IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS – Best Cloud Computing Service Model

Updated 02 Jun 2023
Published 18 Apr 2022
Satyam Chaturvedi 2836 Views

The world is changing rapidly with the emergence of innovative technologies. Businesses are also facing extreme stress to match the ever-changing technology landscape while maintaining their IT infrastructure.

Thanks to cloud computing services and its models like IaaS (infrastructure as a service), SaaS (software as a service), and PaaS (platform as a service), enterprises are now better equipped with capabilities to move beyond the conventional on-premises IT infrastructure, and avail seamless scalability and compute processing capability.

Utilizing the most suitable tool needed can help any business succeed. And if you’re not very adept with this highly technical stuff, relying on experts would be your best bet.

In this blog, we will discuss the nitty-gritty of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS in Computing and define their fundamental differences, common use cases, primary characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks, that will help you to choose the right model for your organization.

Before going any further, let’s understand the term Cloud Computing Service.

What is Cloud Computing Service?

Cloud Computing Service is a model that offers an on-demand and convenient network access to a pool of shared computing resources. this may include servers, databases, data storage, networking, tools, and other resources that can be easily accessed via the Internet.

 Cloud Computing Service

Today more and more organizations are migrating from traditional on-premises infrastructure to cloud services. The global Cloud computing market has been increasing with each passing day.

Many organizations have seen how cloud computing can benefit them and have seen incredible advantages in terms of cost-saving, scalability, flexibility, and security.

But to better deliver various cloud computing services, you need reliable cloud servers hosted in data centers so authorized users can have unfettered access to perform their responsibilities.

As per the Markets and Markets prediction, the Cloud computing market may reach $623.3 billion by 2023

Cloud computing market may reach $623.3 billion by 2023

Below you can see ZDNet’s forecast for the forecast for IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS revenue.

Why demand for Cloud Computing is growing?

As per Grand View Research, we have the following reasons for the immense popularity of Cloud Computing :

  • Rising digital transformation
  • Growing penetration of Internet and mobile devices
  • Upward consumption of big data, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
  • Fast disaster recovery, because backup solutions are in place, you can ensure business continuity in the event of any security breaches.   

Let’s discuss the popular cloud computing models: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. 

What is IaaS?

Cloud infrastructure service, which is also known as IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) consists of highly automated and scalable compute resources.

It is an end-to-end self-service for monitoring and accessing computers, servers, storage, networking, and various other services. IaaS enables organizations to provision resources as-needed or on-demand instead of having to purchase the hardware outright.

The well-known examples of IaaS are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Compute Engine, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace, and Cisco Meta Cloud.

To better understand this concept, imagine you’re building a house. You don’t need to create electricity, water, and telephones infrastructure. You only need to use the existing infrastructure and pay for it. With these services, you can focus on other important things like caring for your family and maintaining your household.  

IaaS Delivery Model

IaaS offers cloud computing infrastructure, which comprises servers, operating systems, storage, and network, via virtualization technology. These cloud resources are usually available to an organization via an API or a Dashboard.

IaaS offers the same capabilities and technologies as a traditional data center, and it enables an organization and its users to gain complete control over the infrastructure, without having to physically manage and maintain all of it.

IaaS clients can access their computing resources directly, but it is made available to them via a “virtual data center” in the cloud. As opposed to PaaS or SaaS, IaaS clients are accountable for managing various aspects such as operating systems, applications, runtime, data, and middleware.

However, the IaaS service providers manage the hardware devices such as servers, storage, hard drives, virtual machines, and networking. Some IaaS service providers do offer additional services such as Message Queuing or Database.

cloud computing service

IaaS Characteristics

A typical IaaS offers the following characteristics:

  • Services are exceedingly scalable
  • Computing Resources are made available as a service
  • The resource cost depends on the consumption
  • Multiple users can access a single piece of hardware
  • The organization holds seamless control of the infrastructure
  • Broad network access provides accessibility to anyone with the internet

IaaS Cloud Model Pros and Cons

Pros of IaaS Cloud Model

On-demand scalability – It offers robust server, networking, and storage technologies to meet the dynamic demands of an enterprise. In event of any need, additional resources can be provisioned to scale the capacity of your infrastructure.

Operational Efficiency – IaaS allows organizations to access the hardware, compute resources, and applications immediately and regularly. As a result, your team and users can view and access the data or services on the go anytime.

