IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS: Differences, Examples, & How to Choose

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS

Introduction to IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

With the advent of digitization in every sector businesses and organizations are shifting their operations over the cloud. On-premise servers, databases, and IT infrastructures are now a thing of the past. In general cloud computing has three main models known as IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS. We will give you a brief idea about all models and their features so you can pick the best model suiting your business needs.

This cost reduction on heavy hardware and IT workforce save many bucks for the organization.

In addition to that cloud computing is easily accessible from anywhere which makes the system agile and efficient. Cloud is a virtual platform so be it many groups working on the same project can easily coordinate and share data over the internet.

Moreover scaling up or down on the cloud is far easier and with just some additional cost you can get extra storage and other features.

No doubt due to its flexibility and ease of use cloud computing is the savior in today’s world. The system is for all be it a small start-up to multimillionaire organizations. Everyone can pick up a plan and model as per their choice and budget.

What are the three major types of cloud computing?

Cloud computing offers three basic types of working models which are as follows:

1. IaaS

IaaS or Infrastructure as a service is a cloud model which provides a complete infrastructure and deployment environment to organizations. It is one of the fundamental models offering pay-as-you-go services and can be easily scaled up or down.

What does it include?

IaaS includes servers, networking, storage, virtual tools, and data centers. The business can have complete control over the servers via API or dashboard. Storage and additional tools can be bought as needed or when the company plans to scale up. 

How does it work?

IaaS provides the virtual infrastructure, and servers to the business without having to invest in hardware. The developers access the computing system from anywhere and also integrate existing apps or software in the system. 

Benefits of IaaS

  • With the pay-as-you-use model of IaaS, you need to pay only for the resource used, thus saving you from investing in extra unused space or resources.
  • IaaS gives complete control over the infrastructure via virtual servers so that they can manage their resources easily.
  • Easily scalable model.
  • High flexibility and you can add or eliminate any features as you like.
  • Access to the latest tools and technologies with minimal costs.
  • Reliable disaster recovery solutions.
  • Speedy and hassle-free setup of software development and testing environment.
  • Customizable model as per needs.

Disadvantages of IaaS

  • You need to check your existing system’s compatibility before integrating it with IaaS.
  • Increased Security threats due to virtual storage compared to on-premise ones.
  • Staff might require technical training to manage and access resources via a dashboard.

Examples of IaaS

Some of the most popular IaaS platforms are:

2. PaaS

PaaS or Platform as a service is a cloud model which provides a virtual platform to developers so that they can develop the application according to their business needs. The platform offers complete framework and software tools for app development.

What does it include?

In the PaaS model, the host or vendor manages servers, networking, storage, etc. while the consumer handles only the application development. 

How does it work?

It is like the SaaS model but the consumer doesn’t use pre-made apps on the internet. Instead, they get an online environment where they can make apps according to their needs.

This frees them from other management issues and in a pre-built development model app building is quick and easy.

Benefits of PaaS

  • Cost-friendly option for app development and deployment.
  • PaaS is super flexible you can easily migrate in a hybrid cloud model.
  • Time-saving as customizable apps can be developed without software maintenance issues.
  • Easy to scale up or down.
  • Easy to collaborate environment for multiple developers working on the same project.

Disadvantages of PaaS

  • Integration issues with existing IT setup.
  • While third party managing all the operations data is at a security risk.
  • Customized cloud functions might not run properly with the PaaS solution which can limit your business scope and capabilities for end-user operations.

Examples of PaaS

Some of the examples of PaaS are:

3. SaaS

Another model of cloud computing is SaaS. SaaS complete form is a software as a service. This cloud model provides the users with applications managed by a third party.

These applications are usually directly accessible on the web browser and may not require any additional installation or setup on the consumer’s side.

What does it include?

In this cloud model, almost everything from operating systems to servers, middleware to network management is controlled and managed by third-party vendors.

These service providers are responsible for storage, upgrades, maintenance, and security of data.

How does it work?

With easy-to-access applications on the web, the SaaS model relieves the company from the time-taking installation process. The staff may not require any extra technical training to use and manage these resources.

 The data is managed via one central location which is hosted on a server at some remote location. The organization is free from handling any upgrades and network issues. However, this might put the data at a higher security risk.

Benefits of SaaS

  • Reduced cost and licensing fee.
  • No need for downloads and installation on PCs.
  • Easy to scale.
  • Most of the SaaS applications are compatible with the model so no extra investment in additional integration software.
  • Automatic software upgrades.

Disadvantages of SaaS

  • Due to multi-user environment data sharing the security of the system is compromised.
  • Integration with existing apps might be an issue.
  • Very less user control over the functioning.
  • Minimal options for customization.

Examples of SaaS

Some SaaS examples are:

IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS

Model IaaS PaaS SaaS
Access Provides access to virtual storage and machines Access to development and deployment environment for developers Access to applications for end users
Security Sufficient security measures A bit compromised security system Very low security on shared servers
Requires technical training to manage Some level of basic technical knowledge is required to use the development environment and tools No technical knowledge required
User Control level Operating systems, runtime, middleware, and data of the application Application data control Nothing is in the user's control
Suitable for Network architects, researchers, and app developers Developer for creating apps and writing scripts. End users, for data sharing among consumers and company

How to choose the right model for you?

Choosing the right cloud computing model solely depends on your use and the company’s size. Like if you are looking for a future-friendly system that is easy to scale and cost-friendly too then IaaS or PaaS is good.

While for small projects, or initially for a start-up you can opt for SaaS.

But due to less flexibility and waste of resources in the SaaS model even for a smaller start-up PaaS is advisable.

A big company can implement hybrid systems in which they can rent complete infrastructure in IaaS and also use some quick operating apps for employees via SaaS or develop some on PaaS.


1. Who is the leader in Cloud computing?

Amazon web service is the leading cloud computing service provider.

2. Which model gives the best control and security?

IaaS is the most flexible model which gives maximum control to users and better security and customization option.

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