Common terms in cloud concepts include IaaS, short for Infrastructure as a Service, PaaS which is short for Platform as a Service and SaaS, Software as a Service. These are service models basically describing who, as in you or the cloud provider, manages what. We’ll try to explain IaaS, PaaS and SaaS with examples in this article.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provides users with virtualized computing resources over the internet. It includes virtual machines, storage, networking, and often other essential infrastructure components. Users can provision and manage these resources as needed, eliminating the need for on-premises hardware and infrastructure management. With IaaS, you control the operating system and with that any installed software, OS, patching, everything except the hardware.
Key features of IaaS:
- Scalability: IaaS allows users to scale their infrastructure up or down based on demand, ensuring cost-efficiency.
- Flexibility: Users have control over the operating system, applications, and configurations of their virtual machines.
- Cost savings: IaaS reduces capital expenditures by replacing the need for physical hardware, but you pay per second the resource is running.
Examples of IaaS is EC2 in AWS and virtual machines in Azure.
Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a cloud service that provides a platform and environment for example developers to build, deploy, and manage applications. It abstracts the underlying infrastructure, allowing developers to focus on coding and application logic rather than server management.
Key features of PaaS:
- Developer productivity: PaaS accelerates development by offering pre-built services like databases, middleware, and development tools.
- Automatic scaling: PaaS platforms automatically handle application scaling and maintenance, reducing operational burdens.
- Cost-effective: PaaS streamlines development processes, saving time and resources, and you only pay when your code execute.
Popular PaaS providers include AWS Lambda and Microsoft Azure App Service.
Software as a Service (SaaS) delivers software applications over the internet, accessible via web browsers or dedicated clients. Users subscribe to SaaS solutions, eliminating the need for installation, maintenance, and updates on their local devices. The provider takes care of everything except the data you decide to put into the application.
Key features of SaaS:
- Accessibility: SaaS applications are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Automatic updates: Providers manage software updates and security, ensuring users always have the latest version.
- Cost-efficiency: SaaS reduces upfront costs, as users pay for subscriptions on a per-user or per-month basis.
Examples of SaaS applications include Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and Dropbox.