IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS: All You Need to Know

Krunal Shah

Apr 30, 2022

7 min readLast Updated Apr 30, 2022


SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS - are the common names in the B2B and B2C sectors we come across frequently. But what’s the deal? And why are they relevant when it comes to product development, starting a business, and other relevant topics. To start with, SaaS stands for Software as a Service, while PaaS and IaaS stand for Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service respectively. All three of them have been at the forefront and emerged as separate sectors that are changing the concept of various product development, delivery and building businesses around them significantly.

As stated in a recent report, the global SaaS market is set to reach $716.52 billion by 2028, while the global PaaS market is forecast to reach $319 billion by 2030. Even the global IaaS industry is expected to reach $292.58 billion by 2028 creating unlimited opportunities for the market players.

No matter whether you want to develop a product or start a business in this sector, you must know the basics of SaaS vs managed service, the difference between enterprise software and SaaS, IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS examples and the relevant information. And in this blog we will discuss in detail IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS examples, the benefits of IaaS, and more. So, let’s start with the basics before we discuss them in-depth.

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS: Definition & Examples

Before we delve deeper, let’s walk you through the definition and examples of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.

IaaS

IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service is defined as a cloud computing service that provides solution storage, essential computing, networking resources, and others on-demand basis. As it offers solutions as per the requirements and comes with a pay-as-you-go payment structure, it is high in demand across diverse sectors.

Examples: Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Compute Engine (GCE), Linode etc.

PaaS

PaaS or Platform as a Service is another type of cloud computing model that lets a third-party provider deliver various software and hardware systems or tools to their end-users over the internet. API (Application Programming Interface) to IoT (Internet of Things), PaaS is widely adopted across diverse areas and use cases.

Examples: Google App Engine, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, OpenShift, Heroku etc.

SaaS

SaaS or Software as a Service is most probably the most well-known name among these three. SaaS is defined as a method of delivering software and applications over the internet. It lets the end-users get access through various subscription plans instead of buying, installing, and maintaining them on their individual computers or systems. Due to its hassle-free usage, SaaS has gained high popularity in recent years.

Examples: Slack, Dropbox, MailChimp, Salesforce, Google Workspace etc.



See More: SaaS Application Development: A Definitive Guide


IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS Examples and More: Explained

While you can easily understand the basic difference between enterprise software and SaaS and IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS examples, there’s more to it. Here we will give you a more detailed idea of each of them.

IaaS

We already know the definition of IaaS. Now, let’s know its characteristics and more.

IaaS Characteristics

IaaS also refers to a business service model focused on various computer infrastructure technologies. Not only does it let one get access to diverse virtual data center operations but also provides network components, servers, storage, hardware, data center space, and others. As it basically works as a model similar to giving rental but for infrastructure, it offers high scalability compared to conventional infrastructures.

Also, IaaS is famous for its simplicity even in the cases of complex infrastructure, as instead of building it from scratch or maintaining it, one can simply get the facilities in the form of service. While these two are the main characteristics of IaaS, there are other features/solutions too that include -

  • Technologies related to platform virtualization
  • Easy access based on GUI and API
  • Internet connectivity as per the requirement
  • Flexible scaling based on dynamic requirements

And others.

IaaS Advantages

The top benefits of IaaS areas are listed below.

  • Offers a flexible Payment Structure and one can pay for only what he requires and uses and not anything extra.
  • Its high scalability helps in providing relevant solutions to the growing businesses in a hassle-free way.
  • Comes with robust security as most of the IaaS providers incorporate advanced technologies related to safety and security in their services.
  • Automates and speeds up the development cycle for product developers.
  • Lets one easily access the state-of-the-art data center, various operating systems and hardware.
  • Helps in fast and efficient recovery from outages and minimizes the downtime to name a few.

IaaS Disadvantages

While IaaS has several advantages, there are a few drawbacks too as listed below -

  • IaaS often requires changes to be implemented in the existing processes and related workflow. This can be time consuming and hectic, especially for medium to big companies
  • There can be issues related to the lack of direct control that may lead to unexpected security issues
  • The SLAs (Service Level Agreements) are often complex that lead to operational ambiguities in the future
  • Unreliable third-party providers or lack of expertise from their side may create complexities

IaaS Top Use Cases

Here are some of the top use cases of IaaS -

  • Various types of software development
  • Different software testing methods
  • Big data analysis and related applications
  • Websites hosting
  • High-performance computing and relevant applications

PaaS

PaaS comes with its own set of features/characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages. Let’s have a look.

