Cloud Computing Simplified: A Guide to IAAS, PAAS, and SAAS

Hiba Ali

Senior Writer:

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green tickPublished : May 3, 2022

SaaS services are used by the majority of us who work in offices, and IaaS (infrastructure as a service) and PaaS (platform as a service) may be familiar to individuals who work in IT and application development (Platform as a Service). 

Employees take minimal time to complete complex tasks. Because of this, most organizations see an incredible increase in the quantity of work done in the cloud.

Experts estimate that the cloud computing industry will see a rise from $480.04 billion in 2022 to $1712.44 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 19.9%. 

Let’s understand more about cloud application services, IaaS PaaS SaaS, and the difference between IaaS PaaS and SaaS.

Introduction to Cloud Computing Services

Cloud computing stores, manages, and processes data on a network of remote computers located on the Internet instead of a local server or personal computer.

 Cloud ComputingSource

Companies providing cloud computing service models are known as cloud providers, and usage-based pricing is standard for cloud computing services. The fundamentals of a cloud service provider are grids and clusters.

The main types of cloud computing services are:


  1. Software as a service (SaaS)
  2. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  3. Platform as a service (PaaS)

IaaS PaaS SaaS in cloud computing provides flawless connectivity between devices connected using middleware software. Cloud computing service providers typically store various copies of the data to reduce security risks, loss, and breaches.

So, let’s head on to the utility battle of saas vs paas vs iaas.

Understanding IAAS (Infrastructure as a Service)

IaaS are the cloud computing infrastructure services that use highly automated and scalable computing resources. IaaS is entirely self-service. You can access and manage computers, network storage, and other benefits with IaaS.

1. Definition of IAAS

IaaS, or infrastructure as a service, is an alternative to on-premises infrastructure. It is a pay-as-you-go service. Here, the third party offers you cloud-based, internet-based infrastructure services, depending on your choice, including storage and virtualization.

 Iaas (Infrastructure as a Service)Source

The operating system, any data, applications, middleware, and runtimes are your responsibility as the user. Still, a provider gives you access to and administration of the network, servers, virtualization, and memory you require.

Your on-site data center doesn’t need to be updated or maintained because the supplier takes care of it. Instead, it would be best to have a dashboard or application programming interface (API) to access and manage the infrastructure.

IaaS allows you to buy the necessary parts and scale them up or down. IaaS is a highly economical alternative because it has low overhead and no maintenance charges.

IaaS could be used as a quick and adaptable approach to set up and take down testing and development environments. You can utilize the infrastructure required to build your development environment, scale it up or down as necessary, and use it for as long as possible before stopping and only paying for what you use.

SomeIaaS examples are public cloud service providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.

2. Features of IAAS

The features of IAAS include:

  • Automated management tasks
  • Better scaling
  • Platform virtualization technology
  • API and GUI-based access
  • Internet connectivity

3. Advantages of IAAS


Let’s take a look at the advantages of IAAS:

  • Pay on the Go: Fees are calculated using usage-based data.
  • Decrease Capital Increases: IaaS has monthly operational costs.
  • Dynamic Scalability Increases capacity quickly during peak hours and decreases it when necessary.
  • Boosts Security: IaaS companies spend a lot of money on security technologies and knowledge.
  • Future-Proof: Users can access cutting-edge technology, operating systems, and data centers.
  • Self-Service: You can access using a basic internet connection
  • Transfer IT Resources: It frees up IT personnel for other valuable initiatives.
  • Reduce Downtime: IaaS can recover instantly from outages.
  • Enhances Speed: With the provisioning of IaaS computers, developers may start working on projects.
  • Enables Innovation: IaaS increases the capability and uses of APIs.

4. Drawbacks of IAAS

  • Security concerns exist.
  • In IaaS, service and network delays are significant problems.

Understanding PAAS (Platform as a Service)

Developers using PaaS receive a framework for constructing specialized applications. While the developers continue to handle the apps, the third-party supplier or organization can manage all servers, security, and networking.

1. Definition of PaaS

PaaS, or platform as a service, takes full on-premise infrastructure management one step further. An internet connection delivers the platform to the user as an integrated package, solution stack, or service. The supplier can host the software and hardware on its infrastructure.

PaaS (Platform as a Service)Source

PaaS enables users to create, run, and maintain their apps without building and updating the infrastructure or platform associated with the process, making it primarily beneficial for developers and programmers.

With Paas, you can create and manage your apps by writing the code without dealing with hardware upkeep or software upgrades. You are given the necessary environment to build and deploy.

PaaS means developers can design a basis for building and customizing their web-based apps. To create their apps, developers employ pre-built software components. It decreases the amount of code they need to write from scratch.

AWS Elastic Beanstalk and Heroku are examples of PaaS. 

