizations that are interested in buying only what is actually used or needed while having total control over their infrastructure or applications, this platform is ideal. Fast-growing organizations will benefit from this platform because there is no need to use specific hardware or software as the needs of your organization evolve. Also, due to the fact that there is a great deal of flexibility when it comes to scaling up or down, this platform is very helpful in assisting with determining what demands will be required of a new application.


There are a number of limitations associated with all three platforms. Those specific to this one include, among others:

  • Internal Training and Resources – Further training and resources are often necessary in order for users to learn effective management of the infrastructure. Users will be responsible for organizational regularity, data safety and security, and information backup. However, ineffective and inadequate infrastructure control has made managing and monitoring resources hard in the absence of in-house resource availability and lack of sufficient training.
  • Security Issues – Although the user is in constant control of the middleware, apps, data, and OS platform, there is still the risk of security issues originating from the host or other associated VMs. Because of this, data communication between the infrastructure and the host may be exposed to unauthorized parties.

Platform as a Service

Platform as a Service is a cloud platform service which provides cloud operations for specific software but is primarily used for applications. It provides a framework that developers can expand upon in order to build customized applications. The network, storage, and servers are overseen by the user or a third-party provider. The developers are able to oversee application management.


Similar to the other platforms, this one features a platform for the creation of software rather than delivering it via the internet. Its web delivery provides users with the freedom to focus on creating software without having to be concerned about infrastructure, software updates, storage, or operating systems. It provides organizations with the ability to design and build applications that will be integrated into the platform using specialized software components. These applications are known as middleware and are highly available and scalable as they develop specific cloud characteristics.


Several characteristics define this as a cloud service, such as:

  • Multiple users have access to the development application.
  • The platform is created using virtualization technology. This means that as your business evolves, resources can be scaled up or down with ease.
  • Assistance is provided by a number of services for the creation, testing, and launching of apps.
  • Integrated databases and web services for convenience.


This platform offers a number of advantages for organizations of all sizes, including:

  • Highly scalable
  • Readily available
  • Simple, cost-effective means for the development and sharing of apps
  • Business policy is automated
  • Reduced coding
  • Simple hybrid model migration
  • Developers are able to create customized apps without the need to maintain software

When to Use

This platform is beneficial and highly recommended, even necessary, in many situations. PaaS delivers excellent flexibility and speed if several developers are working on the same project or if other developers are involved as well. It is perfect for those who wish to develop and customize their own applications. This platform is handy when it comes to simplifying the difficulties that can arise during the rapid creation and deployment of an app. The PaaS model is also widely praised for its cost-reduction abilities.


Limitations related to this platform include:

  • Issues With Runtime – Along with limitation concerns related to certain services and apps, it is possible that this platform may lack optimization for the user’s specific frameworks and languages of choice. Some framework versions may not work in top form with this service or may not be available at all. This means that some users may be unable to create customized dependencies with this program.
  • Security Regarding Data – Although users are able to run their own services and apps, security risks, unfortunately, do exist with regard to the data stored in the third-party cloud servers that are controlled by vendors. These security issues also mean that users may be unable to access services with certain hosting policies.

Software as a Service

The cloud application service is the one that is most often chosen by businesses within the cloud market. It utilizes the web to deliver third-party, vendor-managed applications to users. The majority of apps require no installation or downloads by the client as they are provided via a direct web browser. This web-delivery model means that there is no need for IT technicians to download and install applications on various computers. Vendors are able to oversee any possible technical problems such as middleware, data, storage, and servers. This makes it possible for organizations to streamline support and maintenance.


This platform delivers a number of benefits to users and organizations by decreasing the amount of time and expense associated with managing, installing, and upgrading any necessary software. This means that more time can be spent on more important matters within the business.


The Software as a Service model can be identified by the following traits:

  • Internet-accessible
  • Remote-server hosted
  • A centralized location oversees all management
  • The user does not have to oversee hardware/software updates.

When to Use

These situations make the Software as a Service platform the ideal choice for your organization:

  • Collaboration on short-term projects
  • Apps that provide both mobile and web access
  • Best for seldom-used apps, like tax software
  • For a startup or small business that does not have the time to waste dealing with software or server issues, and that is looking to launch e-commerce quickly.


Limitations related to this platform include:

  • Insufficient Integration Support – A large number of businesses have a need for deep integrations which provide on-premises services, apps, and data, and this platform may provide only limited support in these areas.
  • Limited Features – Because this platform’s apps are frequently in a standardized form, choosing certain features may require a tradeoff or a compromise with regard to performance, cost, security, or other policies. Also, switching services or vendors may not be viable due to vendor security concerns, costs, or lock-in.


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