SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS: Comprehensive Explanation, Examples & Resources

SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS: Comprehensive Explanation, Examples & Resources

As you step into the world of the e-commerce domain, the three important acronyms that you will see a comparison around are SaaS vs. PaaS vs. IaaS. If you are considering switching your business to the cloud, it is more important than ever to understand the differences and advantages of the vario


As you step into the world of the e-commerce domain, the three important acronyms that you will see a comparison around are SaaS vs. PaaS vs. IaaS. If you are considering switching your business to the cloud, it is more important than ever to understand the differences and advantages of the various cloud services.

According to Statista, by 2020, the market of global public cloud software as a service (SaaS) is forecast to reach 157 billion U.S. dollars in size. In fact, this is more than double than it was in 2014. From a similar report by StrategyAnalytics, it is said that by 2021, the corporate mobile SaaS market will reach $7.4 billion.

Nonetheless, the cloud is a hot topic and there are usually three models of cloud service to compare namely,

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

Let me begin defining each of these terms, some related examples, mode of delivery, advantages, and limitations.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

saas vs paas vs iaas

SaaS is often deemed as one of the most commonly used options in the cloud market. A majority of the SaaS applications run directly via your web browser. Simply put, they would not require any heavy installations or downloads to run. 

And because of its web delivery model, the vendors manage all technical issues without having to download it additionally.

SaaS Advantages

  • It cuts down money and time spent on cumbersome tasks such as installing and upgrading the software.
  • It can be easily hosted on a remote server.
  • With this, you can access all the data over the internet only.
  • As a user, you will not have to take the burden of updating the software or hardware behind it.
  • You have the leverage to use the software from anywhere, anytime.
  • Most of the SaaS providers operate on a subscription model with a fixed amount. So, you will not have to worry about any hidden monetary surprises at the end.
  • It also provides brilliant solutions that are simple to set up.

SaaS Examples

SaaS Limitations

  • Less Customization – As the one-size-fits-all policy has become redundant, the journey of SaaS apps offer minimal customizable capabilities. You as a user could be restricted to specific performance, integrations, and functionalities as offered by the vendor.
  • Data Security under Question Mark – Since, a huge volume of data exchanges with the backend data center, this might result in a rather questionable form of compliance and security. To top the load is the addition of the significant cost of migrating copious data.
  • And the Downtime too – Unplanned or planned maintenance, sporadic network issues, or cyber-attacks affects the performance of the SaaS apps.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS finds its use in many applications, while it provides cloud components to certain software. It strives to deliver a framework for develops that they can use to create customizable apps.

Additionally, the delivery mode here is quite alike SaaS, with instead a difference of delivering over the internet, it tends to deliver over a platform for software creation. Further, it allows the businesses to design apps that build into the PaaS with unique software facets.

PaaS Advantages

  • It is highly scalable and easily available
  • It renders the cost-effective deployment of apps
  • With this developers can customize apps without the headache of maintaining the software
  • It runs on virtualization technology and easy to function
  • It saves a lot of money from the developers and they don’t have to write extensive codes
saas vs paas vs iaas

PaaS Examples

PaaS Limitations

  • Operational Issues – Some of the customizable cloud operations with the management automation workflow might not actually apply to PaaS solutions, as the platform itself limits operational capabilities for end-users.
  • Runtime Limitations – The optimization of the PaaS solutions are not for the framework and language of your choice. Some of the versions might not be available to perform optimally. Also, the user would not be able to develop a custom dependency on the platform.
  • Complex integrations – Moreover, it is challenging to connect the data stored within an onsite data center as it can affect the services and applications that adapt to the PaaS offering.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS is a fully self-reliant service for accessing networking, storage, and monitoring computers. Over and above, it permits businesses to buy resources on-demand and as required rather than buying the hardware.

IaaS mostly delivers through virtualization technology. Nonetheless, the clients can still access their servers and storage directly, although though a virtual data center in the cloud.

IaaS Advantages

  • By far the most flexible cloud computing model
  • In this, the user has complete control of his infrastructure
  • It is highly scalable
  • The resources can be bought as required
  • Multiple users can use a single piece of hardware
  • It is dynamic and well-structured

IaaS Examples

IaaS Limitations

saas vs paas vs iaas
  • Additional Resources – Internal training and additional resources are required for the workforce. This will teach them to effectively manage the infrastructure. Else, it can lead to improper management and monitoring of the workforce.
  • Security Threats – when the user is in charge of the data and the apps, security threats can still be sourced from the host too. System vulnerabilities might also leak data interaction within the unauthorized entities and host infrastructure.

What’s the difference and how to choose?

IaaS vs PaaS

While it is IaaS that offers the admins with more control over operating systems, it is usually PaaS that renders users with greater flexibility and ease of operation. Further, IaaS helps base the infrastructure of a cloud-based technology. On the contrary, PaaS helps developers build custom apps that can be delivered over the cloud itself.

Simply put, imagine IaaS as the foundation of building a cloud-based service. Be it software, content, or the website to sell a physical product. Whereas, PaaS helps the developers to build apps without actually having to host them.

PaaS vs. SaaS

In the bigger picture, PaaS products are used as the foundation for building new apps on top of the platform’s network. SaaS products are controlled by another company. Right from the applications to the data till the servers.

Moreover, PaaS is better for companies looking to build a solution on an existing network. And SaaS is best for companies looking for a really easy way of computing and usability.

XaaS: Everything as a Service

One term you’re likely seeing more frequently in the world is XaaS or Everything as a Service. XaaS refers to the highly-individualized, responsive, data-driven products, and offerings that are fully controlled by customers.

And the data they provide via everyday IoT-powered sources like cell phones and thermostats. By using that data generated over the cloud, businesses can innovate faster, deepen their customer stickiness, and sustain the sale beyond the initial product purchase.

Final Take

When it comes to SaaS vs. PaaS vs. IaaS, you must know that each of the cloud models offers unique functionalities and facets. As an organization, you must know the differences and how to implement them.

Moreover, whether you are looking for cloud-based software for multiple storage options. Or if you wish to create customizable applications or you want to take complete control over the entire infrastructure – there is a cloud service for each one of these.

Nevertheless, the comparison between these cloud services will be in the air. No matter whichever option you prefer, migrating to the cloud seems to be the future of the technology and business ahead. As they render the user with the flexibility, choice and comfort that usually on-premise cannot provide – at least not all of it.

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Why the SaaS Business Model Is Going to Dominate the B2B Tech World – Is the SaaS business model going to dominate the Tech world or it is going to take a backseat? Find out here.

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