SaaS vs. PaaS vs. IaaS

19/06/2024 20mins
Prasobh V Nair


Whether it is small businesses or large enterprises, cloud is today's need. After all, cloud is a broad concept and covers a lot of aspects of online world. Three main building blocks of cloud computing are.

  • IaaS
  • PaaS
  • SaaS

These models do have some features in common. For instance, users can store data online no matter which model they select. Let's get started with each model separately.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Historically, most IT systems that were provided to customers were delivered on an on-premise basis where you physically purchase the license, and maintain all on your own. When SaaS, also known as cloud application services was developed, it allows users to run existing online applications which are managed by third-party source. Good thing about SaaS is that client doesn't need to do any installation from their side. Many businesses find this model quite beneficial, which allows them to simply streamline their maintenance and support, while no need worry about managing technical issues. SaaS also saves time and money you spent on tiresome tasks like installing, managing and upgrading software. All of this boils down to the fact that, you can spend more of your time on important matters within organization.

Who can opt for SaaS?

  • If you are a startup or a small venture who wants to be part of ecommerce world quickly and don't have time for server issues.
  • Applications can be used that are not in demand such as tax software.

Examples of SaaS

  • Google Apps
  • Dropbox
  • Salesforce
  • Cisco WebEx
  • Concur
  • GoToMeeting

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS provides environment and tools which users can employ to create new online applications. Enterprise or third-party vendor usually manages everything from servers, to storage and networking, and developers handle the management of applications. Good part is developers would be able to focus only on code and customers, not server and software configuration. If you want to launch your own customized applications, then PaaS is a good option. It makes process of apps deployment simple and cost effective. Since it is built on virtualization technology, it means you can scale up or down as your business grows.

Examples of PaaS

  • AWS Elastic Beanstalk
  • Windows Azure
  • Heroku
  • Google App Engine
  • Apache Stratos
  • OpenShift

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS allows users to run applications they please on cloud hardware of their own choice. This service offers the computing architecture and infrastructure and covers all computing needs but in a virtual environment. Due to this, multiple users can have access to it. IaaS works well for large organizations that want to attain full control over their infrastructures, but are looking to invest only on something that is actually consumed. Enhanced scalability and flexibility are major perks of this model.

Few examples are:

  • DigitalOcean
  • Rackspace
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Cisco Metapod
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Google Compute Engine (GCE)


Businesses can either use these cloud computing models individually or as a hybrid combination. Which kind of cloud computing model to choose, depends on your business goals and requirements.


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