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IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS: Which Cloud Strategy is Right for Your Business

  • Rajnish Kumar Sharma
  • By  Rajnish Kumar Sharma
  • |
  • 87D32530-FD6E-468E-BB24-045278513D21 Created with sketchtool. 8 MIN READ
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  • 6BCC25D0-42B3-420B-8C28-C5D7EF3F6856 Created with sketchtool. Updated: July 1, 2021

No matter if you own a small-scale or a large-scale business, you would always look forward to cutting costs while expecting profits in turn. This can come true if the business relies on cloud application development that helps organizations switch to virtual management from physical management of resources.

According to the latest forecast from Gartner, Inc, worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 23.1% in 2021 to total $332.3 billion, up from $270 billion in 2020.
Gartner

But, the real question is – Which cloud service should you choose? In the business space where IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS add to the confusion, making the right decision can be quite overwhelming. Well, we are here to minimize your options by helping you make an informed decision.

Before we figure out the difference between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, let’s first learn the ropes of cloud computing.

What is Cloud Computing?

What is Cloud Computing | Iaas vs PaaS vs SaaS

The Cloud is an on-demand service where a business can easily request access to system resources (hardware & software) such as computing power and data storage over the internet.
In a way, we can say, “Anywhere you go, the cloud follows,” while offering economies of scale in turn.

Cloud can either be exclusively built for an organization, i.e., enterprise cloud or, it can be commonly accessed by various organizations, i.e., a public cloud. In specific, cloud-based services such as IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS fall under the umbrella of the public cloud that offers valuable services on the go.

Difference Between Iaas vs PaaS vs SaaS

The Three Models of Cloud Computing – IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

The three prominent building blocks of cloud-based computing – IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS-add convenience to businesses across the globe. These cloud services can transform your digital experience while reducing the infrastructural costs in turn. Here is an overview of the three cloud services before moving on with highlighting the differences between Iaas vs. PaaS vs. SaaS.

Software as a Service (SaaS) – Consume

Suitable for: On-demand software.

Public Cloud Service Revenue Forecast for SaaS

SaaS is an acronym for Software as a Service, which offers cloud-based applications to the end-users. Here, the application is hosted by a provider, which, in turn, is available on a pay-as-you-go basis.

One of the most relatable SaaS examples is Google Docs, which allows creating and sharing documents, or Dropbox that enables file sharing and download over the network.

Digital businesses should adopt SaaS in cloud computing as it offers zero management, i.e., everything is taken care of by the vendor itself. And, sometimes, SaaS services could disrupt the market by developing an out-of-the-box solution, just like what Net Solutions did for SampleBoard.

Rosslyn Tebbutt, an interior designer at SampleBoard, had the vision to create a SaaS application that could help draft visual design concepts. Using the agile software development method, we created a custom product relevant to the designer industry. For more in-depth insight, here is the case study.

Advantages of SaaS

  • Lower Costs: Using SaaS allows cost reduction with servers that are vendor-managed. Software as a service model offers flexible payment methods such as paying on an as-you-go basis (only paying for the services you use)/ It doesn’t require any hardware costs or maintenance costs.
  • Operational Management: SaaS applications are free from the burden of lengthy traditional software deployment delays since they are available on the cloud. They don’t need any installation, equipment updates, or traditional licensing management.
  • Scalability & Integration: A SaaS solution can be easily scaled to accommodate the changing business needs. Compared with the traditional model, one doesn’t have to buy another server or software.
    Accessibility: A browser and an internet connection are all that are required for running a SaaS application 24/7.
    This is generally available on a wide range of devices and anywhere globally, making SaaS more accessible than the traditional business software installation.

Disadvantages of SaaS

  • Lack of control: Hosted cloud services offer lesser power as it resides with a third party than in-house software applications, which offer a higher degree of control.
  • Stability: SaaS Applications require a good and stable internet connection. Hence connectivity can be an issue, with a constant requirement of stable internet connectivity to work efficiently.
  • Security: Lack of transparency, security issues, and privacy of sensitive information are primary considerations around cloud and hostel services. These are one of the primary reasons some companies are hesitant to use SaaS.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Build on it

Suitable for: API development and management.

