SaaS vs. PaaS vs. IaaS: Definitions, Differences & Examples


SaaS vs. PaaS vs. IaaS Cloud Computing

Cloud computing transformation in the IT infrastructure is phenomenal, and global businesses including SMBs are leveraging the economies of scale from cloud computing infrastructure. 

Over time the services offered by cloud service providers have evolved, and today there is a distinct set of cloud computing options available for businesses to deploy their IT infrastructure.

Some of the common sets of cloud computing models are SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS as offerings from the cloud service providers.

In this article, the emphasis is on understanding the key difference between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, as cloud computing solutions, and how each of them is different while having commonalities in its fundamentals.

Firstly, the commonality among IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS is the cloud service providers play an integral part in offering the services, and in all three types, the service offerings are from the third-party service providers, in the pay-for-use model. 

The other commonality is how the systems are hosted in a remote environment, and the businesses use the IT services of cloud computing from their respective locations.

Let us understand the key differences between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS here

SaaS (Software as a Service)

cloud based services

SaaS (Software as a Service) is how the cloud computing service providers or application service providers offer access to the applications on a subscription basis.

The subscription could be an annual fixed license fee or the pay-per-user model or flexible options.

Fundamentally, in SaaS services, the application is developed and managed by third parties and is offered on a subscription model for multiple businesses. 

The key difference from conventional solutions is that the end-user businesses will not have any ownership of the application, and the application host controls the management of data. 

The users must simply login into the application system and manage their business data, and service accordingly.

The benefit of using the SaaS models is about flexibility to use the applications systems on the user basis requirements and have the scalability option as and how there is more demand. 

For example, there are scores of CRM (customer relationship management) or Point of Sale Billing solutions for restaurants, and many others available as SaaS solutions.

Some of the critical constraints in the SaaS model are high dependency on the service providers and there is need for more detailed SLAs (service level agreements) from the cloud service providers for reliability, and data migration security as necessary.

Related: Why is Important to have SaaS Backup

PaaS (Platform as a Service)

cloud storage backup

PaaS (Platform as a Service) is the intermediary format of cloud computing, wherein the cloud service providers offer effective platforms resourceful to the clients to develop their respective applications. 

For small businesses developing their e-business systems, the PaaS kind of cloud computing solutions is very valuable.

In simple terms, the cloud service provider offers a platform and basic technology framework, which is useful for developers to create customized business applications.

In the SaaS model, though the feature options could be chosen or dropped, any changes to the process flow are not possible for the client application requirements.

Whereas in the PaaS model, the clientele uses the basic platform to create custom applications to suit their business needs. 

Like SaaS, even in PaaS, the services are charged as a subscription model for the platform services by the cloud service providers.

The basic challenge in the PaaS environment for businesses is about the whole application being launched on third-party platforms, and the issue of data and application compatibility could be a challenge if the application is to be migrated to other cloud service providers.

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) is the other kind of cloud computing solution, offered by cloud service providers.

The cloud service providers simply provide the IT infrastructure like hardware, networking, and another kind of integrated physical infrastructure in a remote environment. 

It is up to the clients to deploy the operating systems, and security applications, and manage the hosting of applications, etc. in the IaaS environment.

More often, this kind of solution is opted for by businesses to avoid huge capital costs in managing the server and network infrastructure. 

There are two distinct models in the IaaS, managed service offerings and unmanaged service offerings from the cloud service providers.

The managed service offerings will have some support from the cloud service provider in managing the applications hosting, maintenance, etc., but the unmanaged services are like taking a bare-shell office space for customizing to the business requirement.

On-Premises Solutions

The other model which is the conventional approach is the on-premises solution, wherein the physical server shall be managed at the client locations.

Though this can be a service offering from the cloud service providers, usually the businesses prefer to have such on-premises solutions managed by self and internal resources.

However, in the market the scope of on-premises solutions offered by the cloud service providers is possible.

More specifically in the case of applications having too sensitive data or data compliance boundaries are managed over this kind of on-premises solution offered as a cloud computing service.

Related: What is On-Premises Solutions?

Common Challenges Faced by Cloud Service Provider

Some of the common challenges across the cloud service provider offerings in IaaS, SaaS or PaaS, or on-premises solutions are the issues of reliability, security, and data migration

Though the cloud service providers assure about the scope of data backup and security, still such backups are limited only to the host applications in the cloud computing, and not to the user data.

While the selection of the cloud computing models, it is important for the businesses to have insights into the cost of managing the applications, and hosting the solutions reliably, alongside the factors like data security and data migration requirements.

Thus, while a selection of cloud service providers for managing cloud computing happens, businesses need to focus on choosing the reputed and reliable cloud service provider to offer quality services in SaaS, IaaS, or PaaS applications.

Reach out to Exabytes Enterprise Solution to know more about the comprehensive range of cloud computing solutions offered by a cloud service provider. 

With 24x7x365 tech support, a friendly customer service team and a professional sales professional to consult on matters related to solutioning, Exabytes Malaysia is the cloud provider of choice in Malaysia – be it SaaS, PaaS or IaaS as a service!

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Related article:

What is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

What is Platform as a Service (PaaS)

What is Software as a Service (SaaS)

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