Seamless Reliability – It offers higher availability and reliability as it prevents the loss of services due to an event of any service disruption. The infrastructure’s workload is shared across numerous servers and data centers to ensure seamless availability.

Cost-Effective – While using IaaS, you need to pay for the resource via usage-based metrics, which means pay only for those infrastructure services which you have used. It reduces your operational expense to a great extent.

These advantages are what many customers look for in a service. And it’s no wonder Amazon has become the number one in its industry and is still undefeated today.

Cons of IaaS Cloud Model

Lack of flexibility – IaaS service providers manage and upgrade both cloud-based software and hardware. If the services you are working with are not updated in time, then the productivity and efficiency of your organization could be compromised.

Challenges with legacy systems – It allows you to deploy and run the legacy apps, but you may face issues if cloud infrastructure is not compatible with your legacy apps. It is recommended to upgrade your legacy app before you migrate it to the cloud.

Internal training is required- To manage the infrastructure effectively, your team will have to keep learning the methods to manage infrastructure and services. Otherwise, the process of managing and monitoring the resources could become too complex.

Vendor Lock-In Issues – Once you are working with a Cloud Service provider, you are locked in with its cloud infrastructure and services. It becomes extremely challenging to move to another vendor due to obvious reasons.

Dependency on the provider – This service’s availability and performance depend on the provider, so any outages or issues may impact how you deliver your service to your customers.

IaaS – Use Cases

You must select IaaS if :

  • You are a small organization or a startup with a budget and technical constraints to build your infrastructure.
  • You are utilizing big data and business intelligence. IaaS enables you to deal with massive workloads due to its unprecedented compatibility with all renowned business intelligence tools. It helps you to perform data analysis, predict industry-specific trends and develop innovative services and products.
  • Your organization is witnessing exponential growth. An IaaS solution allows you to make necessary hardware and software provisioning to meet your emerging business needs.
  • You do not have exact requirements for your apps, the resources required, and prospects. IaaS comes with seamless scalability and flexibility, which allows you to higher degree of scalability and flexibility to host any type of application.

What is SaaS?

SaaS (Software as a Service) is also known as cloud app services. It is indeed the most utilized cloud service model for businesses in the market.

SaaS delivers the application and other services via Internet, which are developed and managed by a 3rd party vendor, to its users.

SaaS Development Services

Most of the SaaS applications don’t need any download or installation, as they run directly through the web browser.

The well-known examples of SaaS are Salesforce, Dropbox, Zendesk, DocuSign, Google Workspace, and Oracle Fusion Applications.

SaaS Delivery Model

SaaS works on a unique delivery model, where your IT staff doesn’t need to download or install the applications and services on an individual system.

With SaaS, the cloud service vendors are responsible for managing all the technical issues, such as servers, storage, data, and middleware, that result in streamlined support and maintenance for your business.

SaaS Characteristics

A typical SaaS offers the following characteristics:

  • Applications are managed from a central location
  • Applications are hosted on a remote server
  • Applications can be accessed over the internet
  • Users are not supposed to manage hardware or software upgrades
  • No need to download and install an application

SaaS Cloud Model Pros and Cons

Pros of SaaS Cloud Model

Unprecedented Accessibility – This is unarguably the biggest benefit of SaaS cloud computing model, as you can access applications from anywhere, all you need is a mobile device or a computer with a browser and an active internet connection.

Time-saving – As there is no need to download or install an application, your technical support staff will be freed from monotonous tasks related to installing or updating the software, and they can use this time for other productive work.

Cost reduction – Here the provider is accountable for managing and fixing the technical issues. They are the ones who also take care of application maintenance, security issues, and compliances. This way, you can reduce operational expenses.

Off-the-shelf solutions – SaaS service providers offer out-of-the-box solutions that are very easy to configure and use. You can avail both basic packages and complex solutions that can cater to your business needs.

Cons of SaaS Cloud Model

Regulations Compliance Issues – It is challenging to comply with industry-specific regulatory guidelines when your business-critical data is kept in the vendor’s data center. These concerns must be addressed by the cloud service provider before going ahead.

Integration support issues – To streamline your business workflows, you must integrate the SaaS with your existing apps and tools. SaaS service providers may offer limited support, which means you have to arrange resources to perform integration-specific tasks.

Lack of Data Security – This is one of the main reasons why some companies are hesitant to switch to the software-as-a-service model. Always keep this in mind before entrusting a third-party service provider with your sensitive information.

