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IaaS Vs SaaS Vs PaaS: What Are the Differences in Cloud Computing?

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Last updated on  
February 16, 2023

Facts (Adoption Rate)

Overall the cloud covers approximately 25 percent across SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS(cloud service models). However, various platforms invest more than 30 percent of IT budgets in the cloud, led by healthcare at 33 percent, technology hosting (32 percent), and consumer products (32 percent), reported by Flexera.


Cloud computing solutions offer a large number of benefits to businesses, from low costs to better disaster recovery. The Cloud Industry Forum of the UK (CIF) found that 88% of UK businesses have adopted cloud services, which is an increase of 83% since their research conducted in 2010. Once the final decision has been made to adopt cloud computing, IT managers must decide which model of cloud services to use: IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS. Most companies use a combination of all three services, as each offers a different type of solution in various businesses.
There are three major cloud service models namely PaaS, SaaS, and IaaS. These stand for, platform as a service, software as a service, and infrastructure as a service. Many entrepreneurs do not know the difference and benefit between these offerings, as a result, they are unaware of which option is best for their company.

What is Cloud?

It seemed like such a simple question, I didn’t dare to come out and ask it. So, like any other writer, I referred to the internet to figure it out.
And what I learned is, “the cloud” operates on a very high level with vast services that power how a lot of modern technology companies operate. It controls all the operations in the industry and it builds the atmosphere where all the operations are controlled, monitored, and executive by adopting these services.
You see, the cloud mentions how and where data is stored — and perhaps more importantly, where it isn’t. The cloud unlocks software & services to run on the internet, instead of only locally on one device, because the data is stored remotely across a variety of different servers. These software and services can be accessed on any internet browser, or via online apps that can be accessed on different devices and are accessible from any location.
One key example: the cloud allows your team to collaborate and work on Google Docs instead of choosing to work on Microsoft Word documents and send it around to each other manually.
As you might have guessed correctly, thinking about all of the other services you can access from any online device, the cloud is a big deal. You might also be pondering, how cloud-based services are built? You’ll understand how various cloud computing services are used to build the technologies you use every day in this blog post. If you’re still in doubt about the cloud, don’t worry — clearer skies are ahead.

What is SaaS?

Software as a service (SaaS) is when a provider hosts an application and makes it accessible to subscribers over the internet. SaaS products allow the user to download the application all you need is an internet connection for further subscription process. SaaS services ensure that consumers are always up to date with the latest software, while also ensuring that developers have a continuing source of revenue with which to maintain their product.

What is PaaS?

Platform as a service (PaaS) provides developers with an adequate working environment for development and deployment over the internet. With PaaS, developers can develop from simple apps to complex cloud-based business software. Similar to SaaS, it allows its users to access powerful tools that they may not otherwise be able to afford or maintain.

What is IaaS?

(IaaS) Infrastructure as a Service provides users with hardware to accomplish multiple tasks. This could mean storage space, computing time with advanced processors, or virtualization services. IaaS is used by those who want to assuage the need to maintain their own on-premise data centers.

SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS: Looks Similar but Works Differently

These three cloud service models differ mostly in what they offer out of the box for the end-user of the service. Starting with SaaS, there’s very little for the user to manage or adjust. By the time you make your way to IaaS, the end-users responsibilities have grown. None of the options require as much self-controlling from the user as a dedicated on-premise solution would. Let’s analyze it from closer.

Data and software

SaaS customers need not worry about managing data usage, or application upkeep. If there is a product available that fits the user’s needs, SaaS is the most compatible package available. PaaS and IaaS solutions allow users to manage their data usage and applications.

Operating systems

When it comes to managing and controlling the operating system on which the software runs on, PaaS joins SaaS in handling this for the users. IaaS users are still left to knob this aspect of their technology stack by themselves.

Servers and data storage

All three cloud service models are executed through the internet, they all handle the servers and data storage for the user. Sometimes a company needs to worry about self-management of these if they are running their on-premise solutions.

IaaS Examples

1. Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS is a service provided by Amazon and is used for on-demand cloud computing and purchased for on a recurring subscription basis. AWS helps companies store online data and provide content — in fact, it’s helping you read this blog post right now. Sounds interesting right?

2. Microsoft Azure

Azure is a cloud-computing service provided by Microsoft, IaaS product is used for building, testing, and managing applications through a network provided by Microsoft data centers.

PaaS Examples

1. Google App Engine

Google App Engine agrees to developers to build and host web applications in cloud-based data centers that the search giant manages.

2. OpenShift

OpenShift is an on-premises containerization PaaS software.

SaaS Examples


JIRA is a project management software that’s provided by Atlassian and can be purchased and use on a subscription basis by users.

2. Dropbox

Dropbox is a file-sharing tool that unlocks multiple users within a group or organization to upload and download multiple files.

Which is Best For You?

Well, there is not an exact answer related to this question, it depends on the conditions and usage of your business, for example, if you’re planning to buy a phone and your highest priority is choosing the best camera. In this scenario, you will buy the best powerful camera phone while ignoring other features. But when there are multiple priorities, overall you will choose a phone whose camera, processor, and design are good.
Likewise, depending on the needs of your business, you may want to pursue one, or all three, types of cloud service models. Many larger businesses maintain a combination of old/traditional hardware and cloud computing solutions, but increasingly SMEs are adopting cloud-based services as well.

What’s a Rich Text element?

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Static and dynamic content editing

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