2. Features of PaaS

The features of PaaS include:

  • Multi-tenant architecture
  • Flexible “services-enabled” integration model
  • Unlimited Database Customization
  • Robust workflow capabilities
  • Granular control over security
  • Customizable user interface

3. Advantages of PaaS


Lets take a look at the advantages of PaaS:

  • Cost Savings: You do not need hardware purchases or downtime costs.
  • Saves Time: PaaS’s core stack doesn’t need to be set up or maintained, and it saves time.
  • Speed to Market: It hastens the development of apps.
  • Future-Proof: Users can access cutting-edge technology, data centers, and operating systems.
  • Improves Security: PaaS providers invest a lot of money in security technologies.
  • Enhances Scalability: It increases the capacity during peak hours and decreases it at times of necessity.
  • Personalized Solutions:  With the operational tools of PaaS, developers can construct specialized solutions.
  • Increases Flexibility:  It enables users to access and use programs from any location.

4. Drawbacks of PAAS

  • Data security is a major concern.
  • There is a high probability of data mismatch when integrating the data because data is kept in both local storage and the cloud.

Understanding SAAS (Software as a Service)

SaaS maximizes the use of the internet to provide apps managed by a third-party vendor to its consumers. Most SaaS applications are browser-based. It means you don’t need to download or install them on the client side.

1. Definition of SaaS


The comprehensive type of cloud computing service, is software-as-a-service (SaaS). SaaS apps deliver a program that a provider manages via a web browser.

The provider handles software updates, general software maintenance, bug repairs, and user access to the app through an API or dashboard. Since the software is not installed on individual computers, group access to the program is faster and more dependable.

If you have an email account with a web-based service, you’re already familiar with a type of SaaS because you can log into your account and access your email from any computer, anywhere.

SaaS is a great option for models that don’t need significant modification or have occasional usage. SaaS is also ideal for small firms that don’t have the people or resources to manage software installation and updates.

Some examples of SaaS include ControlHippo Insights, Dropbox, Salesforce, and Google Apps.

2. Features of SaaS

The features of SaaS are:

  • Subscription-based pricing
  • Elastic Infrastructure
  • High availability
  • Multi-tenancy model
  • Application Security
  • Audit
  • Automated provisioning
  • Rate limiting/QoS
  • Single Sign On
  • Security

3. Advantages of SaaS


Lets take a look at the advantages of SaaS:

  • Better Accessibility: SaaS continuously functions from any device using an internet browser.
  • Operational Management: SaaS does not require installation, equipment upgrades, or conventional license management.
  • Cost Savings : You don’t have to pay upfront hardware fees. You have numerous flexible payment options, including pay-as-you-go models.
  • Improved Scalability: SaaS can scale up a solution to quickly meet changing needs.
  • Data Storage: Companies frequently use SaaS to save data in the cloud routinely. 
  • Analytics: Users have the availability to access data reporting and insights.
  • Improved Security : SaaS companies invest significantly in security-related technologies.

4. Drawbacks of SAAS

  • Average performance
  • Limited customization options
  • Data privacy and security issues

Differences between IAAS, PAAS, and SAAS: Key Considerations Explanation

Difference between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaSSource

The three main subcategories of cloud computing are IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. A network of multiple servers is used in cloud computing to host, store, administer, and process data online.

Let’s understand IaaS PaaS SaaS difference with the following table:

UsageNetwork architects use IAASDevelopers use PAASEnd users use SaaS
Accessibilityvirtual machines and virtual storagedeployment and development tools for applicationend user
ModelIt is a service modelIt is a cloud computing modelIt is a service model in cloud computing 
Technical KnowledgeIt requires technical knowledge.Basic knowledge for setupNo technical knowledge
Popularitydevelopers and researchersDevelopers developing apps and scriptsconsumers and companies 
Percentage rise12% increment32% increment.27 % rise in the cloud computing model
Cloud servicesAmazon Web Services, sun, vCloud ExpressFacebook, and Google search enginesMS Office web, Facebook and Google Apps
Enterprise servicesAWS virtual private cloudMicrosoft AzureIBM cloud analysis
Outsourced cloud, GigaspacesAWS, Terremark
User ControlsOperating System, Runtime, Middleware, and Application dataData of the applicationNothing

IAAS vs. PAAS: Key Differences 

The main distinction between IaaS and PaaS is that although PaaS gives users more flexibility and ease of use, IaaS gives management more direct control over operating systems.

IaaS constructs the structure for cloud-based technology. With an API that can be delivered over the cloud, PaaS enables developers to create unique apps. SaaS is cloud-based software that businesses can purchase and use.

Imagine that I will launch a website. I can host it and the apps with an IaaS provider like Amazon Web Services. If I wanted to develop further unique features, I would build and put them on my website using a PaaS provider like Google App Engine.

PAAS vs. SAAS: Key Differences 


Let’s look at the difference between SaaS and PaaS platforms.

PaaS products have the framework for creating new products on top of a platform’s network. SaaS products, ranging from apps to servers, are completely handled by another company.

PaaS platforms can serve as the platform for my program, for instance,  I am developing an app for my company. After its completion, we will regard it as a SaaS because we will offer the platform to the users as a service.

External management data could jeopardize the performance and security of the tools you use with either product. Companies aiming for unique usability should choose SaaS, whereas those looking to create a solution on an existing network should choose PaaS.