Performance issues – Here apps are usually hosted on remote data centers, which leads to poor performance if we compare them with locally hosted applications. You must use a fast and reliable internet connection along with performance management tools to monitor your app’s performance.

SaaS – Use Cases

You must select SaaS if : 

  • You are a small organization or a startup that wants to launch an e-commerce project in no time. You have less time to fix the server and other issues.
  • You will utilize the application off and on.
  • You are developing a short-term project that needs rapid collaboration between the different teams.
  • Your application needs both mobile and web access.

What is PaaS?

PaaS (Platform as a Service) is also known as Cloud platform services. It offers cloud components and frameworks to the applications so that apps can perform their intended functions.

paas cloud computing service

PaaS also provides a robust framework for software developers that they can work upon and develop highly customized business and enterprise-grade applications.

In PaaS, all the computing resources such as servers, virtual machines, networking, and storage can be managed by 3rd party vendors or an enterprise itself, while developers can stay focused on building and managing the applications.

PaaS Delivery Model

The PaaS service delivery model is very much like the SaaS. However, it provides a platform for software development instead of delivering an application over the internet.

The PaaS platform is delivered via the internet which gives the developers adequate flexibility to remain concentrated on crafting the software without having to be concerned about the software updates, operating systems, infrastructure, or storage.

PaaS enables organizations to design and build apps using middleware, which is highly available and scalable as they imbibe various cloud-specific characteristics.

The most popular examples of PaaS are Windows Azure, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Google App Engine, OpenShift, and Heroku.

software development company

PaaS Characteristics

A typical PaaS offers the following characteristics:

  • Developed on virtualization technology, computing resources can seamlessly scale up or down as per the business needs.
  • Offers a plethora of services that assist with software development, testing, deployment, and management of applications.
  • It is accessible to multiple users via a unified development application.
  • It integrates Databases and Web services.
  • Offers a strong yet flexible Workflow engine and capabilities.

PaaS Cloud Model Pros and Cons

Pros of SaaS Cloud Model

Cost-effectiveness – PaaS solutions ensure you do not need to develop applications from the scratch and manage their deployment activities. It is a brilliant option for your organization if you have budgetary and resource constraints.

Quick launch – PaaS’s inbuilt backend infrastructure components enable you to build prototypes and applications rapidly. It allows you to launch your enterprise applications in no time. The early launch will in turn enhances the prospects of your business.

Easy Maintenance – PaaS handles the backend functions such as developing, upgrading, and configuring the servers, databases, and networking components. Hence, you don’t have to spend moolah on maintenance-related tasks.

Less development time – PaaS service providers provide you with direct access to numerous development frameworks, libraries, tools, and templates. All these components accelerate the entire software development process.

Cons of SaaS Cloud Model

Security Challenges – As all the applications and other sensitive business data reside inside the cloud service provider’s end, it may pose a security threat for your organization in event of any security breach.

Customization issues with legacy systems – You may face compatibility issues with your legacy apps, which lead to low performance. To avoid that, you must perform configuration and customization changes to make app compatible with the PaaS solution, which attracts cost and time.

Changes at the Vendor’s end – Any infrastructure changes performed by the PaaS service vendor may put a negative impact on your services. It is important to constantly engage with your PaaS vendor and keep a close eye on the changes it is performing to prevent any adverse impact.

Runtime issues – Sometimes the PaaS Solution is not customized for the programming framework or languages you are intended to use. It may impact your services if these issues are not fixed in advance.

PaaS – Use Cases

You must select PaaS if : 

  • You are into Custom Software development.
  • Multiple software developers are engaged in the same project. In such a scenario, the PaaS solutions offer additional speed and flexibility to the entire software development process.
  • You are planning to adopt the Agile Methodology. PaaS enables you to resolve software development and deployment-related issues.
  • Your organization builds mobile applications. With PaaS solutions, you can easily develop cross-platform mobile apps. These applications can be adapted for any operating system, device type, and hardware platform.

