Request a Quote
13 November 2020

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS: General Comparison

If you plan to move (or create) a business using the cloud, then you already know these three abbreviations:

  1. IaaS.

  2. PaaS.

  3. SaaS.

These are the three main types of cloud computing. Many of you may have heard of them before, as everyone went through a surge in popularity.

Cloud computing is now a hot topic for both small businesses and global enterprises. Of particular interest in this concept are companies based on "online territory".

If you are considering switching to the cloud, it’s more important than ever to understand the differences, advantages and disadvantages of each concept.

Key value

Before moving on to deep analysis and examples, you need to understand how these three concepts are deciphered. Indeed, in many ways the name speaks for itself.

  1. IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service.

  2. PaaS – Platform as a Service.

  3. SaaS – Software as a Service.

We often use comparisons to explain new concepts. The cloudy environment can be compared to transport. So, IaaS is somewhat similar to car leasing: you choose a car, drive it wherever you want and how you want. But it’s important to remember that the car is not yours, which means there are some restrictions.

PaaS can be compared to calling a taxi. The car is not yours, you are not driving either. But you have the right to choose a route. The SaaS concept is somewhat similar to a bus: there is already a chosen route. You can share it with other passengers.

IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS: control and management. Source of the image

But now let's move on to specific definitions. IaaS is a cloud service that provides the basic computing infrastructure: servers, storage and network resources. In other words, IaaS is a virtual data center.

PaaS is a service that provides a runtime environment for developing, testing, and managing applications. PaaS enables software developers to deploy applications without the need for a complete infrastructure.

SaaS is the place where part of the software is hosted by a third party and can be accessed via the Internet. As a rule, just logging in is enough for this. Most SaaS applications are aimed at the end user and run directly through the browser. In other words, they do not require any downloads or installations on the client side.

How is the service provided

The simplest option among the three concepts is SaaS. In this case, there is no need to download and install any clients on each individual computer. SaaS provision is reproduced through a web browser. Therefore, the only thing needed is network access.

PaaS has a similar approach, but there is an exception. PaaS does not provide ready-made software over the Internet, but only a platform for its creation.

IaaS is a more complex model in this situation, since the entire infrastructure is provided through virtualization. All software is provided by companies through system panels or APIs. This gives full control to the company that receives such services. But at the same time, it is necessary to ensure the installation and configuration of middleware, operating systems, etc.

Advantages and disadvantages

IaaS is a full-blown concept that provides an almost complete range of capabilities for its users. Among the advantages of infrastructure as a service, the following:

IaaS does not have many shortcomings, but they can become key when choosing a concept. So, this approach is the most expensive, since you are actually renting a whole hardware infrastructure. In other words, IaaS will save your budget, but this does not mean that you will spend several times less.

In addition, all issues related to infrastructure management remain under your responsibility. Accordingly, it is necessary to allocate time for this, as well as possess the necessary knowledge, so that all processes are effective.

PaaS – beloved by many developers, the concept of cloud computing. Today, it is increasingly chosen and there is a small chance that in subsequent years PaaS will become a routine practice, since it:

Some people have a question: why PaaS has not become the main focus today? The answer lies in two flaws:

SaaS cannot be called the most common model, but it is the most famous. Almost every service that is accessible through a web browser is based on this concept. It offers many benefits for both individuals and businesses:

Again, SaaS is not ideal. First of all, you will have absolutely no control over the equipment. The supplier responsible for troubleshooting: but where is the guarantee that he will solve the problem from the first update? In addition, only the supplier can change the software configuration.


In addition to the complete flaws, each concept has limitations. This is not to say that they clearly negatively affect work processes. But without taking them into account, it is impossible to make the right choice.

IaaS. Among the special limitations of IaaS, many highlight security. While the client controls applications, data, middleware, threats can still come from the host or other virtual machines.

In addition, there is a huge problem using legacy systems. While the client can run them in the cloud, the infrastructure may not be designed to provide controls and protect older applications. Therefore, before migrating to the cloud, additional updates are required.

IaaS Limitations. Source of the image

Also, for effective management of the new infrastructure, additional training is required. Often it does not take much time, but if you ignore it, there are problems of resource control.

PaaS. As with IaaS, many developers claim the key issue is data security. Organizations can run their applications using PaaS, but data stored on third-party servers pose risks. Security settings remain limited because the client is not able to deploy services with a specific hosting policy.

Also, PaaS cannot be a pluggable solution for previously existing applications and services. Instead, you need to do additional configuration and configuration so that legacy systems can integrate with PaaS.

SaaS. The first problem is integration with existing applications. If the SaaS application has not been developed in accordance with open integration standards, then you cannot use the two software at the same time. As a rule, most SaaS today can be easily used simultaneously (for example, Trello and Timesheets). But there are a few exceptions, because of which organizations are sometimes forced to design their own systems or reduce their dependence on SaaS.

Due to the fact that the control over data processing remains with the supplier, the user is not always able to transfer confidential data. SaaS applications guarantee security, but remember that they are accessible through simple registration. Accordingly, it will be easier to get unauthorized access than in the previous two options.

SaaS solutions also offer limited personalization options. Yes, you can choose the templates that you like best. But the same patterns are available to any user.

In what cases is used

The first question that comes up when moving to the cloud is: which concept to choose? It just won’t work out, because they provide a different set of possibilities. Based on the above factors, we can draw the following conclusions.

When are concepts used. Source of the image

IaaS will be most beneficial for small startups to save time and money on the purchase and creation of hardware and software. In addition, this option is suitable for larger companies that have constant scalability. Thus, every time you need to get more capacity, the company can simply change its infrastructure provider.

Examples of scenarios when you can use IaaS:

PaaS is useful for streamlining workflows. For example, when several developers are working on the same project. This concept is especially useful when you need to create customized applications. It is called the perfect choice for software companies.

SaaS is focused on the end user, rather than on a company or development team. Therefore, the following scenarios are optimal for him:

Examples of use of the concepts

Each of these approaches has already received worldwide recognition, because global corporations are actively moving to their use. Moreover, IT giants provide their own resources to create IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.
Contact us
Your Name*:
Your Email*: