IaaS vs SaaS vs PaaS: Introduction to Cloud Computing Models

Last Updated on May 20, 2023

IaaS va SaaS vs PaaS

The term “cloud” describes how, where, and maybe more crucially, where data isn’t kept. Because data is kept remotely on numerous servers rather than just locally on one device, the cloud enables applications and services to run across the internet. The three main subcategories of cloud computing are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Utilizing a network of several servers to host, store, manage, and process data online in the cloud is known as cloud computing.

In the past, the majority of an organization’s IT infrastructure was located on-site, and clouds were simply fluffy white objects in the sky. Nowadays, practically all of your systems and operations may be run on cloud-based platforms. They give three contemporary, yet distinct, explanations of how you may use the cloud for your company.

It is crucial to keep in mind that the majority of companies utilizing cloud-based platforms combine SaaS and IaaS cloud computing service models, and may also hire developers to build apps using PaaS.

Related: The 5 Cloud Deployment Models (with their pros and cons)

The 3 Types of Cloud Computing Service Models Explained

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service refers to on-demand access to computer infrastructure housed in the cloud, including servers, storage space, and networking resources. Customers can deploy, configure, and use IaaS resources in a manner similar to how they would use on-premises hardware. The cloud service provider is different in that it hosts, controls, and maintains the computational and physical resources in its own data centers. Customers who utilize IaaS access the hardware through an internet connection and pay on a subscription or pay-as-you-go basis.

IaaS customers typically have a choice between bare metal servers on dedicated (unshared) physical hardware or virtual machines (VMs) housed on shared physical hardware (the cloud service provider maintains virtualization). Customers can use a graphical dashboard or application programming interfaces (APIs) to provision, configure, and manage servers and infrastructure resources.

IaaS Characteristics

There are several characteristics of Infrastructure as a Service that differentiate it from other types of cloud computing services:


IaaS typically provides users with a self-service portal or API through which they can provision and manage their own infrastructure resources. This allows users to have complete control over the infrastructure they use.

Pay-per-use pricing

With IaaS, users pay only for the infrastructure resources they use, rather than having to commit to a long-term contract or upfront payment. This can make it more flexible and budget-friendly for organizations.


IaaS allows users to easily scale their infrastructure resources up or down to meet changing business demands. This is especially useful for organizations that experience sudden spikes in traffic or need to handle large amounts of data.


IaaS gives users a high level of control over their infrastructure resources, allowing them to customize their infrastructure to meet their specific needs and requirements.

Shared infrastructure

IaaS providers typically use a shared infrastructure model, in which multiple users share the same physical servers and other infrastructure resources. This allows IaaS providers to offer their services at a lower cost than if each user had their own dedicated infrastructure.

When to Use IaaS

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from IaaS. It gives you total control over your infrastructure and uses a pay-per-use business model, which works with the majority of budgets.

With the majority of IaaS systems, you have access to ongoing support and the flexibility to scale up your needs whenever you need to. IaaS usage is a great method to secure your company’s future.

Read More: Beginner’s Guide to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Cloud-hosted, ready-to-use application software is known as SaaS (sometimes referred to as cloud application services). To use a full program from within a web browser, desktop client, or mobile app, users must pay a monthly or annual price. The SaaS vendor hosts and manages the application together with all of the infrastructure needed to deliver it, including servers, storage, networking, middleware, application software, and data storage.

All software updates and patches are handled by the vendor, frequently behind the customers’ backs. As part of a service-level agreement (SLA), the vendor often guarantees a degree of availability, performance, and security. Customers can pay extra to add more users and data storage as needed. Today, SaaS is almost probably utilized by everybody who uses a computer or mobile device.

SaaS Characteristics

SaaS is typically delivered on a subscription basis, with users paying a recurring fee to use the software. There are several characteristics of SaaS that differentiate it from other types of software delivery models:


SaaS is typically accessed via a web browser, which means users can access the software from any device with an internet connection. This makes it convenient for users to access the software from anywhere, at any time.

Subscription-based pricing

SaaS is typically delivered on a subscription basis, with users paying a recurring fee to use the software. This can make it more predictable and budget-friendly for organizations compared to traditional software licenses, which often require an upfront payment.

