saas vs paas vs iaas

What is the difference between SaaS PaaS and IaaS?

Cloud computing has gained immense hype over the past decade due to the usefulness it caters to across industries. This shift from the legacy approach of storage & processing through technology to cloud-based services helped us obtain a massive change in the global industrial landscape. We as companies have started leveraging various types of cloud services & cloud models depending on our requirements. We will take a quick tour of the different cloud computing models like SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS and how they differ from each other.

SaaS stands for Software-as-a-Service and is used by the end users like individuals and companies that want to share their software with the masses, for example – Google apps, Netflix, Konnect Insights, etc. whereas Paas stands for Platform-as-a-Service and is focused on developers or creators that want to develop apps or program online, for instance – google search engine, Canva, GitHub, etc. On the other hand, IaaS stands for Infrastructure-as-a-Service and is popular among network architects, engineers, researchers, and companies that want a cloud-based remote infrastructure service as a lease instead of in-house hardware for computation and storage like AWS, Google Cloud Platform, etc. 

In this blog, we will distinguish between these cloud-based technologies so that you can make a better decision about which is the best fit for you.

What is Cloud technology?

We can define cloud technology as an internet-driven concept and technology wherein we use rented services like computation, storage, voice & video calling benefits, networking, running software & services, etc. Cloud computing services offer a pay-as-you-go model that makes it more flexible for businesses to use them. The remote servers in the data centers run the software and processes on GPUs and TPUs to provide high-end services to subscription customers across the globe. Telecom companies use this to render various benefits like

  • Scalable engine
  • Cost reduction
  • High bandwidth during services
  • Low latency
  • Low migration cost
  • Secure communication data transmission
  • Provides cloud delivery model with worldwide coverage

The top companies that deliver cloud services through different models are Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, Google Cloud Provider, etc.

Differences between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS With Examples

SaaS PaaS IaaS
We, the end-users, mostly use the SaaS cloud model. Creators and developers mainly use the PaaS cloud model. Network architects or network engineers mostly use the IaaS cloud model.
We do not need hard-core technical proficiencies to understand or use the SaaS cloud model. We should have a basic understanding and knowledge of the concerned subject before utilizing the PaaS model. We will require technical knowledge and expertise to handle and manage IaaS services.
It is prominent among consumers, end users, and companies that want to share their apps and software with the masses. This model is prominent among developers and creators who focus on developing apps and programs online. This model is popular among network architects, engineers, researchers, and companies that want a cloud-based remote infrastructure service as a lease instead of in-house hardware for computation and storage.
The SaaS model delivers various software and applications as a service to customers and end-users, primarily on a subscription basis. The PaaS model delivers various development environments and creative platforms as a service to end-users, who are mainly developers and creators, primarily on a subscription basis. The IaaS model delivers various hardware components as rented services to different companies, primarily on a subscription basis.
Cloud service providers (CSPs) provide this service through software or apps hosted on the cloud. Cloud service providers (CSPs) typically provide this service through platforms or development environments. Such development environments provide us with tools and development features to make application development easy. Cloud service providers (CSPs) provide this service through dashboards or APIs. Such dashboards provide us with complete control over the entire hardware infrastructure.
Examples of SaaS are Google Workspace, Google apps, Netflix, Instagram, etc. Examples of PaaS are the Google search engine, Canva, Github, etc. Examples of IaaS are VCloud Express, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), IBM Cloud, AWS, etc.


What is the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model?

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a software distribution model that leverages cloud technology. In this model, the cloud provider or any other software development company hosts their software in the cloud and makes it available through the internet for free or via a subscription model. Often, when an independent software vendor wants to deliver their software through the SaaS model, they contact a third-party cloud provider to host their application. We can easily use SaaS-based products because we do not have to install those applications on our system. We can easily connect to the internet, use a web browser, and use those apps.

