What is the Difference Between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS?

The cloud refers to data sharing software and service that runs on the internet.

IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are the three main categories of cloud computing. Let’s give a breakdown of the names.

“As-a-service” means cloud computing service and each of them covers a degree of management for you like infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and software as a service. So what is the difference between IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS?

As a leading SaaS application development company, we have researched and gathered detailed information about each type of cloud computing model.

In this guide, you will understand the differences between the three cloud computing models and their benefits. It will help you create a cloud computing environment that meets all your needs.

Let us start with the differences.

8 Differences Between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

Here are 8 core differences between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS cloud services.

DefinitionThe IaaS is a cloud application service that allows users to pay for the services they use. This could include storage, networking or application development tools.PaaS a cloud-based service provides businesses with the hardware, and software tools that can be accessed through the web.Software as a Service that helps businesses with vendor management that can enable them with complete solutions to build a software application.
Target AudienceThe network architectsThe developersThe end users of an application
Model TypeThis model provides the architects with networking resources, virtualization technology, and other infrastructure resources that can enable storage, network commissioning, and connect with the on-premises data center.This model is built for the developers. It provides developers with testing and development environments that can help them create cloud-based software solutions.This service model by cloud providers allows businesses to host their own apps and make it available to the end user.
Technical ExpertiseYou need a technical understanding of the cloud computing environment to build virtual servers or collaborate with on-premises infrastructure.Developers need basic knowledge to set up the cloud computing infrastructure.The SaaS providers will handle all the things, from setting up to delivery. The users need not worry about these details.
User Controls AvailableThe operating system, Runtime, Middleware, and application data.Application dataNA
ExamplesvCloud Express, Amazon Web ServicesFacebook, Google Compute EngineHubSpot, Trello, Canva
Enterprise SolutionsAWS Private Cloud Service ProvidersMicrosoft AzureIBM Cloud
Security RequirementsCheck the policies of the cloud service provider to determine how they handle sensitive data.The developer needs to incorporate additional security to ensure there are no threats to the data.The SaaS provider should confirm the security policy for the virtual and physical servers.

Now that we have seen the differences between the three cloud computing service models, let’s discuss each one in-depth and in detail.

Infrastructure as a service- An Overview

The IaaS cloud computing services model provides you with the essential components that can help with computing, storage, and handling network resources on-demand. It is a pay-as-you-go model.

When you move to the IaaS model, you reduce maintenance, disaster recovery, and other data center costs. With the hardware and other infrastructure costs going to nil, you get more flexibility to scale your network requirements to meet new business needs.

With this cloud model, you can cut down on the costs and complexities involved in managing the physical infrastructure for business software solutions. The resources that you add to your infrastructure are treated as a service. You pay for the services/components you add.

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Now that you have an idea of what is IaaS, read below the benefits of using infrastructure as a service.

5 Benefits of IaaS

Below are the 5 benefits of using IaaS.

  1. Reduce Costs: The overhead costs are substantially reduced by moving the on-premise data centers to virtual. You must only pay for the services that you avail.
  2. Easy to Scale: This cloud computing model is scalable. You can automatically increase/decrease the resources with minimal management requirements.
  3. Availability of Applications: The applications are always available as the data centers are virtually set up. The business can choose from multiple data centers and cloud computing solutions. They can ensure lower latency and better availability that can enhance the customer’s experience and improve customer retention for the business.
  4. Improve Recovery Solutions: With the IaaS cloud model, businesses can improve their disaster recovery solutions in case of an outage without spending a lot of time or effort on getting the extra tech staff or adding new resources.
  5. Fast Access: It helps the users access the applications with greater speed. Businesses can get their apps up and running within minutes of setting up the infrastructure.

To make your understanding easier, we have mentioned below 3 top examples of IaaS.

3 Best Examples of IaaS

Here are the best 3 examples of infrastructure as a service.

  • Amazon Web Services: Backed by Amazon, this cloud service provider can help with on-demand computing and delivery solutions. They offer recurring billing services. Businesses can manage the storing and delivering of content.
  • Microsoft Azure: This is a cloud service model based on IaaS to create, test, and manage applications using Microsoft data centers.
  • Google: It is a strong IaaS platform that allows businesses to manage their enterprise data for better efficiency.It can run on platforms such as Windows, Oracle, and SAP

The above benefits and examples might sound easy to understand the IaaS concept. But do you know when to use IaaS? Let’s find out.

