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IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS: Choosing the Right Cloud Service

servers surrounded by different systems

The cloud is taking over and is doing so without impunity. Whether you run a small, local business, or a global conglomerate, you will need to rely on some cloud service or the other.  However, cloud services are a pretty huge concept that covers a lot of online territories. Understanding the differences, uses, and benefits of the different cloud services is necessary if you are considering switching your business to the cloud.

There are 3 main service layers to the cloud: 

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) 
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS) 
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

Each service or platform type has its uses. Different companies use these platforms for providing services to their customers.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these services in turn:

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is known as Cloud infrastructure services. This self-service platform consists of highly scalable and automated computing resources. This lets businesses buy resources when needed instead of purchasing hardware at once. As a result, the cost will depend on the client’s consumption. 

There are also several users on a single piece of hardware. With IaaS the provider will offer resources as a service. All these features make the IaaS option dynamic and flexible.

IaaS delivers cloud computing infrastructure through virtualization technology; this includes servers, networks, operating systems, and storage. The cloud servers are usually provided through an API. This gives IaaS clients total control over the entire infrastructure. The client manages the applications, data, runtime, middleware, and operating system. The IaaS provider will deal with virtualization, storage, servers, and networking.

Startups and small businesses prefer using IaaS to cut down costs on hardware and resources. Larger companies also make use of IaaS when they want to keep control over their infrastructure while only purchasing the resources they need.

Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Linode are some examples of IaaS models in action.


  • Very scalable
  • Most flexible cloud computing model
  • Easy automatic deployment of storage, networking, and servers
  • Resources can be obtained as-needed and hardware purchases are based on consumption
  • Clients retain complete control of their infrastructure.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is also known as cloud platform services and is mainly used for custom applications. Many people have come across PaaS when they use things like Apache Stratos, Google App Machine, or OpenShift.

PaaS provides a platform or framework for creating software. The platform is delivered through the web, which provides developers with the freedom to focus on building the software without worrying about operating systems, software updates, storage, or infrastructure.

With PaaS, the client only needs to manage applications and data. On the other hand, the PaaS provider will take care of runtime, middleware, operating systems, networking, storage, servers, and virtualization.

It saves costs and streamlines the workflow when multiple developers are working on a larger project. If the project requires other collaborators, PaaS can expedite and streamline the whole process. It comes in handy because it integrates web services and programs and resources can be scaled up or down depending on the state of your business.


  • Easily available
  • Very scalable
  • Affordable development and deployment of apps
  • Developers can customize apps without maintaining the software
  • Great decrease in the amount of coding needed
  • Automated business policy
  • Fast migration to the hybrid model

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service, also known as cloud application services uses the internet to provide third-party managed applications to its customers. Most SaaS applications run directly through your web browser, so they don’t need any downloads or installations from the client’s side. It is the most popular choice for businesses in the cloud market.

With SaaS, the provider will manage every aspect, including runtime, middleware, applications, data, servers, operating systems, virtualization, networking, and storage. It is managed from a central location and hosted on a remote server. 

Moreover, users are not responsible for updating software or hardware and the service is accessible over the web. In other words, the provider handles everything from applications to storage and networking. An example of this would be services like DropBox, Google WorkSpace, and Cisco WebEx.

SaaS is often used by small startups that don’t have time or resources to deal with server issues. It also comes in handy in short-term projects that require quick and affordable collaboration. Furthermore, it is great for applications that need web and mobile access.


  • Takes less time for it to come into effect
  • Affordable and cost-effective.
  • Offers scalability and integration.
  • Easy to use and carry out proof-of-concepts

Each cloud model offers particular features and functionalities, and it is up to the business to decide which model will suit them best. Whether you need cloud-based software for storage options or absolute control over your infrastructure, you will find a cloud service that suits your needs. 

What Does the Future Hold?

Switching to the cloud is the future of business and technology. As the needs of the business and IT worlds change and evolve, XaaS or Everything as a Service will soon become the norm.

XaaS can be customized, data-centric, and highly responsive products or platforms. Many services like these are already being utilized. These include Database as a Service (DBaaS), Storage as a Service (StaaS), and Data as a Service (DaaS). And these cloud platforms will make running tech-based startups even easier.

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