SaaS vs. PaaS vs. IaaS: What’s The Difference and How To Choose?

SaaS vs. PaaS vs. IaaS: What’s The Difference and How To Choose?

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Many businesses today leverage cloud computing and various services the cloud has to offer. The cloud became vital for businesses in the process of digital transformation.

However, many companies are new to the whole cloud thing and they don’t really understand what those cloud services are all about. That said, understanding those services and the models they’re based on is essential for using the cloud to its fullest potential.

Moreover, knowing when to choose and which service to opt for is important for your business. Therefore, let’s have a look at what SaaS, PaaS and IaaS are, what are the differences, as well as how to choose a service for your business.

Cloud services explained

Cloud computing represents the on-demand availability of data storage and computing power that requires no management from the end user. The way it works is that there are various datacenters across the world that provide cloud services to users over the Internet, primarily based on virtualization.

Maintaining an entire infrastructure, software development and storage on-premises became costly and labor-intensive for companies and cloud provided a solution. There are three most basic models of cloud services:

  • SaaS – Software as a Service
  • PaaS – Platform as a Service
  • IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service

The concept behind the cloud was originally having a vast online storage space dedicated to storing, encrypting and managing business data.

Later, the cloud introduced a subscription model for various services companies can utilize. For example, you no longer need to install or purchase software with a unique key for every device you own. Instead, you simply subscribe to SaaS and use software for as long as you wish.

saas-paas-iaasSaaS vs. PaaS vs. IaaS


Software as a Service (SaaS) is the most commonly used service by companies today. Various types of software are available to you, and you can use them seamlessly with this model.

Available software is used over the Internet and managed by third-party vendors.

The majority of these apps are browser-based, which means no installation or downloads are required. You simply opt for an app and use it one every device your company owns. Here are some key features of using SaaS:

  • Apps are hosted on central locations, i.e. remote datacenters.
  • Software is delivered over the Internet.
  • The user doesn’t bother with updates, patches or infrastructure required to host applications.
  • Cost-effective use of the software.

So when is the ideal time to use SaaS? The simple answer is anytime you need a specific app. This is ideal for both short-term and long-term projects in your company where apps are necessary. If you no longer need to use an app, you can unsubscribe from the service.


Platform as a Service (PaaS) does what its name suggests; provides users with the right platforms to work on. For example, the cloud delivers a framework to your developers so that they can create and build in-house apps and software solutions.

Similar to SaaS, PaaS isn’t completely managed by third-parties. In this case, your vendor manages the platform, as well as the software and hardware needs required to maintain it and provide its services while you manage the data and applications you create.

A good example of PaaS is having managed Azure services available to your company so that you can create software and tackle business challenges. Here are some key features of PaaS:

  • A cost-effective way to develop in-house apps
  • Highly available platform
  • Scalability is seamless
  • No need to manage the platform
  • High customization options for developers
  • Automation and migration are included

When to use PaaS? If you can’t find a software solution that will meet your needs or the available solutions are a bit too much for your budget, you might consider creating your own solution. PaaS model is ideal for creating in-house solutions in a seamless and cost-effective way.


Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is one of the most beneficial services that the cloud has to offer. As its name suggests, IaaS allows you to subscribe to an entire infrastructure based on your business needs.

In other words, you can have any hardware requirement available to you over the cloud, which means no on-premise hardware or the staff needed to maintain it. So what’s included in IaaS?

Simply put, anything from storage solution to the server environment and computing power, and it’s all possible thanks to virtual machines. Your company is in full control of the infrastructure and you can scale accordingly based on your current business needs. Here are a few key features for IaaS:

  • Add or remove hardware based on business needs
  • Ensured seamless scalability for businesses
  • No in-house hardware
  • Effective storage solutions
  • Automate and deploy processing power, storage, virtual machines, etc.
  • On-demand resources

When to choose IaaS? IaaS service is ideal for any business that wishes to grow or scale down based on market conditions.

Remaining competitive today is essential for business success. That said, having hardware and storage needs available to you on-demand is vital for remaining competitive.

Moreover, you don’t need to physically manage any hardware; that’s up to the vendors in datacenters. Furthermore, the service is as cost-effective as it gets, mainly because you pay for what you currently use.

Cloud services provide unique advantages and benefits to companies of all shapes and sizes. The main difference between cloud services is in the amount of management delegated between users and vendors. Which service to opt for is entirely up to you and your business needs. All that remains is that you find a suitable vendor that will provide you with the services you need.




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