Differences between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

Parameter IaaS PaaS SaaS
Stands for Infrastructure as a service Platform as a service Software as a service
Used by Used by Infrastructure and Network Architects Used by Developers Generally used by the end-users
Access It provides access to computing resources like virtual machines and storage. It allows users to access the run time environment for their software development and deployment tools. It allows end-users to access the intended services
Service Model It offers visualized computing tools and resources over the internet It delivers resources and tools for application development It hosts software and services and makes them available for the end-users
Cloud Services AWS and vCloud Express  Google search engine and Facebook Google applications, Microsoft Office 365, Facebook
Enterprise Services AWS virtual private cloud Microsoft Azure. IBM Cloud Analysis
Outsourced Cloud Services Salesforce Gigaspaces and Force.com IBM Terremark and AWS

Cloud computing services

IaaS vs SaaS vs PaaS – The future

We are pretty much sure that now you have an adequate acquaintance of these three Cloud computing service models. These models define and direct the utilization of Cloud computing services for your organization.

IaaS, PaaS, and PaaS are getting immensely popular due to the numerous features and benefits they offer. Let’s take a glimpse at the below figures given by the DevSquad research, that prove the importance of these cloud computing models :

  • By 2020, approximately 73% of organizations have moved their traditional systems to SaaS.
  • Around 86% of enterprises using SaaS products have observed enhanced employee engagement.
  • The PaaS market is to observe a staggering CAGR of 24.17% from 2019 to 2023 and will get valued at 28.4 billion USD by the end of 2023, according to a report by Market Reports World.
Global Platform as Service (PaaS) Market 2019-2023
Source: Technavio

XaaS: Everything as a Service

XaaS is a new buzzword that has been seen more frequently in the technology world these days. XaaS is known as “Everything as a Service”, and it refers to the highly responsive, data-driven, and individualized offerings and products that are entirely controlled and managed by the end customers.

The data is captured from everyday IoT-powered devices like thermostats and smartphones. By utilizing the data generated over the cloud, enterprises can innovate rapidly, sustain their sales workflows, and enhance their customer relationships.

XaaS is an important catalyst for Autonomous Digital Enterprise.

Cloud Computing Service

IaaS vs SaaS vs PaaS – Conclusion

The ever-growing adoption of Cloud computing services is an indication of the gradually changing business environment. The research and forecasts shed light on how the Cloud has been transforming the way organizations are utilizing computing resources.

Your organization’s business must quickly adopt a cloud services platform to leverage its wide-ranging benefits to avail unprecedented growth in no time.

However, you must understand that each cloud computing platform offers explicit functionalities and features, and it is critical for your business to make a strategy to suit your business requirements. 

A suitable cloud computing platform will allow you to build customized applications or enable you to command absolute control over your infrastructure without having to maintain it physically.

It doesn’t matter which cloud computing option you select, migrating to the cloud is a necessity now, and it will help you barge into the future with confidence.

FAQs for IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS

  • How do you select between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS?

    If you want to setup up a dedicated infrastructure and gain utmost control within the cloud, select IaaS. If you want to build your apps without having to control or manage any underlying infrastructure resources, then choose PaaS. If you are planning to use pre-built enterprise and business applications without installing anything by your IT staff, then select SaaS.

  • Why is SaaS preferred over IaaS?

    SaaS is preferred over IaaS by small companies and startups, as it allows them to launch their e-commerce solutions and applications quickly without getting engaged in software and server issues. SaaS is chosen for short-term development projects that need affordable, easy, and rapid collaboration.

  • Why is SaaS preferred over IaaS?

    SaaS is preferred over IaaS by small companies and startups, as it allows them to launch their e-commerce solutions and applications quickly without getting engaged in software and server issues. SaaS is chosen for short-term development projects that need affordable, easy, and rapid collaboration.

  • Under what scenario you may choose PaaS over IaaS?

    If an organization is planning to invest its efforts and time in the software development process but is reluctant to invest in operational resources, then it should choose PaaS over IaaS. Companies that require a higher level of customization and enhanced security much choose IaaS before investing in dedicated server farms.

  • What is the most common factor of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS?

    The most common factor among these service models is Cloud. It is the Cloud that empowers organizations and users to avail the intended services. IaaS provides the necessary computing infrastructure, PaaS offers the application development platform, whereas the SaaS provides the Software service on Cloud.

  • What are some common examples of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS PaaS?

    Here we have common examples of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS :
    IaaS – Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Compute Engine.
    PaaS – Google App Engine, Magento Commerce, and AWS Elastic Beanstalk.
    SaaS – Microsoft Office 365, Slack, and Gmail

Satyam Chaturvedi

Satyam Chaturvedi is a Digital Marketing Manager at Arka Softwares, a leading app development company dealing in modern and futuristic solutions. He loves to spend his time studying the latest market insights.

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