Azure PaaS and IaaS: How Can You Leverage Them, and What Are Their Differences? (2024)

Azure PaaS and IaaS: How Can You Leverage Them, and What Are Their Differences? (1)

By Giorgio Bonuccelli

Last updated on March 23, 2022

Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are offered on Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform. Together with Software as a Service (SaaS), they are essential components for building, deploying, and managing applications hosted on Azure or any other cloud computing platform. There is some confusion surrounding PaaS and SaaS, though. It is essential to understand the differences between the two so that organizations can determine the most suitable solution for their requirements.

Azure SaaS

Before getting into the details of Azure PaaS, it’s necessary to understand Azure SaaS – which is the full complement of services that allows organizations to develop, deploy, and manage their applications from end to end on the platform. In Azure SaaS, your applications and databases are hosted on Microsoft’s data centers. Your organization utilizes the Azure portal to manage applications and various other tools like operating systems, servers, storage, firewalls, and other security features offered on the Azure platform. Depending on your application’s traffic, the platform decides when to scale the application up or down based on user-provided settings.

Azure SaaS encompasses both Azure PaaS and Azure IaaS.

Azure PaaS

Azure PaaS (like Azure IaaS) is built on top of Azure SaaS, stopping just short of the application and data side. This means that an organization that selects Azure PaaS is still responsible for managing its applications and data, e.g., deciding when to scale them up to meet future demand. Thus, Azure PaaS requires your organization to have expert personnel who can manage applications. However, application maintenance is still easier than managing your own servers (Azure also takes care of hosting). Your developers still rely on all of the other features and services offered on the platform.

Operating systems, development tools, database management, and business analytics are among the wide range of services Azure PaaS offers. Also included are the components and services that form part of Azure IaaS. Thus, Azure PaaS offers organizations a relatively easy yet affordable way to develop and deploy cloud-based applications. It is ideal for organizations looking to simplify development and utilize analytics, business intelligence, and other services offered on the Azure platform.

Azure IaaS

Like Azure PaaS, Azure IaaS is built on top of Azure SaaS. As the word “infrastructure” in its name suggests, Azure IaaS comprises the servers and storage, networking firewalls and security, and the actual physical data centers on which your applications run. The servers reside on completely virtual machines.

Azure IaaS is the minimum component that your organization can take advantage of on the Azure platform. With it, your organization is free from worrying about server hardware and other equipment that form the backbone of your applications and services. However, you still need to purchase, install and manage the operating systems, databases, middleware, development tools, and other applications that are on the virtual machines.

Organizations using Azure IaaS require trained people who can maintain the platforms you develop on, e.g., Windows Servers, Visual Studio.NET, and SQL Server. Administrators need to maintain operating systems, perform backups, configure antivirus software and install patches, among other tasks. Azure IaaS is ideal for organizations looking to scale up testing and development, host websites and web apps, or utilize high-performance computing involving complex calculations and extensive data analysis.

Benefits of Using Azure PaaS

Azure PaaS delivers infrastructure as a service, allowing organizations to tap into the benefits of IaaS. However, it also incorporates middleware such as programming tools and other business tools, giving organizations more advantages, including:

  • Efficient management of application lifecycle. You get all the tools and features from the same integrated environment to support the complete application lifecycle from development to deployment.
  • Cut coding time. PaaS reduces the time it takes to code a new application and get it up and running. Developers can leverage pre-coded components such as directory services and search options to fast-track application development.
  • Multi-platform support. Azure PaaS provides you with an environment where you can implement apps that run on multiple platforms such as mobile devices, PCs, and browsers.
  • Cost savings. Azure PaaS provides you with hardware and software, eliminating upfront capital expenditure costs that could be prohibitive for an organization. Besides, PaaS’s “pay-as-you-go” pricing scheme means you only pay for what you’ve used.
  • Geo-distributed development. By allowing developers to access the development environment over the Internet, Azure PaaS enable remote teams to collaborate on projects.

Differences Between Azure PaaS and IaaS

Azure PaaS and Azure IaaS are distinct from each other in the following ways:

  • Azure PaaS allows development and deployment on the cloud, so administrators need only to manage applications and data. It frees your organization from managing the platform and other software, speeding up development work. With multiple development tools at your disposal on Azure PaaS, developers are ready to start working immediately. With IaaS, you need to install and configure your development platform. You also need to maintain the database software and/or middleware required in your applications. These tasks are not trivial.
  • Azure IaaS requires your organization to acquire and maintain development tools and other software from the start, entailing a potentially significant financial outlay. With Azure PaaS, you pay for tools only when you need them.
  • Azure PaaS allows tapping of pre-built application components, allowing your current staff to train and develop using these components. Your organization does not need to ramp up personnel. Azure IaaS does not offer prebuilt components.
  • Azure PaaS suits itself more to remote work since you access the development environment on the cloud.

