The New Era of Cloud Computing: SaaS, IaaS and PaaS (2024)

We are living in the age of the customer, consumers want the best products and the fastest technology and they want it now.Companies now compete at a higher level, not just with other companies, but also with rising consumer demands. Companies need to develop for today and not tomorrow, they need to move faster than ever, they need "always-on" software that resides in the Cloud.

But what is the Cloud and how can companies benefit from it?

Cloud computing has been around since the early 2000s, it is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage and process data, rather than from a local server or personal computer.

Cloud computing alleviates the heavy lifting from an operational standpoint, limiting the amount of work needed for hosting, storing, or processing data, applications, and other IT resources that would traditionally managed on local hardware. Users don’t have to be in a specific location to access the information stored, the internet essentially acts as “the cloud” and can be accessed from anywhere.

The Cloud will play a crucial role in the development of enterprise software and according to research for IDC, building the infrastructure to support cloud computing now accounts for more than a third of all IT spending worldwide

Different Types of Cloud Computing

There are three specific models for Cloud Computing: SaaS, IaaS and PaaS

  • SaaS: Internet access to third-party software on a subscription basis.
  • IaaS: Pay-as-you-go access to storage, networking and computing resources.
  • PaaS: A cloud-based platform used to build, test and deliver applications.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is the delivery of applications-as-a-service, it’s the most common version of cloud computing, and people use them without even knowing. Software vendors host and maintain the servers, databases, and code that constitute an application. Netflix, Spotify, Dropbox and Slack are common SaaS products, in which the product is then delivered to users over the internet on a subscription basis, giving users the flexibility to not have to worry about upfront installation purchases or ongoing maintenance costs.

SaaS Benefits:

  • Zero installation and maintenance costs: the SaaS provider takes care of the heavy-lifting so you can focus on running your core business.
  • Pay-per-use pricing: SaaS platforms scale up and down automatically depending on usage and usually involve a per-user pricing model.
  • Web accessibility: you don’t need to download SaaS services to client devices. Access application any time through a secure web connection.
  • Enterprise-grade software: SaaS makes it easier to deploy cutting-edge technology without the deployment and management overheads seen on-premises.
  • Remote access: with the right SaaS provider you can mobilise your workforce and offer a secure service across any device.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) refers to the fundamental building blocks of computing that can be rented: physical or virtual servers, storage and networking. This is attractive to companies that want to build applications from the very ground up and want to control nearly all of the IT elements. But this model does require firms to have the technical skills to be able to orchestrate and deploy services at that level.

Much like SaaS, IaaS solutions are accessed over the internet from a cloud provider’s data centre. The chosen provider is responsible for the management and maintenance of traditional on-premises hardware (such as servers, storage and networking) and the virtualization or hypervisor layer. Organizations use IaaS solutions to spin up virtual machines, install operating systems, deploy middleware and create storage buckets and backups for workloads.

IaaS provides key infrastructure services including: load balancing, disaster recovery, security and network monitoring.

IaaS benefits Include:

  • Eliminating the upfront cost of managing and setting up an on-site data centre
  • Maintaining direct access to servers and complete control of your data
  • Improving business continuity and disaster recovery
  • Deploying new infrastructure in minutes and rapidly test new ideas
  • Responding quickly to evolving business demands with cloud elasticity
  • Using service agreements to ensure better data security than in-house servers

Oracle survey of 1,600 senior IT professionals explores the benefits and misconceptions surrounding IaaS adoption. They found that two thirds of IaaS users said using online infrastructure makes it easier to innovate, reduced IT spend and had cut their time to deploy new applications and services.

The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 21.4 percent in 2018 to total $186.4 billion, up from $153.5 billion in 2017, according to Gartner, Inc.

There are a number of IaaS providers in the cloud computing market, but the the most notable are:

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Google Cloud

All-in-all, IaaS introduced a level of automation and orchestration to infrastructure tasks, making it easier to build, deploy and maintain application availability and performance. IaaS allows your IT team to focus on your core business rather than most of the underlying infrastructure.

