SaaS vs. PaaS vs. IaaS: What’s the Difference?

Cloud computation and deployment is an emerging technology utilized in almost every business and global enterprise. It is a wide concept that covers a big portion of the online territory.

If you want to switch your business to the cloud for infrastructure or application development, it is important to know the advantages and differences between the different types of cloud services.

The three popular cloud service models are PaaS, SaaS, and IaaS. So, this article will give you a complete insight into these three cloud services and their differences.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

In the cloud market, SaaS or Software as a Service is probably the most used option. It makes use of the internet for delivering apps.

A third-party vendor manages these applications for its users. Most of the SaaS apps can operate in the web browser. So, there is no need to download or install on the client side.

SaaS delivery:

Because of the web delivery model of SaaS, there is no need to house IT staff to download and install apps on every single computer. SaaS development Agencies can come to your help when you need SaaS delivery.

SaaS allows the vendors to manage exponential technical problems like middleware, storage, data, and servers. It leads to streamlined maintenance and supports the business as well.

Advantages of SaaS:

SaaS offers several advantages to companies and employees. It reduces the money and time invested in daunting and tedious tasks like managing, upgrading, and installing software.

Thus, the technical team gets enough time to take care of issues and pressing matters inside the organizations.

Characteristics of SaaS:

The characteristics of SaaS are given below:

  • SaaS is managed centrally.
  • The users can access SaaS on the web.
  • The users do not have the responsibility regarding software or hardware updates.
  • It is hosted on a remote server.

When to use SaaS?

There are certain situations where you need to use SaaS for getting better outcomes. It can be put to use in short-term projects that need fast, convenient, and budget-friendly collaborations.

Small companies or startups that do not have the time for software or issues related to the server can take the benefits of SaaS for the quick launching of their sites.

SaaS can be used for apps that require access to both mobile and web. There are a few SaaS-like applications that fail to fulfill your business purposes. So, in such cases, it’s obligatory to use SaaS.

PaaS (Platform as a Service)

Besides being majorly used for apps, PaaS also provides off-cloud elements to some software. It renders a framework to the developers, which they can develop upon. The developers can make use of PaaS for making customized apps.

A third-party provider or enterprise can manage all servers, networking, and storage-related tasks. The developers need to just look after the applications’ management.

PaaS delivery:

PaaS’ delivery model is somehow similar to the model of SaaS. It is just that PaaS provides a platform that can be used for software creation instead of offering the software across the internet like SaaS. Through the internet, this platform is delivered.

It allows developers to have the freedom of developing the software, and they do not need to be worried about software updates, infrastructure, OS, and storage.

Businesses can design and make apps on PaaS by using special software elements. These apps are, at times, referred to as middleware. These applications are scalable and have high availability as they have some cloud characteristics.

Advantages of PaaS:

Regardless of the company size, PaaS offers multiple advantages. PaaS is scalable and is highly available.

Developers can easily customize applications without worrying about its frequent maintenance. It requires less amount of coding and facilitates convincing and budget-oriented deployment and development of applications.

Easy migration to the hybrid model and business policy automation contributes to the benefits as well.

Characteristics of PaaS:

Some of the characteristics of PaaS are given below:

  • PaaS integrates databases and web services.
  • A lot of users can access it through the exact same app.
  • It offers a wide array of services to facilitate the testing, deployment, and development of applications.
  • Based on the business changes, you can easily scale up your resources.

When to use PaaS?

It is not only beneficial to utilize PaaS, but sometimes it becomes necessary to use it. PaaS can efficiently streamline workflows, even when numerous developers work on a single development project.

If other vendors are included, PaaS can offer excellent flexibility and speed up the entire process. It is particularly beneficial for creating customized apps.

Additionally, it is cost-efficient and simplifies certain challenges that arise while making or deploying an application.

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

IaaS or Infrastructure as a service is composed of highly automated and scalable computing resources. It can be used for monitoring and accessing computers, storage, networks, and other utilities and services.

The businesses can purchase resources as-needed and on-demand rather than purchasing hardware outright.

IaaS delivery:

A cloud computing infrastructure is developed by IaaS through virtualization technology. The infrastructures include servers, OS, storage, and network. The cloud servers are given to the organizations via an API or a dashboard.

It further gives the IaaS clients all control over the infrastructure. Just like the traditional data center, IaaS offers the same abilities and technologies, and there is no requirement for physical management and maintenance of it.

The storage and servers can be accessed directly by the clients of IaaS, but all of these are outsourced via a “virtual data center” inside the cloud. IaaS clients hold the responsibility for managing components like runtime, apps, OSes, data, and middleware.

The IaaS providers manage the servers, networking, storage, virtualization, and hard drives. Some of the providers even facilitate services beyond the layer of virtualization, like message queuing and databases.

Advantages of IaaS:

IaaS, being the best among all flexible cloud computing models, comes with numerous benefits for users. IaaS is scalable, and resources can be purchased as per requirement. It facilitates easy automation of deployment of networking, processing power, storage, and servers.

Based on the consumption, hardware can be purchased. The clients have overall control over the infrastructure.

Characteristics of IaaS:

Some of the characteristics of IaaS are given below:

  • The cost depends on the consumption.
  • The resources are available.
  • IaaS provides highly scalable services.
  • The organization can have total control over the infrastructure.
  • IaaS is flexible and dynamic.
  • There exist numerous users on a single hardware.

When to use IaaS?

Just like PaaS and SaaS, there are some particular situations when IaaS can prove to be most efficient. You can use IaaS anytime when you are not sure of a new app’s demands as it offers sufficient flexibility and scalability.

Small companies and startups can use IaaS to avoid money and time investment in buying and making software and hardware.

The larger companies can use IaaS for retaining overall control over their infrastructure and applications; however, they like to buy only what they need. As the needs of companies evolve, to encounter drastic growth, they can use IaaS for changing particular software and hardware conveniently.


Each of the cloud models, SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, offers particular functionalities and features. But you must understand the differences.

If you need cloud-based software for storage purposes, you may use SaaS. If you need a smooth platform for creating customized apps, opt for PaaS. And if you need total control over your infrastructure without the need to maintain it physically, choose IaaS.

Nevertheless, whichever cloud service you may choose, the cloud is anticipated to be the future of technology and business.

Author: Harikrishna Kundariya, a marketer, developer, IoT, ChatBot & Blockchain savvy, designer, co-founder, Director of eSparkBiz Technologies. His 8+ experience enables him to provide digital solutions to new start-ups
based on IoT and ChatBot.