The above list makes it easy to see when and where your organization should use Azure PaaS and Azure IaaS. If your organization does not have trained administrators and it just wants to go into development straight away, Azure PaaS may work for you. If you want flexibility and have personnel that can help maintain your development platform, you may want to go with Azure IaaS instead.

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Azure PaaS and IaaS: How Can You Leverage Them, and What Are Their Differences? (2024)


What is the difference between Azure PaaS and Azure IaaS? ›

IaaS offers access to computing resources like servers, storage, and networks. The IaaS provider hosts and manages this infrastructure. Customers use the internet to access the hardware and resources. In contrast, PaaS provides a framework for developing and running apps.

What are the differences between PaaS and IaaS? ›

In a nutshell, IaaS provides access to resources such as virtual machines and virtual storage, PaaS provides execution environments, application development, and deployment tools, and SaaS provides software as a service to end-users. Which one you choose depends entirely on the needs of your business.

What are 3 examples of IaaS? ›

Examples of IaaS include Rackspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine (GCE) and Joyent.

Which of the following is the most significant difference between SaaS and IaaS? ›

The most significant distinction between SaaS and IaaS lies in what they provide access to. SaaS is a cloud-based software application that is delivered over the internet on a subscription basis. On the other hand, IaaS offers virtualized computing resources over the internet.

What is the difference between IaaS PaaS and SaaS with example in Azure? ›

IAAS gives access to the resources like virtual machines and virtual storage. PAAS gives access to run time environment to deployment and development tools for application. SAAS gives access to the end user. It is a service model that provides virtualized computing resources over the internet.

Why Microsoft Azure is an example of IaaS? ›

Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is like a virtual toolbox for your business's IT requirements. It equips you with all necessary hardware and tools, such as servers, network connections, and IP addresses, without the need for ownership or maintenance.

Why is IaaS better than PaaS? ›

IaaS provides you the most freedom of control as it lets you manage your applications, data, middleware, and operating system. On the other hand, PaaS allows you to manage your data and applications only, and with SaaS, everything is managed by your service provider.

What is a PaaS example? ›

Popular PaaS examples include: AWS Elastic Beanstalk. Google App Engine. Adobe Commerce (previously Magento)

What are the disadvantages of IaaS? ›

Challenges may include the following:
  • Unexpected Costs: Monthly fees can add up, or peak usage may be more than expected.
  • Process Changes: IaaS may require changes to processes and workflows.
  • Runaway Inventory: Instances may be deployed, but not taken down.

What is an example of Azure PaaS? ›

Examples of PaaS services are App Services, Azure Search and Azure CDN. You don't have to worry about the OS or even the server, you can just run your application. You are responsible for some server configuration, like scaling, although for some services, like Azure Functions, that happens automatically.

What is a real life example of IaaS? ›

IaaS examples

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Google Compute Engine (GCE) IBM Cloud. Microsoft Azure.

What is IaaS in simple words? ›

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a type of cloud computing service that offers essential compute, storage, and networking resources on demand, on a pay-as-you-go basis. IaaS is one of the four types of cloud services, along with software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and serverless.

What is the difference between IaaS and PaaS shared responsibility model? ›

For infrastructure as a service (IaaS), the user is responsible for the most resources, from the application layer to the network layer, where responsibility is shared with the vendor. For platform as a service (PaaS), the shared vendor responsibility includes IAM and storage, but excludes the application layer.

What are the main differences between SaaS and PaaS? ›

Using a PaaS solution means that while developers can build and run their own solutions, their data is still secured on a third-party controlled server. Using a SaaS solution means that the third-party vendor will manage the application for you.

What is SaaS PaaS and IaaS with examples? ›

PaaS is most often built on top of an IaaS platform to reduce the need for system administration. It allows you to focus on app development instead of infrastructure management. SaaS offers ready-to-use, out-of-the-box solutions that meet a particular business need (such as a website or email).

What is the difference between Azure App Service and Azure cloud service? ›

Azure App Service supports applications defined by Azure as “Web Apps”, “Mobile Apps”, “API Apps”, and “Logic Apps”. Azure Cloud Services is a platform that allows developers access to the underlying virtual machines and still manages the application container and deployment automatically.

Is Azure portal a PaaS or IaaS? ›

Is Azure IaaS or PaaS? Azure offers all three of the core service models we've looked at, so, depending on which of Azure's many services you opt for, you can take advantage of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS on Microsoft's cloud platform.

Which Azure services are PaaS? ›

Top Azure PaaS Services
  • Azure App Service. Azure App Service is a cornerstone among Azure PaaS services, offering a fully managed platform for building, deploying, and scaling web applications. ...
  • Azure SQL Database. ...
  • Azure Functions. ...
  • Azure Logic Apps. ...
  • Azure Kubernetes Service. ...
  • Azure CosmosDB. ...
  • Azure Storage.
Dec 5, 2023

What are PaaS in Azure? ›

Platform as a service. Platform as a service (PaaS) is a complete development and deployment environment in the cloud, with resources that enable you to deliver everything from simple cloud-based apps to sophisticated, cloud-enabled enterprise applications.

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