IaaS, PaaS and SaaS: The Definitive Guide (2020)

IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and other cloud service types still confused? In this blog post, I’ll provide you a simple explanation of cloud models and the unique benefits of each model. Nowadays, most of the businesses are moving to cloud services. If you’re not familiar with this topic, Cloud computing is renting resources, like CPU cycles or compute, storage space, networking on another company’s computer or servers. You need to pay for the resources you used, and the company providing these services is referred to as a cloud provider. Major cloud providers are AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. There are three major categories of a cloud.

Cloud Services

  1. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  2. Platform as a service (PaaS)
  3. Software as a service (SaaS)

Cloud Market in 2020 and Predictions for 2022

Industry analyst agency Gartner predicts that the worldwide public cloud services market is estimated to grow at 17% in 2020 to total $266.4 billion, up from $227.8 billion in 2019.

Public Cloud Service Revenue

IaaS is still the most active growing market segment and is expected to reach $50 billion in 2020. IaaS is forecast to grow by 24% year over year, which is the highest growth rate across all market segments.

Although much smaller than SaaS and IaaS, platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is forecast to reach $39.7 billion by the end of 2020. By 2022, Gartner expects PaaS to gain a total market size of $58.0 billion.

SaaS will remain the most significant industry and is forecast to grow by $116 billion, due to the scalability of subscription-based software.

What do IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS mean?

IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are the most frequently used words in the cloud industry. Let’s compare IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS to transport, with a simple analogy:Iaas Paas Saas

  • On-Premises You can compare on-premise with owning a car When you purchase a vehicle you need to be responsible for its maintenance, upgrading, and its security.
  • IaaS is like renting a car. When you rent a car, you have an option to choose a vehicle based on your budget and requirement, and drive it wherever you wish, but the car isn’t yours. And when you want to upgrade, just rent a different vehicle.
  • PaaS is like using a taxi, and here you don’t need to drive by yourself, you can simply tell the driver where you need to go and relax in the back seat.
  • SaaS is like using a bus for travel. Buses have assigned routes, and you don’t have any control over bus you just select the bus which can drop you to the desired location and you share the ride with other passengers.

These analogies will help you to understand the more detailed explanation better. Let’s define each of these terms.

Three Categories of Cloud Computing 

Categories of Cloud Computing 

IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service 

You get infrastructure, by that is meant virtual server, hard disk, network connection, that’s it. Everything else is up to you. By everything else is mean: configuring & installing everything, depending on your use case, operating system, extra software, doing updates of those, etc.

Perfect for: IT Administrators

IaaS is commonly used in the following cases:

  • Testing: It is easy to create environments for testing, and it is easy to dismantle system once testing is done, it allows us to bring new enhancements early to market. IaaS makes scaling improvement and testing environments, quick and economical.
  • Migrating workloads: IaaS is almost similarly managed as an on-premises infrastructure, and it provides an easy migration solution for moving existing apps to the cloud.
  • Backup and Recovery. IaaS is beneficial for managing unpredictable demand and steadily growing storage wants. IaaS can even simplify the planning and administration of backup and restoration techniques.
  • Virtual data centers: IaaS is a perfect answer for creating virtual data centers for giant enterprises that require an extremely scalable, environment-friendly and secure server environment.
  • Data Analysis and Mining: When you need to analyze an extensive database, you undoubtedly want outstanding computing power. This is exactly the place IaaS comes into the image because it affords probably the most affordable approach to get it finished. Organizations can even use infrastructure as a resource for the purpose of data analysis and mining.
  • Beneficial for Small Enterprises: IaaS is extremely helpful for small companies that haven’t kept any dedicated funds for creating their own infrastructure. IaaS may also be efficient in case you are running a rapidly growing organization. Even if you’re demands are variable, IaaS can get the job done for you very quickly.
  • Beneficial for Big Enterprises: If you’re running a big organization that wants whole control over key infrastructure but needs to pay just for the services used. It is most fitted for businesses that wish to transform their present workload to the cloud. Big corporations having a huge variety of IT workers will find the IaaS platform more appropriate over others.
  • Software licenses: Some cloud providers allow users to reuse there software licenses, such as windows licenses which eventually reduces the cost.

Benefits Of IaaS

  • Pay Per Use: In IaaS service users have to pay only for the resources they are using, and they can add or remove resources whenever they want.
  • Scalability: The IaaS makes sure that the resources are available to the customers when they need them. Therefore, there are not any delays caused in the expansion of capacity, and there’s no wastage of the unused resources.
  • Save Time And Cost: Cloud service provider is liable for setting up and maintaining the underlying physical resources. It saves a variety of effort and time of the customers and ensures affordability.
  • Location Independence: Users engaged in the IaaS environment can access it from wherever on the earth through the web. Nevertheless, they must stick to the security protocol of the cloud provider.
  • Unaffected Service: There is no single level of failure in IaaS. Even though anyone aspect of the resources fails, the service will remain constant and unaffected.
  • Flexibility: One of the best advantages of IaaS include the flexibility to scale the resources quickly based on the needs of the users.
  • Faster Time To Market: Competition is a major factor in the enterprise sector and faster time to market is among the greatest methods to stay forward of the competitors. As the IaaS environment ensures scalability and flexibility, the enterprise organizations can gear up and get their work achieved quicker.
  • Focus On Business Growth: Business owners usually have to spend so much time, cash and power on making know-how related decisions and recruiting workers for managing and maintaining their IT infrastructure. By choosing a service primarily based IaaS model, enterprise organizations can focus their time and resources on where they’re required.

