January 29, 2021
0 min read

Differences between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

Differences between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS: The ultimate guide.png

What is the difference between IaaS PaaS and SaaS?

More and more businesses (and individuals) use the cloud today. Cloud services represent a large part of how we work and collaborate. Let’s take a close look at these services, and how businesses can benefit from using each kind. We will also examine the differences between different clouds service types.

First, let’s define IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service),  PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and SaaS(Software-as-a-Service).

IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)

IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) provides companies with the backbone of their cloud operations. When businesses engage IaaS services, they can customize and scale quickly. With IaaS, companies lease virtual server space from the IaaS vendor. They do not need to buy their own servers or maintain operating systems. The vendor takes care of all of that. IaaS acts like a traditional data center, but instead of  being on-site, the data center lives in the cloud. The business doesn’t have to worry about maintaining servers or networks. Instead, they can manage their software through an API or dashboard. IaaS suppliers can customize these interfaces to suit the end user. IaaS providers might not be household names to consumers, but companies they know use IaaS. Amazon Web Services EC2 is a well-known IaaS provider.

IaaS Characteristics

IaaS provides:

  • Cost-effective hardware and operating systems

  • Scalability

  • Muti-user support

  • Flexibility

When to use IaaS?

IaaS works well for many business types. Small businesses can use IaaS to keep their costs down and scale up quickly. Large businesses use IaaS when they want control of their infrastructure without having to deal with physical hardware on their premises.

What are the advantages of IaaS?

IaaS works well for companies who need dynamic, scalable hardware solutions. By keeping hardware off-site, companies save money on real estate and IT services. Businesses using  IaaS need to buy only the resources they need. They don’t have to worry about overspending on server racks or hard drives. The IaaS provider will manage all that for them.

What are the limitations of IaaS?

IaaS has some limitations.Businesses looking into IaaS should make sure they consider these following:

  • Security: Companies access hardware located off-site though virtual servers. These servers might be vulnerable to attack.

  • Training: Employees will likely need training to learn how to manage the infrastructure. 

  • Legacy: Legacy application might not function on the new infrastructure.

PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service)

PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) provides companies with solutions geared toward developers. PaaS provides companies with infrastructure and software tools to create applications. Instead of coding everything from scratch, developers have a foundation on which they can build their applications. PaaS gives creators space in which to develop their unique ideas quickly and cost-effectively. Google App Engine is a leading provider of PaaS.

PaaS Characteristics

Much like IaaS, PaaS provides:

  • Cost-effective hardware 

  • Scalability

  • Muti-user support

  • Flexibility

  • Easy-to-understand 

When to use PaaS?

 PaaS works well for teams that need to create at speed, especially if several developers will work on the same app. PaaS allows teams to manage workflow..

What are the advantages of PaaS?

PaaS costs much less than building applications from the ground up. Paas lets developers spend less time writing code, more time creating.

What are the limitations of PaaS?

Much like IaaS, PaaS has some limitations:

  • Security: Companies access hardware located off-site though virtual servers. These servers might be vulnerable to attack.

  • Vendor flexibility: once you choose a PaaS vendor, it might prove difficult to move to a new platform.  

  • Legacy: Legacy application might not function with the new platform.

SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)

SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) gives end users and some firms cloud-based software solutions. SaaS is the most consumer-focused, providing end users with internet applications. Often these applications aid in their productivity. Dropbox provides SaaS, allowing users to store and backup files in the cloud.

SaaS Characteristics

  • Subscription-based (usually)

  • Hosted on a remote server

  • Out-of-the-box solution

  • Access over the internet

When to use SaaS?

SaaS works well for small businesses with limited resources. SaaS also works when companies need solutions only for the short term or not very often. 

What are the advantages of SaaS?

Businesses can begin using Saas quickly. Often implementing SaaS takes a matter of minutes or hours. SaaS scales well, with solutions tailored to meet the needs of single users up to large companies. In addition, SaaS doesn’t require IT investment or extra technical staff.

What are the limitations of SaaS?  

SaaS has some limitations:

  • Security: Just like with PaaS and IaaS, SaaS could be vulnerable to attack. 

  • Customization: SaaS usually don’t allow for much customization or flexibility 

  • Downtime: if the SaaS provider has unscheduled maintenance or gets targeted in a cyberattack, the service might not be available

Differences between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS at a glance:




Targeted toward

Network administrators, architects


End users


Virtual servers

Runtime environment, development tools

Cloud services such as file storage or email

Technical know-how required

High-level understanding of network systems

Coding and development skills 

Usually very little 


With researchers and network architects

Developers and app creators


Examples of providers

Amazon Web Services EC2

Google App Engine


What are the differences between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS?

IaaS provides the backbone, providing virtual server space and the operating system needed. Think of IaaS as the building where a restaurant operates.

PaaS gives developers a foundation on which to create their applications. PaaS providers supply the hardware and basic software to developers. Think of PaaS as a restaurant complete with equipment, ovens, refrigeration, etc.

SaaS offers quick solutions inexpensively without need for customization or set-up. Think of SaaS as a complete meal, delivered.

Here at Blocshop, we can help you create your very own SaaS. Our team of experts can make your business idea into an application that users will love. If you’d like to discuss your ideas and see examples of how Blocshop can help you, please do get in touch!

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