IAAS vs. SAAS: Key Differences 

IaaS vs SaaSSource

The main distinction between IaaS and SaaS is that IaaS gives management more direct control over operating systems. And SaaS product are completely handled by another organization, from apps to data servers.

IaaS constructs the infrastructure for cloud-based technology, and after the app is developed for the company, it is considered SaaS because we offer it as a service to users. 

Use Cases of IAAS


  • Disaster recovery: IaaS can deploy its disaster recovery solution to the cloud provider’s current geographically scattered infrastructure rather than installing redundant servers in several places.
  • Startups: Startups are unable to invest money in on-site IT infrastructure. They may now access enterprise-class data center capabilities thanks to IaaS, which eliminates the need for an initial hardware investment and administrative costs.
  • Software Development: Compared to on-premises infrastructure, IaaS allows for a significantly quicker setup of testing and development environments. (However, as you’ll see in the next section, PaaS is more appropriate for this use case.)
  • Internet of Things (IoT): IaaS makes it simpler to establish and scale up data storage and computing resources for these and other applications that work with massive volumes of data, including the Internet of Things (IoT), event processing, and artificial intelligence (AI).
  • E-commerce: IaaS is a great choice for online merchants who frequently experience traffic peaks. In today’s 24-hour retail environment, the capacity to scale up during heavy demand and high-quality security is crucial.

Use Cases of PAAS


  • API Management and Development: PaaS makes it simpler for teams to design, run, maintain, and secure APIs to exchange data and functionality between apps, thanks to its built-in frameworks.
  • IoT:  PaaS offers a variety of programming languages (Java, Python, Swift, etc.), tools, and application environments used for creating IoT applications and processing data from IoT devices in real time.
  • Agile development and DevOps: PaaS solutions often meet a DevOps toolchain’s criteria and offer integrated automation to support continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD).
  • Hybrid cloud strategy and Cloud-Native Development: PaaS solutions help cloud-native development technologies such as microservices, containers, Kubernetes, and serverless computing that allow developers to create once, deploy, and manage uniformly across private cloud, public cloud, and on-premises environments.

Use Cases of SAAS


Today, SaaS is almost probably utilized by anyone who uses a computer or mobile device. People utilize SaaS programs daily in their personal life, such as email, social media, and cloud file storage services (like Dropbox or Box).

Salesforce (customer relationship management software), HubSpot (marketing software), Trello (workflow management), Slack (collaboration and messaging), and Canva are some of the more well-known corporate or enterprise SaaS uses applications. 

Many initially desktop-only programs (like Adobe Creative Suite) are now SaaS-based (e.g., Adobe Creative Cloud).

Nowadays, almost any software for personal or professional productivity is available as a SaaS; there are too many specialized use cases to list them all. 

In most circumstances, a SaaS provider will offer a substantially easier, more scalable, and more affordable alternative to on-premises software if an end user or organization can find one with the appropriate capability.


So, who wins in the race of SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS? 

IaaS PaaS SaaSSource

The debate was never about winning but finding out each service’s intricacies. 

Your company must know the distinctions between the various cloud models because they each offer unique advantages and functionalities.

Most organizations find cloud-based software servers comfortable and simple to use, enabling them to virtually manage the technical architecture of their firm, create apps, and access various tools without having to purchase and maintain a physical server. These services can improve your company’s production and efficiency, benefiting you overall.

There is a cloud service for you whether you require complete control over your entire infrastructure without having to manage it physically, cloud-based software for storage alternatives, an easy platform that enables you to construct bespoke applications, or all three.

The future of business and technology is moving to the cloud, regardless of your choice.

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS FAQ's

The three types of cloud computing are as follows:

  1. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
  2. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  3. Software as a Service (SaaS)

The cloud infrastructure service, IaaS, allows businesses to buy resources on demand instead of purchasing and operating hardware on-premise.

In contrast to the debate over IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, Amazon seems to have adopted the view that there is a huge market for delivering pretty much every piece of IT functionality as a Service (aaS), which can be consumed on their own, allowing developers to develop applications in a more time and flexible manner, with reduced complexity and cost.

Both IaaS and SaaS involve managing servers, networking, virtualization, and storage. However, unlike SaaS, users of IaaS are still responsible for managing applications, runtimes, middleware, and data.

PaaS products help businesses and developers host, build, and deploy consumer-facing applications using the cloud, while IaaS products manage company resources such as networks, servers, and data storage.

PaaS, or platform as a service, provides on-demand access to a cloud-hosted platform for creating, running, sustaining, and managing applications. In contrast, SaaS, or software as a service, offers on-demand ready-to-use access to applications.

The Platform as a Service model (PaaS) provides developers with everything they need to build, operate, and manage applications, including servers, operating systems, networks, storage, middleware, and tools.

Infrastructure as a service provides virtualized computing resources over the internet. Cloud providers use the IaaS model to handle and deliver IT infrastructures, like storage, servers, and networking resources, to subscriber organizations via virtual machines.

SaaS (Software as a Service) allows users to connect to and utilize cloud-based applications via the Internet. So rather than installing and sustaining software, they access it via the Internet, saving time and money.

Updated : March 9, 2023

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