Difference Between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS And When You Need to Use Them

Difference Between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS And When You Need to Use Them

If you’re moving or thinking of moving your applications to the cloud, you might hear about different hosting options. Among these options are: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Which option you choose depends largely on your business needs.

To understand the advantages of each of these deployment models, let’s first consider the tasks involved in running your business applications on premises.

First, there is the need to purchase and configure hardware, software, operating system, network, all the supporting applications before you install and configure the applications you need to run your business, such as ERP, CRM, HCM, etc. You are also responsible not only for installing and configuring your software, but also maintaining and upgrading your servers, operating systems, business applications, as well as providing network security software backups, and service continuity.

This is an expensive proposition for any company, from a small startup to a large enterprise. Cloud-based computing services give businesses a flexible alternative to purchasing and maintaining their own network and servers…with the added advantage of support from experts, mobility, processing power, and more. In short, if you haven’t yet moved at least some of your business to the cloud, it’s time to start the process.

One important thing to understand as you determine your strategy is that there are several cloud computing models to choose from:

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – IaaS allows you to purchase computer hardware, storage devices, and networking services from a third party rather than buying this infrastructure outright. You can then install the operating systems and applications you desire and then scale the infrastructure up or down depending on their processing and storage needs. This allows users to retain control of their computer infrastructure in a cost-effective manner. 

Platform as a Service (PaaS) – PaaS provides a platform for software developers to build their applications. PaaS providers manage the infrastructure, the operating systems, software updates, and storage requirements, saving the developers time. PaaS offers high availability, scalability, and ease of use without requiring extensive system administration knowledge.

Software as a Service (SaaS) – SaaS applications move the infrastructure, platform, and all support for the application and its data to a third-party hosting provider. This eliminates the need for IT staff to manage the network, infrastructure, hardware and software, OS, backups, and security. Instead, all these tasks are handled by the hosting provider. The SaaS user simply accesses the application via the web, typically requiring only the use of a standard browser. SaaS deployments are highly scalable, cost effective, and usually offer enterprise-grade security, automated data backups, and distributed servers ensuring high availability.

Figure 1 – Cloud computing models compared

Ultimately, each of these cloud computing server models (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS) meet specific business needs, and all three offer you choice, flexibility, and scalability that on-premises deployments cannot offer. 

This is a lot to absorb, but don’t panic: A qualified cloud services provider can walk you through the choices and help you determine the best option for your business. Learn more about the advantages of choosing Microsoft Azure, then talk to the cloud experts at ArcherPoint about your cloud strategy. 

Learn about ArcherPoint’s managed IT services.

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