Understanding PaaS vs SaaS vs IaaS: Detailed Differences and Use Cases

June 30, 2021 | Comments(0) |

In the present day, cloud services are raging in the market. Many IT giants provide a range of cloud services at competitive prices. Emerging business owners in the market are unaware of the exact difference between these offerings and are unaware of which option fits best for their business.

There are three crucial cloud concepts, namely PaaS (Platform as a Service), SaaS (Software as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). There are more subsets of cloud models that include CaaS (Container as a Service), DaaS (Desktop as a Service), etc. Here we will break down the differences between the top 3 cloud concepts that can help you decide which fits perfectly to fulfil your business needs.

To start with, let us first understand cloud computing basics

Consider that you have a physical data centre with several on-site servers for your Enterprise software and databases. The company incurs the initial investment in terms of the location and IT infrastructure, and the cost will gradually increase due to their maintenance.

FAQs: 10 Commonly Asked Questions About Cloud Computing provides answers on cloud models, cloud architecture, virtualization, etc.

Let us take a quick look at what it means to use software, platform and infrastructure as a service.


Software as a Service

Software as a Service allows end-users to connect to and use the cloud-based apps over the internet like emails, calendar, Microsoft Office 365, Google G-Suite etc.

Cloud vendors provide the complete freedom to work on the procured software, which is entirely maintained and managed by the vendors without worrying about the underlying infrastructure and updating the software for security patches.

For organizational use, we can rent sophisticated business applications such as customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and document management and pay for using these apps by subscription.

SaaS Characteristics:

  • The application is hosted on a cloud provider’s data centre and is accessible over the internet through a web browser or by using a subscription.
  • End users do not need to worry about the infrastructure, software updates and patches.
  • It allows the organization to get quickly up and running with an app at minimal upfront costs.
  • The pricing model is pay-as-you-go basis.

Uses Cases:

  • It helps save money as the SaaS service automatically scales up and down according to the level of use, like the taxation software, which has high demand during tax filing, and hotel reservations see high demand during holidays.
  • SaaS makes it easy to “mobilize” your workforce as the users can access the data and apps from any internet-connected device or mobile. The service provider will take care of data security, regardless of the type of device consuming it.
  • SaaS provides access to applications like CRM, ERP for organizations that cannot afford to buy, install and manage the hardware, middleware or software required to build that resource.
  • All the data is stored in the cloud to be accessed from anywhere, and there is no data loss even if the device fails.
  • End users can directly use the application from the web browser without installing and downloading any software. Although some apps require plugins, there is no need to buy and install special software for users. It is helpful for start-ups and short-term projects.

Platform as a Service:

Platform as a Service supplies an on-demand environment for developing, testing, delivering and managing software applications. It makes development easier for developers to create mobile or web apps faster, without worrying about the underlying infrastructure like servers, storage, networking.

PaaS Characteristics:

  • As the development environment can be accessed over the internet, the development team can work together on projects even when the team members are in different locations.
  • Developers can focus on writing the code for the application they are developing without setting up servers or the software license, storage and networking. It decreases the coding time.
  • The pay-as-you-go model makes it easier for organizations to use sophisticated development software and Business intelligence tools that they cannot afford to purchase.
  • PaaS adds new capabilities to the development team, so there is no need to add more staff members with the required skills.
  • It helps develop cross-platform applications and manages the application lifecycle, including developing, testing, and deploying within the same integrated environment.

Use Cases:

When multiple developers or external parties are working on the development project, PaaS is the best option to bring speed and flexibility to the development process.

  • Large enterprise wants to customize their applications and follow agile methodology for software development, then PaaS eases the difficulties associated with rapid growth.
  • PaaS allows organizations to analyze and mine their data, finding insights to improve their product design decisions, investment costs and forecasting.

Infrastructure as a Service

It is the most basic computing service that rents essential compute, storage, networking, and operating system resources on-demand on the pay-as-you-go model. Migrating your organization’s IT infrastructure to the cloud reduces the maintenance of the physical data centre, saves money, and gains some real-time business insights.

IaaS characteristics:

  • IaaS eliminates the cost of purchasing and managing the physical data centre, making it cost-effective to migrate it to the cloud. The pay-as-you-go model reduces the hardware cost and enables the IT team to focus more on their business growth.
  • It helps in scaling the resources automatically according to the workload, increasing the application’s performance.
  • Achieving high availability, business stability, and disaster recovery are very important and expensive as it requires a significant number of technologies. This can be solved by the right SLA that cloud vendors provide and reduce the cost, making all the data recoverable and accessible at the time of disaster.
  • With IaaS, it becomes easier to develop new products or apps as the required infrastructure is readily available in minutes rather than in days or weeks. As there is no need to set up the infrastructure, it lets you deliver your app faster.

Use Cases:

  • IaaS is ideal for organizations that need complete control over high performing applications.
  • It is suitable for small start-ups and companies which do not want to spend much on hardware and software installation.
  • It is suitable for organizations when they see volatile demands, i.e., scaling up and down the application based on the traffic spikes.
  • It is suitable for growing organization when they are not sure about their application, and it can evolve over a period, hence, do not want to commit for hardware resources.


The scope of cloud computing is very vast. According to a report, the cloud computing market in India is at $2 billion and is expected to grow with an annual growth rate of 30%. CloudThat has led to many successful cloud projects for our esteemed clients and successfully contributed to their business growth. You can go through the Expert Advisory page and Managed Services Package that is CloudThat’s offerings. You can quickly get in touch with our highly accomplished team of experts to carry out any of your cloud requirements. To know more about cloud computing, cloud services, feel free to Contact Us. 

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