PaaS Characteristics

PaaS is highly adopted across a broad range of sectors due to its characteristics of offering online platforms for various purposes. It is highly convenient for software developers to utilize online platforms while building products. Other main characteristics of PaaS are -

  • Offers customizable user interface that end-users can utilize as per their requirements
  • Capable to streamline the workflow engine activities
  • Provides high control over the relevant permission models
  • Offers granular level authority over security & safety models
  • Gives high flexibility when it comes to integrations of service-enabled models

And others.


PaaS Advantages

The key advantages of PaaS are listed here.

  • It’s quite cost-effective as one can simply take the required service instead of purchasing the whole platform or hardware
  • There are no hassles to maintaining or upgrading the platforms as that is mostly handled by the PaaS providers
  • Reduced overhead for any platform issues as you get robust support from the PaaS provider
  • Flexible in terms of scaling up and down as per the customer requirements
  • Provides easy-to-use operational tools to the developers for custom software development
  • Helps speed up the product development process and reduces the overhead for the developers

And others.

PaaS Disadvantages

While using PaaS, one can come across some restraining factors as listed below.

  • The high dependency on the vendors can be inconvenient, especially in the cases of sudden shutdowns, platform up-gradation challenges from the third-party provider, and others
  • There can be compatibility issues while working with other development platforms
  • As developers are solely responsible for the products they build, the security assurance from the PaaS provider side may not suffice to safeguard their products completely

etc.

PaaS Top Use Cases

Here comes a list of the top use cases of PaaS

  • Various API development and management process
  • Data analytics and intelligence
  • Business intelligence and analysis
  • Internet of things and related applications
  • Product-scale cloud applications

And others.

See More: Guide to Create an Online Marketplace Like Etsy

SaaS

SaaS vs managed services, or the difference between enterprise software and SaaS - these are some trending topics to discuss. And the main reason why SaaS has taken the limelight is its unique characteristics. Let’s have a look.


SaaS Characteristics

SaaS enables third-party providers to offer fully functional services to the end-users. End users can easily access the services through web browsers without needing to install the whole software.

Giving the facility to produce output results similar to the software without installing and maintaining one - it’s the key unique feature of any SaaS product. However, there are even more SaaS characteristics that make it highly sought-after around the globe.

  • Easily accessible on the internet and doesn’t require any additional tool.
  • Serves well, especially the small to medium businesses and startups who don’t want to invest or go through the hassles of building or maintaining a software.
  • Offers high scalability for various services irrespective of where and how they are used.
  • Provides a complete solution that covers security, maintenance, compliance and others.


SaaS Advantages

Undoubtedly there are innumerable advantages of SaaS and here we have listed the top ones.

  • It’s easily available on the internet.
  • Provides a secure and compact solution to data storage by timely storing data in the cloud.
  • Helps in data analysis and reporting.
  • Hassle-free operational management without going through installation or license management.
  • Equipped with highly secure technologies and others.

SaaS Disadvantages

Though not many, there are a few disadvantages of SaaS as well. Let’s see.

  • As everything is managed from the vendor side, the users often have limited control over the respective SaaS products
  • As SaaS products are accessible through the internet, they often have more latency and hence slower speed
  • Most of the SaaS applications leave little room for the end-users to customize

SaaS Top Use Cases

SaaS use cases are widespread in almost every sector. Here’s a list of the top SaaS use cases.

  • Finance and accounting
  • Workflow management
  • Recommendation systems
  • Customer relationship management
  • Billing and computing
  • Streaming services & solutions
  • E-learning and related tools

And others.

See More: How to Create Your Own ERP System: A Complete Guide


Wrapping Up

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS examples, SaaS vs managed service, benefits of IaaS and others are some highly discussed topics across various sectors around the globe. And no matter whether you have requirements for any of those or want to build your own business in this field, the above guide will help you. All you need to do is do thorough research and do a comparative study based on the above information, to take the right step.

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