Public Cloud Service Revenue Forecast for PaaS

PaaS is the acronym for Platform as a service, which offers a dedicated framework for developers to build, test, and manage new product applications. The most significant advantage of PaaS is that it eliminates the need to have separate resources (application tools, databases, operating systems, etc.) required for application development.

In simple words, PaaS is providing a platform for developers to create applications that can be further provided as a SaaS solution. One of the prominent PaaS examples is Google App Engine that helps produce and host applications easily.

PaaS is also available on a pay-as-you-go basis, which means you only pay for resources that you subscribe to. Here, all you need to do is manage the built application, and the vendor takes care of the rest.

Advantages of PaaS:

  • Minimal Development: PaaS services allow for rapid prototyping and development by providing prebuilt backend infrastructure and other resources. A platform offers access to tools, templates, and code libraries, reducing development time and simplifying the process.
  • Cost Reduction: The companies willing to reduce their operating costs or develop an application for the first time with limited resources, PaaS services are the most viable option. It eliminates the need to build applications from scratch that reduces the costs associated with development.
  • Flexibility: PaaS services allow employees to log in and work on applications from anywhere. It also provides the flexibility of being deployed across multiple channels and a range of connected devices.
  • Future-Proof: With a platform, new features, capabilities, and bug fixes are instantiated automatically in the cloud. That way, the focus can be on core business initiatives rather than maintaining underlying IT infrastructure.

Disadvantages of PaaS

  • Vendor Dependency: It can be hard to switch PaaS providers after building an application using specific tools and platforms. Each vendor may not support the same languages, APIs, or operating system that makes and runs the applications. Thus it’s very much dependent on the vendor’s capacitance.
  • Increase Security: PaaS providers invest considerably well in security technology and expertise. The external vendor stores most of the application’s data along with the hosting code. The vendor may store the databases via a third party. Therefore, it cannot be easy to fully assess and test the security measures of the service providers in such cases. Make sure you are aware of each vendor’s security and compliance protocols before making a decision.

SaaS vs PaaS: What is the difference?

PaaS
SaaS
Whom does it serve? PaaS solutions are aimed at a much smaller audience. They help developers to create their applications in a much easier, efficient, and economical way. A highly engaging and effective option for small and medium businesses.
When to use it?

When developers are needed from different companies to work simultaneously.

PAAS prepares the environment for the client to develop, run, and manage applications without worrying about the management of the operating system.

Holding up staff for handling the maintenance of software.

With SAAS the customer only uses the software via the internet, and the provider is responsible for managing the infrastructure and platform.

Examples

AWS Elastic Beanstalk

Windows Azure

Heroku

Force.com

Google App Engine

OpenShift

BigCommerce

Google Apps

Salesforce

Dropbox

MailChimp

ZenDesk

DocuSign

Slack

Hubspot

Suited for Enterprises with Large Product Catalogs Small-scale businesses selling limited products

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – Migrate to it

Suitable for: IT administration.

Public Cloud Service Revenue Forecast for IaaS

IaaS is the acronym for Infrastructure as a service, which provides virtual data centers to businesses. The cloud service provides a complete infrastructure, i.e., storage and server space to experiment and build new technologies over the cloud. IaaS services can host website and software solutions, build virtual data centers for large-scale enterprises, and even conduct data mining and analysis.

Here, a business is responsible for managing the application hosted, the particular development tools, and the operating system deployed. On the other hand, the IaaS vendor manages the storage space, networking resources, and the dedicated data center.

A perfect IaaS example is Amazon Web Services (AWS), leading the public cloud space. Big players such as Salesforce and Netflix are already leveraging AWS to support their ever-growing client/customer base.