Disadvantages of IaaS:

  • Organizations need to give enough amount of training to their IT staff to make them familiar with the management of complete infrastructure.
  • Sometimes, IaaS is extra costly than other cloud platforms as you have to take the complete infrastructure on lease.
  • The IT staff of the organization must take care of the problems related to IT slack. Besides this, IaaS demands a certain degree of technical expertise and time from developers that may increase the overall cost of the organization. All these factors make the expenses of IaaS extremely unpredictable.
  • Any type of vendor outages means customers can’t access any form of data until the services resume. Any issues occurred associated with the virtual machine can also be the responsibility of the consumer.

Examples of IaaS

The best-known IaaS solutions vendors are Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Amazon Web Services ( AWS ), Cisco Metapod, DigitalOcean, Linode and Rackspace.

PaaS – Platform as a Service 

 You don’t have to do some of the things from IaaS, for example, security updates. There is usually some automated way to deploy & configure your application. For example, when deploying a web application using PaaS, you don’t have to install an operating system, web server, or even system updates. Similarily you can directly use SQL Server, MYSQL for databases.

Perfect for: Software Developers

PaaS is often used within the following situations:

  • Development framework: PaaS supplies a framework that developers can build upon to develop or customize cloud-based applications. PaaS lets developers create apps using built-in software programs. Cloud features such as scalability, high-availability, and multi-tenant functionality are included, lowering the amount of coding that developers must do. 
  • Analytics or Business intelligence: Tools supplied as a service with PaaS permit organizations to research and mine their data. They can discover insights and patterns, and predict outcomes to enhance enterprise decisions such as forecasting, product design, and funding returns.
  • Useful for Software Developers: PaaS is efficient for software program developers who need to dedicate extra time on coding, deploying and customizing purposes. It is extremely helpful when huge numbers of software program developers are working on a single project. If you need to develop your own custom-made application, then the PaaS cloud model is the preferred selection over others.
  • Suited for an enterprise having in house apps: PaaS gives an ideal environment for developing, managing, testing and customizing apps that makes it a really perfect selection for software program companies. PaaS is the popular choice if you need to add another vendor to the process. It is perfectly appropriate for companies having in house apps.

PaaS Benefits

  • Reduce Coding Time: The time and effort put in coding can be reduced for the developers in terms of coding new applications as PaaS includes pre-coded software components.
  • Development For Multiple Platforms: With PaaS, developers can create software that can be utilized on a number of platforms, including mobile phones. PaaS service providers will offer you software development options for a number of platforms like cellular devices, computer systems, and browsers, thereby creating cross-platform apps quickly and simply.
  • No Physical Infrastructure Required: As developers can lease the virtual PaaS infrastructure, cost-effectiveness is ensured. There is no need to put money into buying any new hardware and staff for managing it.
  • Development For Beginners: With the assistance of the features offered by PaaS, it’s possible for anyone to create an application just by utilizing the web browser with the help of the one-click functionality.
  • Managing The Application Lifecycle: PaaS gives all the required options for supporting the whole lifecycle of an internet application right from creating, testing and deploying to maintaining and updating the app within the built-in environment.
  • Collaboration Of Teams: With the assistance of the internet, developers based in several geographical areas can collaborate and work collectively on the same software.
  • Flexibility: Customers have full control over the tools which are provided with their PaaS platforms and so they can develop a platform that fits their wants.
  • Security: Security is offered that includes data safety, backups, and restoration.

Disadvantages of PaaS:

  • The client doesn’t have control over the virtual machine on which your data is stored.
  • When compared with Infrastructure as a Service, you will see that PaaS options are much less versatile.
  • PaaS may incur you unexpected charges depend upon your requirement.
  • It offers low customer control and less flexibility than IaaS.
  • PaaS cloud model does require basic coding expertise and programming knowledge to deploy it efficiently into the system.
  • You might face a couple of data security concerns while deploying the PaaS cloud model.
  • In certain cases, compatibility issues for infrastructure might be noticed as you can’t make each single component cloud-enabled.
  • You have to depend on the support of the vendor heavily.

Examples of PaaS

The best-known PaaS solutions vendors are SQL Server in Azure, Google App Engine, Amazon AWS, Windows Azure Cloud Services, Heroku, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Apache Stratos and OpenShift.

SaaS – Software as a Service

 You just use the provided software (on the web). You don’t have to install anything, you just log in and use that software which has mostly some specific use case. For Example, Office 365, Skype.

