IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS: Differences

11 Oct · 6 min read

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS: Differences

Before diving into the differentiations between IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, let us break down the resemblance within the acronyms - ‘As-a-service’. It generally signifies a cloud computing service that is laid out by a third party so that your prime focus would be on what is more critical to you, like your core business processes. If you are unclear about the definition of cloud computing, below you are about to get a clear idea on it.

Cloud Computing Explained

  1. It is an act or function of running a workload in a cloud
  2. Clouds are environments - regions or places where applications run
  3. Cloud or Cloud Computing are not technologies - Technology is combined hardware and software that is used to build and utilise clouds.
  4. Clouds share scalable IT environment resources across a network.

Clouds are well defined by what they do instead of what they are made of.

To know more about facts and figures about cloud computing, hop in here. Now, let's jump back to the discussion on IaaS, PaaS and SaaS and how all of them are cloud computing services. Each type of cloud computing service gives you a minimal on-premise IT infrastructure to manage. IT infrastructure refers to software, hardware, networking, and related components like servers, data centers, and enterprise application software solutions.

When your hardware and software are based on-premises, it becomes the highest level of responsibility to you and your team to operate, manage, update and replace each infrastructure component as required. Through cloud computing, you can allocate all of the parts of your infrastructure to the management of a 3rd-party, which makes you free to focus on other things in your project.

Each of the three models of cloud computing as a service which are infrastructure-as-a-service(IaaS), platform-as-a-service(PaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS), covers individual benefits. Let us look into how you can differentiate them and make use of any or all of them to build a cloud computing environment that adjoins all of your requirements.


You can consider it as a step ahead from on-premise infrastructure models. IaaS is a pay-as-you-go cloud computing service where a 3rd party furnishes you with infrastructure services such as storage and virtualization, as in demand via a cloud, through the internet. 

As a user, you are only in charge of runtimes, operating system(OS), middlewares, applications and any data related to them. A provider of IaaS supplies access to you with servers, networks, virtualization, storage and ability to manage them as you need.

No need to update or maintain your on-site datacenter. It is because the IaaS provider does it on your behalf. You can have your control over the infrastructure via an API or dashboard. It gives you the adaptability to have to purchase only the components you require and ability to scale those components up or down as per your requirement. You are lifted from the mandate of paying any maintenance costs which makes IaaS a very affordable option to choose. 

You can leverage IaaS to create your testing or development environments and get a flexible and quick way to scale it up or down, for as long as you are in need of it. Not only this, you can even stop the service when you are finished or as needed, thus you pay only for what you are using. 

A catch with IaaS is that there are chances of security issues with multi-tenant systems. You can think of multi-tenancy as when the IaaS provider must allocate infrastructure resources with numerous clients, which might cause service dependability to go down. You can avoid such drawbacks by picking an established and trustworthy IaaS provider with a concrete history and prominence in the field.

IaaS Providers in market

Amazon Web Services(AWS), 

Microsoft Azure, 

Google Cloud, 

IBM Cloud


PaaS is just a step ahead of IaaS. In the Platform-as-a-service(PaaS) model of cloud computing, a service provider hosts both hardware as well as software on its own infrastructure. A combination of both hardware and software forms a platform and it is delivered to you as an integrated solution stack and service through the internet. 

It is very applicable for programmers and developers because PaaS allows you to develop, run and manage your applications without the need of building and maintaining the backend infrastructure or platform that is usually correlated with your requirements. You are primarily focused on the code, its build, and managing your apps. But you are lifted from all the hinders of hardware maintenance and software updates. The whole environment to build and deploy is presented for you.

You, as a developer can create software frameworks to build and customize your web-based applications through PaaS. There are numerous built-in software components that you can count on to create your applications, which cuts down on the load of code you have to write by yourself for those components. PaaS allows you easy collaboration with an entire team. It provides you with a secure platform where you can create applications and software for consumer use. You can build custom applications as PaaS provides you with a framework. It does not deliver software over the internet. Rather a platform that you can use to create online apps and software.

The catch of PaaS is that if a provider has an outage, the end-user must have to wait for the provider to resolve the issue during the downtime of applications.

PaaS Providers in market

Google App Engine,

Red Hat OpenShift, 



AWS Elastic Beanstalk


SaaS is well known as cloud application services and it is the most extensive form of cloud computing services. It delivers you a complete application that is managed by a SaaS provider through a web application browser. Service providers handle all-around software updates, software maintenance, and bug fixes. You are only accounted for connecting to the hosted application via an API or dashboard. No need for any installations of software on independent machines for you to do your work. Also, any group access to programs and software is reliable and smoother.

SaaS delivers tools that can either be used as web applications or the other option to download and install on the device. Using a SaaS application, you do not need a specialist to come in and manually install it on your device using any purchased license.

Though SaaS is fruitful because it saves you time and maintenance. However, control, security, and performance are the factors that could cost you. So, it is important to choose a service provider that you can trust. 

SaaS Providers in market





Software-as-a-service can be a considerable option for your business if you don’t have the bandwidth to control software updates and installations. Also, it is a great option for applications that do not need much customization or in the case where applications will only be used periodically.

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