Advantages of IaaS:

  • Cost-reduction: IaaS has to offer the best in terms of cloud computing- as it possesses lower infrastructure costs. Organizations with IaaS don’t require worrying about network equipment or hardware maintenance.
    For the start-ups or new businesses starting with limited resources and experimenting with new ideas, it makes an economical option.
  • It runs when the server goes down: For IaaS, even if the internet goes down or any particular hardware component trembles, or the data goes offline, the organization’s infrastructure won’t freeze.
  • Focused on Business Growth: While building your own company, worrying whether the data infrastructure can keep up with the organization’s growth can be daunting.
    Since a third-party service operates the latest infrastructure, the latest technology easily scales up and scales down according to businesses’ needs; thus, you don’t have to worry about technology updates.
    As a third-party service operates the infrastructure, you will be able to focus on other work.
  • Flexibility: Modern work demands greater flexibility, so adopting IaaS provides more flexibility to work as employees can access their records and data offsite in need. They can also connect to the virtual office easily and quickly.

Disadvantages for IaaS

  • Security: Despite IaaS managing the infrastructure, Enterprises are solely responsible for everything that goes wrong yet doesn’t control cloud security in an IaaS environment.
  • Technical Issues: Businesses face some downtime with IaaS; thus, it restricts their access to applications and data.
  • Over Dependency: Dependency on the provider, whose sole responsibility is to make sure the service is available and secure.

Difference Between IaaS and PaaS

IaaS vs PaaS: What is the Difference

IaaS
PaaS
Platform Self-access services linked with Cloud Infrastructure. Platform as a service is Cloud Platform Service.
Service Provider IAAS provides infrastructure.

Platform as a service provides a software service platform that offers multiple facilities to developers.

Platform as a Service delivers the developers an effective framework on which they can use to build and can use to create highly effective and customized applications.

Examples

Rackspace

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Cisco Metacloud

Microsoft Azure

Google Compute Engine

AWS Elastic Beanstalk

Windows Azure

Heroku

Force.com

Google App Engine

OpenShift

Users IaaS is accessible to multiple users but understanding it is challenging. PaaS is also accessible to multiple users but offers easy navigation and understanding.

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS – Who Manages What?

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS - Who Manages What

Cloud services help a business reduce the management of computing resources to focus on core business activities.

When it is about IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS, it is imperative to know what you manage vs what the vendor manages.

Parameter
IaaS
PaaS
PSaaS
Applications You You Vendor
Data Center Vendor Vendor Vendor
Network Resources Vendor Vendor Vendor
Servers Vendor Vendor Vendor
Storage Vendor Vendor Vendor
Operating System You Vendor Vendor
Development & Management Tools You Vendor Vendor

We can, therefore, conclude the following:
Self-management & control represented in descending order – IaaS > PaaS > SaaS

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS – Choosing a Suitable Cloud Service

The popular cloud-based solutions are independently created to fulfill the purpose it is built for. Thus, the cloud service you choose purely depends on the specific business requirements. However, many find it difficult to differentiate between the three, but it is all a cakewalk if you grab the basic understanding.

See how this tweet helps understand different types of cloud services with a simple example.

Conclusion

If you start a website, you would need an IaaS service to host it and the corresponding applications. If your business wishes to create a custom software product, you will rely on PaaS to build it without worrying about the hosting part. And, once that product is ready to be used, it will be called a workable SaaS product.

All three cloud services are interconnected in the end, i.e., IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS is an interwoven cloud model that helps run significant business operations. Whether you choose the I, the P, or the S of the cloud computing service, make sure your business needs get acknowledged down the line. After all, your businesses’ success depends on how well you align your requirements with the respective cloud service.

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Rajnish Kumar Sharma

About the Author

Rajnish Kumar Sharma is a Project Lead at Net Solutions and is a part of Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Delivery (CD), and security initiatives. Apart from exploring new technologies and handling technical challenges, Rajnish is equally passionate about movies, cricket, and traveling.

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