IaaS has many benefits, but there are still issues with such as scalability, security, development and velocity.

Half of those surveyed by Oracle said IaaS isn't secure enough for most critical data, which leads us to our next option PaaS.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

PaaS (or platform-as-a-service) is a managed development and deployment environment in the cloud.

In this model, a service provider delivers a platform (PaaS) that sits ontop of IaaS solutions.It enables companies with the ability to develop, run, and manage business applications with an even higher level of abstraction and a greater degree of operational automation.

The New Era of Cloud Computing: SaaS, IaaS and PaaS (1)

Using the inherent elasticity of the cloud, PaaS solutions provide a scalable framework for developers to host and customize key services. Built-in features such as analytics and business intelligence help improve the functionality of these services, without the need to write huge amounts of code.

As with IaaS, your chosen cloud provider delivers the underlying data centre infrastructure in a PaaS solution.

On top of this, they also run and manage:

  • The middleware
  • Development tools
  • Database management systems
  • Business intelligence services

The New Era of Cloud Computing: SaaS, IaaS and PaaS (2)

In short, you manage the applications and services you develop, while the PaaS provider deals with the rest. Because of this, PaaS gives companies a competitive edge, it enables their development and operations teams with the ability to spend more time writing code and less time on administrative development.

More time spent on value-added code = more time spent developing business critical applications = more customer facing development = more revenue for the business

The New Era of Cloud Computing: SaaS, IaaS and PaaS (3)

PaaS benefits

As well as offering the same fundamental benefits as IaaS, cloud PaaS further simplifies the development process.

  • Lower software maintenance costs – PaaS operates on a pay-per-use model, meaning you can eliminate the cost of software licensing, yearly maintenance fees, patching and updates.
  • Reduced coding time – application components (such as security, directory and search) come pre-coded and built into the platform.
  • Multi-platform development – PaaS speeds up the time to market for cross-platform applications, enabling a consistent experience across desktop, web browser and mobile.
  • Geographical support – internet access allows remote teams to work on the same project regardless of location.
  • Efficient lifecycle management – build, test, deploy, manage and update web applications in the same integrated environment.

IaaS vs PaaS

In my opinion, a lift and shift to the Cloud isn’t the right choice for large scale organization and we are no longer in an era ruled by IaaS solutions like GCP, AWS and Azure. In the past year each IaaS has faced several downtimes (Iphone X launch, Prime Day, Black Friday) and security breaches (Equifax hack, Interac hack) resulting in the loss of billions.

It's crazy to see that even Amazon during Prime Day, couldn't scale quickly enough to support the incoming traffic. I think this support the trend that IaaS solutions are no longer enough to support enterprise business at scale.

The New Era of Cloud Computing: SaaS, IaaS and PaaS (4)

Massive organizations like Comcast, US Air Force, Liberty Mutual, JP Morgan Chase, Scotiabank and T-Mobile are utilizing Pivotal Cloud Foundry.

When the Iphone-X launched, T-Mobile was the only company to stay 100% operational, even Apples website hit downtime.

IaaS solutions are a key ingredient, but running a PaaS solution gives companies a number of competitive advantages.

Enterprises need a multi-cloud strategy and they need an additional layer of abstraction if they want to keep up with market changes and consumer demands.PaaS solutions like Pivotal Cloud Foundry provide these massive enterprises with the power to increase developer velocity, scale on demand and it adds an additional layer of security.

Businesses are changing the world with software. Yet the continued disruption of traditional models is only possible when the right teams have the appropriate processes and technology solutions to make the impossible, possible.

Thanks for reading.

If you’d like to see the total economic impact of Pivotal Cloud Foundry see Forrester’s recent report:

The New Era of Cloud Computing: SaaS, IaaS and PaaS (2024)


What are SaaS PaaS and IaaS in cloud computing? ›

Cloud computing has three main cloud service models: IaaS (infrastructure as a service), PaaS (platform as a service), and SaaS (software as a service).

