What is the difference between SaaS, PaaS and IaaS?

When you are looking for cloud computing services for your business, it's important to know the difference between SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. There are three main types of cloud computing services available for businesses.

They are known as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). If you are considering moving to cloud services, this guide is a brief overview for any layperson. Even if you don't know your ADSL from their Zip file.

What is cloud computing?

In the simplest terms, servers (where all the company electronic files and information is stored) used to be in an office. Everyone had to have their devices connected locally, commonly via a network cable. Therefore everyone had to work in an office to have access or have another means to gain access, maybe utilising the businesses internet connection.

Cloud computing uses the internet to store data on servers that are remote from an office. They can then be accessed using secure logins. Cloud services do not just cover storage. They also cover other elements of computing such as operating systems, security, networking, analytics and intelligence.

What is the difference between SaaS, PaaS and IaaS? Breakdown of the relationship between supplier and customer depending on what system is used.

What is IaaS?

IaaS provides access to cloud-based storage, networking and firewall resources in a pay-per-use model.  This enables businesses to quickly grow and shrink their operations up or down depending on their needs without worrying about spending money on physical hardware elements such as RAM (Memory), Processors or disks.

IaaS is particularly useful for businesses that need to maintain large amounts of data, because it eliminates the cost associated with purchasing and managing physical servers. IaaS leaves a lot to the IT team, they manage and develop all the software, databases and operating systems their own way.

What is PaaS?

PaaS is designed for developers and organisations seeking greater control over their IT applications than one who uses SaaS. It gives your business the ability to host custom applications that internal IT teams can develop and manage user access to.  This is different from what IaaS does, because the third-party who provides the stack will manage the operating system, middle ware and runtime environment.

It also allows the IT team to develop and deploy custom applications. This is without having to build the underlying infrastructure from scratch.

In other words, it gives your IT team more control over the cloud and IT setup. It lets them create and use their own apps for the company. This is the perfect service for companies with ambitious growth plans that seek bespoke IT software solutions.

What is SaaS?

SaaS is the most common and widely used form of cloud computing. It provides users with access to web-based services, applications and software that are hosted on remote servers.

You use the internet to log into an account that gives you access to browser versions of programmes you need. You also download versions of the programmes as apps. They interact with the SaaS services, and your login and information is all looked after by a third-party.

Because everything is accessed through a login and the internet, you can use any compatible device, e.g. smartphone or laptop, to work. This is especially helpful if you forget to bring your laptop to work or experience a hardware failure for example. In that case you can log into a spare laptop. As long as it is connected to the internet, you can access everything you need.

An example with a bit more detail; Sarah has been working on a Word document. It auto-saves to the Microsoft cloud service (known as OneDrive) as she works on it. Her laptop runs out of battery, so she logs into OneDrive on her phone. She opens the Word app, and carries on writing. Through her login, she can get back to her work from any device because the cloud is securely accessed through the internet.

This makes SaaS an incredibly efficient and versatile service for a business. Especially if they want flexibility on where they can work from and the devices they use.

Organisations of all sizes must look closely at the different characteristics of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS in order to choose the best cloud computing service for their business needs. Each type of service offers unique features. These can increase operational efficiency, reduce costs and enable faster time-to-market for new products and services. If you would like to know more about the cloud options available, contact us today.

What is the difference between SaaS, PaaS and IaaS