Multi-tenant architecture

SaaS applications are typically designed to be used by multiple organizations or users, with each user having their own instance of the software. This multi-tenant architecture allows SaaS providers to efficiently manage and maintain the software for all users.

Centralized data management

With SaaS, all data is typically stored and managed by the provider. This can help streamline data management and reduce the burden on users to maintain and back up their own data.

Automatic updates

SaaS providers typically handle all software updates and maintenance, which means users don’t have to worry about installing updates or patches themselves. This can help ensure that users always have access to the latest version of the software.

When to Use SaaS

When you want an application to function effectively and dependably with little assistance from you, SaaS platforms are appropriate.

Consider the email server you use. You want to be sure that you won’t need to mess with your email settings or be concerned about upgrades in order to send and receive emails in the future. What if you neglected to upgrade your email server and it crashed? In the market of today, that is just not an option.

The likelihood of something going wrong while using SaaS programs to manage your email inbox is extremely low, and if it did, the SaaS provider would be responsible for finding a fix. Not only are you paying for the SaaS applications and/or products, but also for your peace of mind.

Read More: Basic Things to Know About Software as a Service (SaaS)

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS, or platform as a service, takes full on-premise infrastructure management one step further. An internet connection is used to deliver the platform to the user as an integrated solution, solution stack, or service. This is where the supplier hosts the hardware and software on its own infrastructure.

PaaS enables users to create, run, and manage their own apps without having to create and maintain the infrastructure or platform often associated with the process, making it primarily beneficial for developers and programmers.

You create and manage your apps by writing the code, but without having to deal with hardware upkeep or software updates. You are given the necessary environment to build and deploy.

PaaS is a technique for programmers to design and adapt a framework for their web-based applications. In order to design their apps, developers can employ pre-built software components, which reduces the amount of code they need to write from scratch.

PaaS Characteristics

PaaS is typically used by developers to build and deploy custom applications without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure and infrastructure management. There are several characteristics of PaaS that differentiate it from other types of cloud computing services:

Development environment

PaaS provides users with a development environment for building, testing, and deploying applications. This can include tools for coding, debugging, and collaboration, as well as pre-configured infrastructure resources such as databases and servers.

Integration with other services

PaaS often integrates with other cloud services, such as databases and storage, making it easy for developers to build and deploy applications that rely on these services.


PaaS allows developers to easily scale their applications to meet changing business demands. This is especially useful for applications that experience sudden spikes in traffic or need to handle large amounts of data.

Automatic updates

PaaS providers typically handle all platform updates and maintenance, which means developers don’t have to worry about installing updates or patches themselves. This can help ensure that developers always have access to the latest version of the platform.

Shared infrastructure

PaaS providers utilize a shared infrastructure model, where multiple users share physical servers and infrastructure resources. PaaS providers can offer services at a lower cost compared to individual dedicated infrastructures.

When to Use PaaS

PaaS is frequently the fastest and most economical solution for a developer to create a special application.

PaaS relieves developers of tasks such as software upgrades and security patches, enabling focus on creative app development. Instead, they may invest their time and minds in developing, testing, and launching the app.

Read More: Beginner’s Guide to Platform as a Service (PaaS)


Ultimately, what are the differences between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS?

  • IaaS provides maximum hosting freedom for tailored applications and a versatile data center for data storage.

  • PaaS is often built on top of IaaS to eliminate the need for system administration. You can concentrate on developing apps rather than managing infrastructure thanks to it.

  • SaaS provides pre-configured, out-of-the-box solutions to address specific company needs (such as a website or email). The majority of contemporary SaaS platforms are created on IaaS or PaaS platforms.

The demand for on-premise hosting has decreased as IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS become more widespread. To remain at the forefront, businesses must transition to the cloud as business and technology merge.

These cloud delivery models give users choices, flexibility, and options that on-premise hosting simply cannot provide.

Read: How to Understand Programming Jargon for Newbies

Before You Go…

Hey, thank you for reading this blog to the end. I hope it was helpful. Let me tell you a little bit about Nicholas Idoko Technologies. We help businesses and companies build an online presence by developing web, mobile, desktop, and blockchain applications.

We also help aspiring software developers and programmers learn the skills they need to have a successful career. Take your first step to becoming a programming boss by joining our Learn To Code academy today!

Be sure to contact us if you need more information or have any questions! We are readily available.


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