As per the recent report and analytics of McKinsey & Company, the expected growth of the software-as-a-service market is going to be approximately 200 billion USD by 2024. We frequently market SaaS products for B2B and B2C users. Prominent examples of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications are Dropbox, Netflix, Google Workspace, SAP Concur, Salesforce, or other social listening tools etc.

Read Also – What is Social Listening?

Pros and Cons of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model

Pros of SaaS

  • We can efficiently deploy and set up SaaS applications. It often reduces lengthy software deployments found in legacy software.
  • We often need to update our application to fix bugs or to perform software patches. Deploying software updates and delivering them to all the end-users is easy when the software remains hosted in the cloud.

Cons of SaaS

  • The in-house application offers a greater extent of control & management power than apps (SaaS products) hosted in the cloud.
  • We often show concerns about data privacy and access management for cloud-based hosted services and apps.

What is the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model?

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) is another cloud computing model that provides a runtime environment that enables customers to run, test, and deploy various services. The PaaS model frees developers and creators from installing in-house hardware and software for developing or running any application. In the PaaS-based cloud model, the platform’s back-end scalability for processing and storage gets managed by the cloud service provider (CSP). Thus, the developers or the creators do not have to worry about updating or managing the infrastructure required for using those high-end platforms.

According to the Markets and Markets research report, the expected growth of the global Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) market size will grow from 56.2 billion USD in 2020 to 164.3 billion USD by 2026. That brings a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.6 percent during this forecast period. Prominent examples of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) platforms and applications are AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Apache Stratos, Heroku, Google App Engine,, OpenShift, Github, etc.

Pros and Cons of Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model

Pros of PaaS

  • We can easily access PaaS services irrespective of geolocation. As a result, we can communicate or work leveraging those cloud-based platforms as a single environment.
  • The PaaS model is highly scalable and cost-effective. Due to this flexibility, businesses can develop and create products or work on various platforms without high investment. Because of its dynamic scalability, developers and creators can grow and shrink their project’s storage and computational requirements as and when required.

Cons of PaaS 

  • We often encounter reliability concerns because PaaS services often face downtimes. Disasters, natural calamities, and power outages are some primary concerns enterprises show towards PaaS.
  • We may also face compatibility issues in the case of PaaS services. It is because not all PaaS components are cloud-enabled. We, as developers, creators, and PaaS end-users, often need to customize them.


What is the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model?

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is another cloud-based service model that provides us with virtualized computing resources like processing power, storage, networking equipment, etc., over the internet as a rented service. In this model, the cloud service providers (CSP) will allow us to leverage servers, storage, and various other networking resources as paid/free subscription models through virtual machines that we can access through the internet. The IaaS model allows businesses to remotely manage the hardware infrastructure and resources through a dashboard using an internet connection. The infrastructure provided to us by the cloud service provider gets scaled dynamically, and all the resources get distributed as a service close to our geolocation. Hence, it reduces the latency.

According to the Verified Market Research report, the expected growth of the global infrastructure-as-a-service (PaaS) market will grow from 40.46 billion USD in 2020 to 292.58 billion USD by 2028. That brings a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.06 percent from 2021 to 2028. Prominent examples of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (PaaS) are Amazon Web Service (AWS), Google cloud platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, IBM cloud, etc.

Pros and Cons of the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model

Pros of IaaS

  • The IaaS model offers us self-service provisioning service wherein the cloud service provider (CSP) provides a dashboard from which we can easily control and manage the entire hardware infrastructure.
  • Since the cloud runs on the principle of pay-as-you-go, we can rent all the hardware from the cloud service provider (CSP) and pay them as per our consumption.

Cons of IaaS

  • Although IaaS providers secure our data, businesses are responsible for hosting their services securely because they hire their cloud architects & engineers to use IaaS services.
  • IaaS users often face vendor lock-in issues. It means shifting from one IaaS provider to the other becomes a challenge.


We hope this article gives you a clear idea of the three different types of cloud models – SaaSPaaS, and IaaS. Based on the pros and cons, we will now be able to understand specific cloud models that can be used for specific purposes.

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