Which one of the three cloud computing delivery models SaaS PaaS or IaaS should it embrace and why? ›

Unlike the IaaS model, PaaS providers manage runtime, middleware, and operating systems. However, PaaS customers still get to manage data and applications—in contrast to the SaaS model, where customers don't have to manage anything. So in terms of the cloud continuum, PaaS fits snugly between IaaS and SaaS.

How do I choose between IaaS PaaS and SaaS? ›

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.

How big is the market of IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS? ›

The leading service in the cloud computing industry is SaaS with a 39.4% cloud computing market share in 2021, followed by the fastest-growing cloud service IaaS with 20.9%, and PaaS with 18.7%.

What is IaaS vs PaaS vs SaaS in simple words? ›

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 examples of SaaS and PaaS? ›

Examples for SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS
Cloud service modelExamples
SaaSSalesforce, SAP concur, Shopify, MailChimp, Dropbox, Hubspot, Google Applications (G Suite).
PaaSAWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, Heroku,, Google App Engine, OpenShift, SAP Cloud, AWS Lambda, Azure Functions.
1 more row
Dec 17, 2021

What are the 3 main types of cloud service models? ›

The three main cloud computing service models are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Each model has distinct characteristics that make it appropriate for addressing specific types of business objectives.

What are the 4 types of cloud computing? ›

Overview. There are four main types of cloud computing: private clouds, public clouds, hybrid clouds, and multiclouds. There are also three main types of cloud computing services: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

Which are the three 3 most common forms of cloud computing? ›

So, what are the main types of cloud computing models and how do you know which is right for you? The main three types of cloud computing are public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud.

Is Netflix SaaS or PaaS? ›

Netflix is considered a SaaS by many people because it lives in the cloud, is delivered through the browser, and has a paid subscription model. However, the service Netflix provides is content and not software. It is more of a "Movies-as-a-Service" than a SaaS.

What are the pros and cons of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS? ›

SaaS vs PaaS vs IaaS: How to Choose?
If you're interested in providing:Then go with:
Ready-to-use software that addresses specific needsSaaS
Freedom and a place to focus on developing appsPaaS
Access to and control over every aspect of infrastructureIaaS

What is the major difference between IaaS and PaaS? ›

The most distinct difference between IaaS and PaaS is that IaaS offers administrators more direct control over operating systems, and PaaS offers users greater flexibility and ease of operation. IaaS builds the infrastructure of cloud-based technology.

Why choose PaaS over SaaS? ›

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).

Which cloud model is most expensive? ›

The SaaS cloud service model is the most affordable, while IaaS is the most expensive. See how IaaS, PaaS and SaaS compare. Generally, SaaS solutions high level of abstraction is better suited for companies and industries where IT infrastructure is less critical.

Why IaaS is better than SaaS? ›

IaaS clients can still access their servers and storage directly, but it is all outsourced through a “virtual data center” in the cloud. As opposed to SaaS or PaaS, IaaS clients are responsible for managing aspects such as applications, runtime, operating systems, middleware, and data.

What are IaaS PaaS SaaS service models? ›

IAAS is used by network architects. PAAS is used by developers. SAAS is used by the end user. IAAS gives access to the resources like virtual machines and virtual storage.

Is AWS SaaS or PaaS? ›

AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a comprehensive, evolving cloud computing platform provided by Amazon. It includes a mixture of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and packaged software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings.

What are the three types of cloud services? ›

The main three types of cloud computing are public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud. Within these deployment models, there are four main services: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS), and serverless computing.

What is SaaS in cloud computing? ›

Software as a service (SaaS) allows users to connect to and use cloud-based apps over the Internet. Common examples are email, calendaring, and office tools (such as Microsoft Office 365). SaaS provides a complete software solution that you purchase on a pay-as-you-go basis from a cloud service provider.

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