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IaaS, PaaS And SaaS: Everything You Need To Know

The Guide to Everything-as-a-Service.

Author: Jake, Marketing  
Last updated: August 30, 2017

The technology industry is famous for its overuse of unnecessary and downright confusing acronyms. The cloud sector is no exception.

IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, what’s that all about?

With the vast increase in responsibilities of IT, we’ve made your life easier and collated it all into one convenient guide.

From definitions, examples, benefits and more, this will hopefully give you the ammunition to consider IaaS, PaaS, SaaS within the context of your business.

Read on to learn that (and more):

What as a Service: Definitions

It view of first understanding the various terms, here are some high-level explanations.

Software-as-a-Service [SaaS]

SaaS is simple.

You pay for access to the business’s software, and they give you an account. They run and manage the software on their servers but you can access it from anywhere.

Supporting evidence: 74 percent of the total cloud workloads will be software-as-a-service (SaaS) workloads, up from 65 percent in 2015

remote guide

Platform-as-a-Service [PaaS]

PaaS is a platform on which you can develop or run custom software.

They manage the servers; your business gets to focus on the developments that will drive business results.

Supporting evidence: 8 percent of the total cloud workloads will be platform-as-a-service (PaaS) workloads, down from 9 percent in 2015.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service [IaaS]

IaaS is your virtual data centre. Instead of investing in your own server, you can rent one from a provider.

IaaS is the basis many PaaS and SaaS services are built on.

Supporting evidence: 17 percent of the total cloud workloads will be infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) workloads, down from 26 percent in 2015.

Cloud Management

With the range of various 'cloud platforms' out there, it is important to distinguish between those that are managed by the customer, and those managed by the provider.

This is one of the core differences between where responsibilities lie, and the scope for their expansion.

See a table below that expresses the different workloads.

PaaS SaaS IaaS
Applications Applications Applications
Data Data Data
Middleware Middleware Middleware
Operating System Operating System Operating Sytem
Visualisation Visualisation Visualisation
Servers Servers Servers
Storage Storage Storage
Networking Networking Networking


Which Solution is best? Benefits and Examples

While we do think that each cloud solutions is suited to specific business outcomes, people frequently wonder which solution leads.

We'll leave you to make that decision. See a collection of, but not all, benefits of SaaS, PaaS & IaaS:

Software-as-a-Service [SaaS]


  • No installation, no maintenance, no updates
  • Low cost
  • Access anywhere


Platform-as-a-Service [PaaS]


  • Servers, operating systems and maintenance are taken care of
  • Develop or run a custom application without having to develop a platform to run it on


Infrastructure-as-a-Service [IaaS]


  • Pay for the amount of storage you need, when you need it
  • Direct access to the server and complete control of your data
  • Physical maintenance and data centre security is taken care of by the provider



To find all this information, in addition to statistics and sources, see this graphic below:

IaaS, PaaS, SaaS - infographic


If that sheds any light on the cloud sector, don’t forget to share it with your colleagues using the social media buttons to the left. For more on the cloud, and other tools that could streamline your business, subscribe to the RedPixie blog.

Topics: IaaS, Cloud, PAAS

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