Perfect for: End-Users

SaaS is usually used within the following scenarios:

  • Startups or small firms that have to launch eCommerce quickly and don’t have time for server issues or software program
  • Short-term projects that require fast, simple, and reasonably priced collaboration
  • Applications that aren’t needed too often, such as tax software program
  • Applications that need both web and cellular access
  • For projects which have short term targets and require collaboration up to a large extent and for applications that require mobile as well as web access.
  • It is very suitable for companies that have limited IT employees.
  • SaaS could be helpful if you’re planning to make use of apps on a provisional basis.
  • If a company wants to launch a software program within a quick time, it is best for replacing a particular type of enterprise software program.
  • SaaS options can be utilized for private objectives such as e-mail services, cloud storage purpose and file administration solutions.

Benefits of SaaS

  • No Hardware Costs: No hardware price has to be incurred because the processing power is offered by the cloud provider.
  • Scalable Usage: It is feasible to access the additional storage and services on demand without the necessity of installing any new software program or hardware.
  • Accessible From Any Location: There is not any restriction of accessing the software program with just one location; customers can access their applications through any system with internet on it.
  • No Upfront Costs: The person can use the applications right away after subscription.
  • Automatic Updates: Updates are usually free, and they’re executed automatically by the software program provider.
  • Customizing & White Labeling The Apps: Users have the power to customize the applications to suit their needs and branding necessities.
  • Pay Per Use: The ‘pay-per-use’ methodology is very useful when the software program is required just for a short time period.
  • Cross-Device Compatibility: Users can access the applications by means of any web-enabled system like desktops, good phones, and tablets.
  • Mobilize Your Workforce: Users can access the SaaS apps and data by means of any internet-connected system. There is not any need to worry about developing apps for various kinds of computer systems and devices as this is already carried out by the service provider.

Disadvantages of SaaS:

  • In a number of cases, employees may access the application of SaaS without taking approval from IT, which means the data stored is much less secure.
  • The client doesn’t have any control over the hardware components that looks after the data.
  • Only a cloud provider has access to parameters of software that a consumer is using.
  • Sometimes customers face problems over a range of services provided by cloud providers.
  •  You must have adequate web connectivity to avail services of SaaS for your corporation,
  • Sometimes, you may find it troublesome to integrate SaaS applications with the software or software program which your organization is utilizing.
  • Users may need to pay subscription fees regardless that they have accessed services on an occasional basis or by no means before.
  • In the case of SaaS, there’s also a high probability of vendor lock-in.

Examples of SaaS

The best-known SaaS solutions vendors are Teams, Skype, Google Apps, Dropbox, Gmail, Salesforce, Cisco WebEx, Concur, GoToMeeting, Office365.

Management Responsibilities

One thing to know is that these categories are layers on top of each other. For instance, PaaS provides a layer on top of IaaS by offering a level of abstraction. The abstraction has the advantage of hiding the details that you could not care about so that you can get to coding quicker. However, one side of the abstraction is that you’ve much less management over the underlying hardware. The following illustration exhibits a list of resources that you just manage and that your service provider manages in each cloud service category.

Management Responsibiity

  • IaaS requires probably the most user management of all of the cloud services. The user is responsible for managing operating systems, data, and apps.
  • PaaS requires much less user administration. The cloud provider manages the OS, and the consumer is responsible for the applications and data they run and store.
  • SaaS requires the least quantity of administration. And the cloud provider is responsible for managing everything, and the end-user simply uses the software program.

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS: Which Cloud solution is best for You?

It’s time to choose which cloud-based service you need. In reality, the selection totally will depend on your business objectives, so, first of all, consider what your company wants. Here are some common business needs that may easily be met with the appropriate cloud service:

If your business wants out-of-the-box software program (CRM, e-mail, collaboration tools, and so forth.), select SaaS.

If a company requires a platform for developing software program products, choose Platform as a Service.

And if your company wants a virtual machine, go for Infrastructure as a Service.


After going by all the information mentioned above, you’ll understand the significance of cloud services and why it’s so common among businesses. The advantages of cloud options are extremely excessive, and no surprise why the cloud providers business is showing such drastic growth. The choice of choosing any one model out of the above-mentioned listing is totally primarily based on your online business requirement and the sort of task you need to execute.

Cloud computing has given birth to a no. of technical terms; however, there’s nothing extra essential than IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. They are thought-about as three important pillars that might be supporting cloud computing. The remaining choice out of these three models completely relies upon your online business targets. Most of the businesses even end up utilizing all three options, whereas few organizations prefer to stay with one model. So, to begin with, listing down what your company needs and then try to match your all requirements with the services offered by three cloud-based models. The solution that fulfills the utmost number of objectives might be an ideal alternative to your online enterprise.

It is extremely necessary to know the key differences between them. Whether you might be searching for cloud mode for storage purposes, an effective platform to develop custom-made apps or want to have complete management over infrastructure. It is advisable to select the correct cloud provider. No matter which way you select, migrating to cloud services is the demand of the scenario to maintain your online business properly organized. You could go for a single cloud computing model or seek services of all three models. It depends upon the complexity and size of your organization.

Feel free to share and comment, And if you have any doubts mail us at cloudmartial@gmail.com

Sources: Azure Fundamentals, Gartner.com

Happy Reading!!😉

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