IaaS, PaaS, SaaS and How They All Fit Together
Generally, “as-a-service” is a prefix used for a wide variety of cloud computing services offered to your business by a third-party provider, allowing you to focus on what is most important to you, like your relationships with customers, shareholders, and staff. The main advantage of cloud computing is that it leaves you with as little on-premises infrastructure to manage as possible.
Today, as cloud services become increasingly important, nearly every company globally uses at least one cloud service. Although you may have heard of some of the benefits of cloud computing, you may wonder what service is best for your business: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
While each type of cloud service has unique benefits, you need to identify their key differences so you can choose what works best for your company.
This article covers each of the three main cloud computing models above, outlines their benefits, and informs you how you can use one or all of them to build a computing environment to meet all your corporate needs. We also offer a few use cases and examples of each model to make it all easier to understand.
PaaS – Platform as a Service
Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) marks another step in moving away from full, on-premises infrastructure. PaaS
means that your provider hosts both your hardware and software on its infrastructure while delivering the platform as a solution stack, an integrated solution, or as a service provided online.
Platform as a Service (PaaS), also known as Cloud platform services, is essential for applications and development scenarios by providing your developers with a platform to customize their applications.
PaaS helps you to make your development, app testing and deployment quick, cost-effective, and straightforward. A third-party operator or enterprise operation can manage operating systems and handle networking, servers, storage, virtualization, and even the PaaS software through this technology.
Enterprise Platform-as-a-Service solutions offer your line-of-business software developers or vendors a way to manage your computing infrastructure, including platforms installed on top of virtualized hardware to centralized IT operations. Delivery of enterprise PaaS is often via a hybrid computing model that utilizes both on-premise infrastructure and public IaaS.
In the same way you may create Microsoft Excel macros, PaaS lets you develop new applications using software built into the middleware (PaaS). All applications that you make using PaaS inherit all cloud characteristics: multi-tenancy, scalability, SaaS enablement, high availability, and much more.
Example of PaaS: Apprenda
Typical Use Case: If you want to increase your team’s productivity while lowering how quickly you launch products or services.
SaaS – Software as a Service
Cloud application services, also known as Software-as-a-service (SaaS), are the most comprehensive set of cloud-based computing services because a SaaS provider delivers an entire managed application delivered over the internet.
Software as a Service represents the largest cloud market at the moment, and it is expanding swiftly.
Using the web, SaaS delivers applications that third party companies manage, with interfaces accessed on the client-side.
Most SaaS applications run directly out of a web browser and do not require any installations or downloads, though some may need plugins.
Because of SaaS’s web delivery model, there is no need for you to install applications and run them on your individual computers. What’s more, it is simple for you to streamline your support and maintenance because your data, operating systems, storage, networking, servers, middleware, applications, and virtualization are the software vendor’s responsibility.
Among the most common SaaS solutions are customer relationship management, healthcare solutions, and email and collaboration suites. To gain a competitive advantage, many large enterprises that were not traditionally considered software vendors have begun offering SaaS as an additional revenue stream.
Examples of SaaS: Cisco WebEx, Citrix GoToMeeting, Salesforce, Workday, Concur, Google Apps, Microsoft 365
Typical use case: Replacing traditional desktop software
IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service
Infrastructure-as-a-Service, abbreviated as IaaS, is the first step away from your business’ on-premises IT infrastructure. IaaS is a pay-as-you-go solution offered by a third party that provides your company with infrastructure that includes virtualization and storage as you need them, served via the cloud and accessed through the internet.
IaaS solutions are also known as Cloud Infrastructure Services. They are ideal if you want to avoid purchasing your hardware outright and instead opt for access to hosted servers and consumption of hosted services in a similar way to utilities like electricity.
Cloud infrastructure services provide you with the base infrastructure upon which you can install your chosen platform. However, you remain responsible for updating your computing platforms whenever there are new releases.
When you only choose to use IaaS, without SaaS or PaaS, you and your team are responsible for managing data, applications, and operating systems. However, your IaaS provider handles your networking, storage, servers, virtualization, and hard drives.
What’s more, most IaaS solution providers now offer you services that are above the virtual layer, including databases and messaging queues as part of solutions that some technology analysts label as IaaS+.
IaaS gives your business the flexibility to invest only in the components you need and quickly scale up or down as necessary. Due to no maintenance cost and low overheads, IaaS makes business computing affordable to businesses of all sizes.
Examples of IaaS: Cisco Metapod, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Joyent, and Google Compute Engine (GCE).
Typical use case: IaaS can help you extend your data center infrastructure to handle temporary workloads over a busy period.
The Final Word
Having your IT infrastructure on-premises is probably the most significant responsibility for your IT management team and your users. When you house all your hardware and software in your office, your team must install, update, manage, or replace components as they are needed. However, with cloud computing, you can allocate the routine management of one, some, or all of your business’ IT infrastructure to a third party. This means your talent can focus on growing your business instead of worrying about your computing systems’ stability, security, and efficiency.
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