When to Use IaaS?

Businesses of all types and sizes can benefit from the IaaS cloud model. However, below are the several situations in which IaaS can be useful for organizations.

  • To quickly scale computing resources.
  • When its the time to reduce capital expenditure.
  • When there’s a need to increase agility.
  • If you want to reduce the burden of infrastructure management.
  • If you need to access specialized resources.

This was all about IaaS. Now let’s move on to the next category of the cloud computing model.

Platform as a service- An Overview

Platform as a Service is a framework that allows businesses to create custom applications. This model provides the developers with the tools to create apps and software solutions. However, it doesn’t offer help in delivering the software online.

What is PaaS?

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a cloud-native development and deployment environment. This model offers you a range of PaaS tools that can help with your development project. You can build anything from a simple application to an advanced AI-based solution with the tools.

PaaS allows organizations to focus on building and managing applications instead of worrying about the hardware and software infrastructure.

Now that you know what PaaS is, read below the benefits of using a platform as a service.

4 Benefits of PaaS

Here are the four key benefits of using PaaS.

  1. Quick Development: PaaS tools require minimal to nil technical knowledge for setting up and using. Developers can get started faster with these tools.
  2. In-built Software Components: There are several software components that help developers with application development. It includes aspects such as workflow, services-related features, and security that can enable quicker releases.
  3. Less Resources Needed: The cloud model allows the developers to include new functionality and capabilities without adding more resources to their team.
  4. Easy Collaboration: The cloud delivery model allows teams to collaborate and jointly work on app development without being in the same room or country. It enhances remote contributions.

Did you ever know that Google App Engine is one of the best examples of PaaS? Well, read further to know about Google App Engine and other PaaS examples.

4 Examples of PaaS

Check out the best examples of the PaaS model.

  • Google App Engine: You can host, build and test the software applications for both web and mobile in the cloud-based data centers backed by Google
  • Heroku: Heroku comprises all the tools needed to build, manage and maintain customer-centric mobile and web app solutions. It accelerates app development and supports the developers.
  • Apprenda: An amazing PaaS tool that helps businesses and developers collaborate to produce an incredible app solution. It also helps with app deployment.
  • Kinsta: Kinsta is an all-in-one PaaS cloud model that improves applications, databases, and other hosting solutions. With the available resources, businesses can build and deploy their apps in minutes.

You might be familiar with the above examples but are you aware of where to use PaaS? Let’s find out.

When to Use PaaS?

Platform as a service is an excellent delivery model that you can use when several developers are collaborating to build and test a software application. This can be used to build your custom SaaS application. If you don’t want to use the tools, PaaS can also be used for networking, storage, and virtual data centre abilities. It can help host your application on a third-party cloud.

Now let us learn about the most commonly used cloud computing platform- SaaS.

Software as a service- An Overview

Software as a Service is one of the most popular forms of cloud models. The SaaS applications are cloud-based solutions that can be used on the client’s web browser. These solutions don’t require any type of setup or download.

What is SaaS?

Software as a Service is a cloud delivery model used to help businesses access applications over the Internet. The cloud model allows businesses to access their solutions without having to manage the hardware and software infrastructure.

Several types of SaaS applications include web apps, on-demand software solutions, and hosted applications. The software application will be hosted on the vendor’s chosen cloud service provider and will be accessed virtually.

There are plans that are optimized according to the defined features. The user will pay for the plan they have chosen and will get the pre-determined features as part of the cloud model. The user will not cater to the security, accessibility, or performance demands; all these aspects are controlled by the vendor.

There are majorly two types of SaaS models:

1. Horizontal SaaS Applications: The horizontal model is adopted when the SaaS business caters to a wide range of industries and business types.

For example, Salesforce can be used by diverse industries, businesses, and sizes to scale their resources and enhance their productivity

2. Vertical SaaS Applications: This SaaS application is designed for a particular industry or business niche. The model is devised keeping in mind the pain points of the industry or niche.

There are various advantages of using the software as a service. Let us study the three core benefits.

