IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS: How Are They Different?

7 min read

As cloud environments become more popular, more businesses are choosing on-premise IT solutions in favor of IT infrastructures, platforms, and software as a service. But how does that appear in use, and what differentiates the various service models from one another? Learn about IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS and how they may be used to build a cloud computing environment suited to your needs. We’ll also look at some real-world examples so you can see how as-a-service solutions fit into your existing IT environment and learn about their advantages and disadvantages.

IaaS vs. PaaS vs. SaaS: What’s the Difference?

The cloud refers to how and where data is stored —perhaps more importantly, where it isn’t. Because data is kept remotely on numerous servers rather than only locally on one device, the cloud allows software and services to run over the internet. The three main subcategories of cloud computing are IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. As I mentioned earlier, cloud computing uses a network of various servers to host, store, manage, and process data online or “in the cloud.

Let’s take a quick look at each of these services.

Cloud Services - IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS):  IaaS products enable businesses to manage their business resources in the cloud, such as their network, servers, and data storage.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS):  Businesses and developers can host, create, and deploy consumer-facing apps using PaaS technologies.
  • Software as a Service (SaaS):  SaaS solutions provide cloud-based tools and applications for consumers and companies, making them the most popular cloud service.

All three are accessible through an internet browser or online apps available on various platforms. A great example is Google Docs, which allows your team to work virtually without editing a single Microsoft Word document and distributing it to everyone.

In comparison, on-premise software is installed locally on a server or device at a company’s physical location.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

what is IaaS

IaaS is a cloud-based service that allows businesses to receive resources virtually (or through the cloud). IaaS technologies allow companies to set up and manage servers, networks, operating systems, and data storage without purchasing hardware.

Customers who use IaaS can manage their data infrastructure without physically controlling it on-site. Instead, customers use an API (application programming interface) or dashboard to access and manage their resources while storing data on the servers of IaaS providers.

What is IaaS used for?

IaaS allows companies to build and manage data as they grow, paying for storage and server space as needed rather than hosting and managing servers on-site. IaaS products are the foundations for developing new cloud-based technologies. On physical servers located all over the world, IaaS providers collect the data of their clients.

IaaS Delivery

IaaS products provide large businesses with virtual storage systems, networks, and servers. Organizations can connect their dashboards to the API of the IaaS provider to view and manage their data.

Advantages of IaaS

IaaS cloud infrastructure provides businesses and administrators the most control and authority over software and hardware. Other benefits are:

  • Its pay-as-you-go concept allows companies to only pay for the resources they use.
  • Infrastructure is completely under the control of the organization.
  • It can be enlarged or decreased as required.
  • There is no need to purchase or keep up a physical server.

Disadvantages of IaaS

The main disadvantage of an IaaS solution is that you are still in charge of maintaining “technical” security. In addition

  • It would be best if you verified that your operating systems and applications are reliable and offer the highest level of security.
  • You are in charge of the data; it is up to you to restore it if any of it is lost.
  • IaaS tools are the most hands-on since they provide the most control. IaaS companies supply the servers and their API; you are responsible for configuring everything.

Examples of IaaS

Following are the examples of IaaS:

Amazon Web Services

Amazon manages AWS, a cloud computing service used for on-demand computing and paid for via regular subscriptions. AWS helps businesses with data storage and content delivery, helping you as you read this blog post.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure uses a network of Microsoft data centers, an IaaS offering for cloud computing, to allow application development, testing, and management.

Google Cloud

Businesses can operate Windows, Oracle, and SAP directly on Google Cloud, an IaaS platform. A company can also manage its corporate database and deploy AI technologies to improve internal operational efficiency.

IBM Cloud

Another IaaS solution that allows companies to allocate their computer, network, storage, and security resources on demand is IBM Cloud. In other words, businesses increase efficiency by only using resources when required.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

What is PaaS

A PaaS, or platform as a service, is a framework developer can use to create custom apps. PaaS is not software delivered over the internet but platform developers can use to develop online software and apps.

What is PaaS used for?

Using PaaS technologies, developers may create unique online apps without worrying about managing, storing, or serving data. PaaS can be viewed as a simplified form of IaaS. It still supplies clients with servers and data centers to keep their information (in this case, an app), but its customer is a developer building an app that will be given to users through the internet. On PaaS platforms, SaaS applications are created.

