The Differences of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

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We always hear about these words: IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. Some of us may know what they mean, but what the differences?

In this article, I am going to introduce the concepts of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS and some differences of them.

Now many software use Cloud service, but Cloud service is a common name. It includes IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.

Concepts of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS

(1) IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) are online services that provide high-level APIs used to dereference various low-level details of underlying network infrastructure, like compute, storage, and networking. The AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Azure, OpenStack, ZStack and others are IaaS. IaaS is for Infrastructure and Network Architects.

This image shows the Global Public Cloud TOP 10 IaaS Service Providers Market Share in 2018.

top 10 iaas 2018

(2) PaaS (Platform as a Service) or Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS) or platform-based service is a category of cloud computing services that provides a platform allowing customers to develop, run, and manage applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure typically associated with developing and launching an app. The MySQL, Mangodb, RabbitMQ, Java, Node.js, CloudFoundry, OpenShift and others are PaaS.

PaaS is for Application Developers.

Here lists Top 10 PaaS Providers in 2019.

(1) Amazon Web Services (Aws) Elastic Beanstalk

(2) Oracle Cloud Platform (OCP)

(3) Google App Engine

(4) Microsoft Azure

(5) Salesforce aPaaS

(6) Red Hat OpenShift PaaS

(7) MENDIX aPaaS

(8) IBM Cloud Platform

(9) SAP Cloud Platform

(10) Engine Yard Cloud PaaS

(Source: 10 Top PaaS Providers for 2019)

(3) SaaS (Software as a Service) is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted, like Email, IM, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Almost every application can be SaaS.

SaaS is for End Users.

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What are the differences of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS?

IBM’s software architect Albert Barron used pizza as a metaphor to explain the problem. David Ng further extended it to make it more accurate and understandable.

Imagine that you are a restaurant operator and plan to do pizza business.

You can produce pizza yourself from start to finish, but it’s more troublesome and requires more preparation, so you decide to outsource some of the work and use the services of others. You have three options.

(1) Option 1: IaaS

Others provide kitchens, stoves, gas, and you use these infrastructures to bake your pizza.

(2) Option 2: PaaS

In addition to the infrastructure, others also offer pizza crusts. Just sprinkle your ingredients on the crust and let him bake it out for you. In other words, all you have to do is design the taste of the pizza (seafood pizza or chicken pizza), others provide platform services, let you implement your own design.

(3) Option 3: SaaS

Others make pizza directly, without your intervention, it is a finished product. All you have to do is sell it, pack it up, and print your own logo.

Corresponding to software development, this picture below shows you the differences.

iaas, paas, saas comparison

What are the benefits of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS?

(1) The Benefits of IaaS

There are many benefits to choosing IaaS, such as:

– The most flexible cloud computing model

– Easily automate the deployment of storage, networking, servers and processing power

– Purchase hardware based on consumption

– Enable customers to fully control their infrastructure

– Purchase resources as needed

– Highly scalable

(2) The Benefits of PaaS

Regardless of the size of your company, there are many advantages to using PaaS:

– Make application development simple and cost effective

– Scalable

– Highly available

– Enable developers to create custom applications without maintenance software

– Greatly reduced the amount of coding

– Automated business strategy

– Allow easy migration to mixed models

(3) The Benefits of SaaS

SaaS offers benefits to employees and companies by greatly reducing the time and money spent on tedious tasks such as installing, managing, and upgrading software. This allows technicians to spend more time dealing with more pressing issues within their business.

Do you know the differences of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS now? Leave your comment.


SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS: What’s The Difference and How To Choose, by Stephen Watts, Muhammad Raza

SaaS, PaaS and IaaS explained in one graphic, by David Ng

When to use SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, by Eamonn Colman

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