3 Core Benefits of SaaS

There are 3 key benefits associated with SaaS solutions.

  1. No Set-up Required: You don’t need to download the SaaS solutions to use them. They are among the ready-to-use solutions.
  2. No Maintenance Needed: There is no need to upgrade, manage or maintain these solutions. These aspects are controlled by the cloud service provider.
  3. No Storage Space Required: These solutions don’t use up the disk or storage space. They are virtually accessed, which makes it easy for you to use and access them.

Now let’s move on to the best examples of the SaaS model.

Examples of SaaS

  • Chargebee: This is a SaaS-based recurring billing solution that is designed to enhance your billing capabilities. You can easily set up recurring billing with this tool
  • Dropbox: This tool is majorly used to collaborate with remote resources. You can share files, and documents of any size through this SaaS application
  • HubSpot: This is a marketing, sales, and customer support tool that helps with all the tasks and automates the different workflows

With the above examples, you might have surely understood how SaaS works as these examples are used by many individuals today. if you want to learn more you can also read our post on best SaaS application examples. But if you want to build a SaaS application, are you aware of when to use it? Let’s check.

When to Use SaaS?

SaaS applications are best fit for startups who don’t have the resources or budget to create their application. It is an excellent option for companies that want to integrate an off-the-shelf solution.

For example, if they need live chat solutions, they can use SaaS applications and improve conversational marketing.

This was all about understanding each of the cloud computing models in detail. Let us move to our next piece of information that shows the pros and cons of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.

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Pros and Cons of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

Let’s get a look at the pros and cons of each model.

Pros and Cons of the IaaS Model

Here is the list of 4 advantages and limitations of IaaS.

  • Increased flexibility as you pay for what you use
  • Automate the infrastructure deployment including storage and networks
  • Get complete control and visibility into your cloud infrastructure
  • Ease of scaling your resources to meet growing demands
  • Migrating legacy systems to the cloud with an IaaS model can be quite tedious and risky
  • You need some technical backing to use IaaS models
  • Staff training is mandatory to access the IaaS model
  • You will be responsible for increasing security and reducing vulnerabilities to your application

Pros and Cons of PaaS Model

Here is the list of 3 advantages and limitations of PaaS

  • Reduces the cost of managing and maintaining the development and deployment infrastructure
  • The model can be scaled to meet growing developer needs
  • Easy to migrate to hybrid clouds
  • You may face runtime issues for the languages that aren’t part of the cloud model
  • Integrating legacy systems with cloud-based applications can be challenging
  • Customized apps may not have workflows that fit the PaaS model requirements

Pros and Cons of SaaS Model

Here is the list of 4 advantages and limitations of SaaS

  • No setup or download required
  • New software releases and upgrades are added in real-time
  • The license costs are less and you save a lot of your money
  • It can put your data and compliances to risk as a large amount of data is shared with third-party vendors
  • Integrating with other in-house apps can be challenging
  • You have less control on the functionality, performance, and downtime of the application

IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS- Which is the Best?

IaaS model, PaaS solutions, and SaaS apps can set the pace for business modernization. Each of these delivery models is exquisitely tuned to meet the growing requirements of your business.

IaaS provides the networking, storage, and infrastructure requirements posed by your business. In addition to the accessories offered by IaaS, PaaS provides developers with fulfilling development, testing, and deployment environments.

SaaS is a great way to access virtual applications and software solutions without downloading the tools, developing the solution, or setting up the infrastructure.

Each model has its share of use cases, benefits, and disadvantages. You can choose a cloud computing model that accelerates your transformation and enables your business growth.

Space-O is a leading software development company with proficiency in all three cloud computing models. You can partner with us to develop and deliver the solution that your business needs for better virtualization and increased accessibility.

Bhaval Patel

Written by

Bhaval Patel is a Director (Operations) at Space-O Technologies. He has 20+ years of experience helping startups and enterprises with custom software solutions to drive maximum results. Under his leadership, Space-O has won the 8th GESIA annual award for being the best mobile app development company. So far, he has validated more than 300 app ideas and successfully delivered 100 custom solutions using the technologies, such as Swift, Kotlin, React Native, Flutter, PHP, RoR, IoT, AI, NFC, AR/VR, Blockchain, NFT, and more.