The Future of Cloud Computing: SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS

Cloud has been a recent face of innovation allowing businesses, at any stage, to adapt to ever-changing market needs and to provide top-level customer experience. If you are the decision maker considering moving your business to cloud or a keen IT learner, you must have been familiar with SaaS, PaaS, and Iaas. Let's explore these in detail and learn all-you-need-to-know about cloud services.

What is SaaS?

We often hear the term SaaS and use it frequently but many of us still don't exactly know what is SaaS. Software as a service (SaaS) is a cloud-based application, hosted by a provider and available for subscription over the internet. This model of cloud computing allows subscribers to use applications/ software without installing them on their local devices. SaaS model is commonly used by companies, especially the ones having distributed global teams, to grow their businesses due to its high scalability and user-friendliness. A successful software as a service must ensure that its  consumers are always up to date with the latest version and new in-demand features.

Some of the prominent SaaS are Salesforce, ServiceNow, Dropbox and FunnelBake.

Characteristics of SaaS:

  • Scalable
  • Easy migration to hybrid model
  • Less required amount of coding
  • Integrates web services and databases
  • cost-effective development and deployment of apps
  • Accessible to numerous users via the same development application

What is PaaS?

Platform as a service (PaaS) is mainly used by developers to develop applications. This cloud platform service model provides tools and frameworks over the internet that can be used to create customized applications unlike SaaS which delivers the software instead. In PaaS, the servers, storage, and networking are managed by the provider whereas the developers manage their applications. This serves as a platform for software creation without having to worry about infrastructure, operating systems and software updates. Development companies, practicing agile methodology, are most suited for using PaaS. PaaS providers publish numerous up-to-date services that can be used inside the software. This model serves best to test and prototype the newly developed applications, ensuring cost efficiency and timeliness.

Some of the prominent PaaS are AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Heroku, and OpenShift.

Characteristics of PaaS:

  • Scalable
  • Easy migration to hybrid model
  • Less required amount of coding
  • Integrates web services and databases
  • cost-effective development and deployment of apps
  • Accessible to numerous users via the same development application

What is IaaS?

IaaS (Infrastructure as a service) allows businesses to pay and use computing resources, for a limited time, instead of buying them permanently. In this model, vendors provide users access to resources such as operating systems, servers, storage and networking through virtualization technology. When using the service, organizations are allowed to use their own applications within a service provider’s infrastructure.

These cloud servers are commonly provided to the consumers through a dashboard or an API, giving them complete control over the entire infrastructure. One of the most prominent advantages of IaaS is that it provides the same technologies and usability as a traditional data center without requiring you to physically maintain and manage all of it. As compared to Paas and SaaS, IaaS users are responsible for managing aspects such as data, runtime, applications, OSes, and middleware. On the contrary, vendors of the IaaS maintain the servers, hard drives, networking, storage, and virtualization.

This model is beneficial for the companies that do not own a data center or the ones that need compute power to run variable workloads at lower costs. These businesses look to IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) as a quick and cheap model that can be extended or terminated whenever needed.

Some of the prominent IaaS are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metapod, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Joyent

Characteristics of IaaS:

  • Cost-effective
  • Accessible by multiple users
  • Consumption-based cost model
  • Highly flexible, scalable, and dynamic
  • Users retain complete control of their infrastructure

Difference Between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS

SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS are the models of cloud services known as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Each of these models has its own characteristics, and different models are offered to different business models according to their needs.

The Future of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS

According to Gartner, usage of SaaS accounts for $182+ Billion which is 43% of the total amount being spent on cloud services. SaaS market currently holds the highest market share whereas IaaS is expected to be the fastest growing model with a CAGR of 20% plus over the next 3 to 4 years. This is because IaaS offers a number of important benefits including lower costs, flexibility, higher scalability and location independence. In this model, vendors offer a wide range of infrastructure options so that clients can make the right choice according to their needs. Moreover, one of the most important aspects of IaaS is that it does not make you vendor-locked. You can easily stop buying the services whenever you want and you only have to pay for resources that you actually use whereas in SaaS and PaaS, it is difficult to switch to another model once it has been integrated with your operations.

Which Model Suits Your Business?

  • Small, medium or large organizations with limited resources: SaaS
  • Medium to large organizations with some resources: PaaS
  • Medium to large organizations with moderate resources: IaaS
  • Large organizations with ample resources: On-Premise


IaaS can be described as the foundation of developing a cloud-based software, PaaS is basically a platform through which developers build applications without hosting them whereas SaaS are software ready to use on a subscription basis.