PaaS Delivery

PaaS provides a secure environment where programmers may develop apps and software for end users. PaaS tools are available online to developers. For example, the Heroku dashboard invited me to build an app.

Advantages of PaaS

PaaS is popular among developers since it is affordable and allows easy team collaboration. Think about developing an app locally, then attempting to publish it online; that may be challenging or require too many steps.

Developers can create their apps directly on a PaaS and launch them immediately.

  • PaaS products are really simple to use and register.
  • On a single app, developers can work together with other developers.
  • Developers can readily update and customize apps without worrying about backend software maintenance. Code and move on.
  • PaaS systems provide excellent flexibility and scalability if the app’s acceptance and usage increase.

Disadvantages of PaaS

The main drawback of PaaS is that you can only control what is built on the platform. The software will be affected if there is a hardware or operating system outage or problem.

Other disadvantages are:

  • You only have control over the app’s code, not its infrastructure. Use should be limited to small to medium-sized businesses.
  • The PaaS provider stores your data, which can represent a security risk to your app’s users.
  • The PaaS terms of service may restrict the customizations you can make.

Examples of PaaS

Following are the examples of PaaS:

Google App Engine

Developers can create and host web applications using Google App Engine in Google-managed cloud data centers.


Kinsta offers Application, Database, and Managed WordPress Hosting solutions that allow you to deploy any web application in minutes without worrying about the hosting infrastructure.

Red Hat OpenShift

Red Hat OpenShift is an on-premises containerization PaaS solution.


This PaaS solution allows developers to create, maintain, and expand consumer-facing applications.


A PaaS platform called Apprenda allows developers and companies to host a full application portfolio. On this platform, create and deploy applications of every kind.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

What is SaaS

Software as a Service, or SaaS, is a term used to describe cloud-based software hosted online by a business, offered to customers on a subscription basis, and distributed to clients through the internet.

What is SaaS used for?

One of the most often used cloud computing services for businesses looking to launch and expand operations is software as a service (SaaS). Because SaaS doesn’t always require download and installation on specific devices for use across the board, it is highly scalable and simple. This is especially useful for international teams that don’t collaborate in a closer range.

SaaS Delivery

SaaS businesses deliver their products to customers online. These resources can be downloaded and installed on the device or used as web apps (like Google Docs) (such as Adobe Creative Cloud). A SaaS program eliminates the requirement for an expert to install it on each laptop using a bought license manually.

Advantages of SaaS

The main benefit of using SaaS products is how simple they are to set up and use. SaaS products are cloud-based, so logging in is all you need to do to start using the applications.

Other advantages include the following:

  • The program is managed and updated for you. Usually, a SaaS subscription or purchase consists of this.
  • Your local resources, such as your server’s disc space, will only be used if you have one.
  • A SaaS product is very simple to find and purchase.
  • Your IT team won’t have to worry about maintenance with a SaaS product.

Disadvantages of SaaS

The ease of use of SaaS solutions comes with a fundamental disadvantage: you need control over the cloud-based infrastructure it runs on. So, if the software provider has a problem, you also do. This can result in extensive website outages and issues affecting your SaaS-dependent business processes.

Other disadvantages include:

  • SaaS products might not work with existing technology and software at your company.
  • Since integrations are normally the responsibility of the supplier, it is not possible for you to “patch” an integration.
  • You’re at the mercy of the SaaS provider’s security procedures; if a leak occurs, all your data could be exposed.

Examples of SaaS

Following are the examples of SaaS:


Businesses can interact with and keep customers with HubSpot’s CRM, marketing, sales, and service SaaS platform.


JIRA is a project management tool provided by Atlassian and is available to clients as a subscription.


Dropbox is a SaaS file-sharing platform that allows numerous team or company users to upload and download various files.


A SaaS platform called DocuSign is used by businesses to communicate contracts and documents that need to be signed.


As you can see, each cloud computing model is suitable for various business types and requirements. Each model has advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to know which is more significant to you and your business: control, customization, or ease. Once you’ve chosen, you’ll need to select a vendor who fits with the culture of your business and will eventually assist your teams to work more productively and efficiently.

Other developing cloud computing models, such as Monitoring as a Service (MaaS), Function as a Service (FaaS), and Communication as a Service, may interest you in addition to IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Each is aimed at organizations looking for certain services to be competitive in a cloud-first market.

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