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saas vs paas vs iaas

Cloud computing solutions offer on-demand availability of computing resources and  services that include servers, storage, databases, networks, software, analytics, and intelligence over the Internet (the “cloud”) for faster innovation, flexibility of resources, easy accessibility, centralized infrastructure, cost-effectiveness, scalability, and strengthened security.

It typically is an arrangement where you pay only for the cloud services you use to help reduce operating costs, manage your infrastructure more efficiently, and adapt to changing business needs. There are several deployment models that provide businesses with different levels of abstraction, each with its own strengths and weaknesses, depending on the needs of the IT team. Three of the most popular delivery models are Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Most enterprises these days use combinations of cloud services because they offer different types of solutions making it easier to accomplish business goals. Let us get a clearer understanding on all of them through this blog.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service or SaaS is the most commonly used cloud services where the user can access web applications over the Internet and need not download tools or software. SaaS is easy to use and can be accessed through multiple devices. It is highly scalable, economical, needs no installations and does not require any infrastructure or maintenance as it is protected and controlled by cloud service providers. It is a model best suited to manage and coordinate global business teams.

Advantages of SaaS

SaaS provides convenience and ease of use. It offers –

  • Flexibility across multiple devices and regions
  • A subscription-based model where budgeting and pre-planning is possible
  • Self-provisioning and scalability

However, there is no control over the infrastructure that the software runs on and therefore will have repercussions in case of downtime or failure.

Example of SaaS – Google Workspace, Dropbox, Salesforce, Cisco WebEx, Concur, Adobe Creative Cloud, Zendesk, DocuSign, Slack

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS is a cloud delivery model that allows developers to build, deploy, and scale applications using delivery platforms. It functions similar to conventional tools used to develop applications and products online.It enables IT administrators to build custom applications that can be middleware, database or analytics which do not have to handle data serving and storage. Large custom applications can be built online with PaaS without having to invest or download the required infrastructure.

Advantages of PaaS

PaaS provides a predefined set of ready to use building blocks for configurable applications such as middleware, application servers, and development tools. It can –

  • Enable administrators to control the software as well as the applications being built on the platform.
  • Supports multiple programming languages for developers to build several projects.
  • Helps in developing and deploying user-friendly and affordable apps
  •  Scalable & high availability
  •  Developers can customize the app without having to maintain the software
  •  Significant reduction in the amount of coding required
  •  Business policy automation

PaaS can generate unforeseeable charges with services growing rapidly. There is also a risk of impacting the software in case of outage. The customer comparatively has lesser flexibility and control.

Example of PaaS – Windows Azure, Google App Engine, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Apache Stratos, OpenShift

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, include pay-as-you-go services for network and virtualization that is accessible to multiple users. While the cloud service provides cater to managing the physical infrastructure that involves servers and storage, customers manage the rest, like middleware, operating systems, VMs or containers and other applications. It is not the IT administrators responsibility to build, configure, deploy or maintain all the physical equipment that the applications use. IaaS is like running the applications in-house which enables businesses to acquire the physical assets with decreased on-site resource spends.

Advantages of IaaS
IaaS platform comprises of pay-as-you-go storage, networking, and virtualization services that –

  • Easily provision for automation, storage, network, servers, and compute
  • Hardware and resource purchases can be made on a consumption-based model
  • Customers have full control over their infrastructure
  • Highly flexible and extensible
  • Cost-efficient

IaaS however can be unpredictable with respect to costs  and managing the associated IT especially when large number of users may fail to terminate instances that can result into unprecedented costs.

Example of IaaS – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine (GCE) DigitalOcean, Linode, Rackspace, Cisco Metapod.

What are the Differences between SaaS, PaaS & IaaS?

SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS services, individually or in combination of each other are most suitable to large technology-based enterprises that develop and deploy their own applications, operate multiple websites, manage their own digital content, and monitor internal business and operational processes vividly.

For start-ups and small businesses that prioritize effective completion of their day-to-day operations and growth of their B2B business, SaaS tools can be the primary focus to meet their needs, especially in the critical areas of increasing connects and engaging customers. To complement these tools, there are proven best practices and SaaS lead generation techniques that you can use to expand your prospects in the areas of CRM, marketing, accounting, and office tools.

As per the SaaS Growth Trend Report on the Cloud Software Association portal, SMBs use an average of over 30 free SaaS apps and over 20 paid SaaS software amounting to over $ 20,000 per month proving that the adoption and investment of cloud services is widespread. However, according to a survey, nearly one-third of companies say that by 2020, 80% of apps will be SaaS based.

While SaaS services offer software over the Internet, PaaS similar to SaaS, delivers the tools and platform to build the software via web. PaaS can particularly prove beneficial when businesses need customized applications and want to streamline their workflows when multiple resources are working on the same software development project. This enables developers to focus on building the software without having to worry about OS, updates, infrastructure or storage.

On the other hand, IaaS offers virtualization, servers, network, storage and database services that can be considered as a complete cloud computing model in itself. Any organization, whether small, medium or large sized that are looking at scalable solutions and accelerated resource-driven infrastructure set up can opt for IaaS. Businesses have the flexibility to choose the needed hardware or software at a given point in time, irrespective of the applications they use while being cost-effective.

The point of all this is to judge your needs and get the best cloud service from the vast number of options available in the market. Irrespective of whether you choose SaaS, PaaS or IaaS, migrating to the cloud is the future of business and technology.

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